If I were a musician, would it bother me if people kept comparing my music to Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen? Absolutely not! And in the case of Nashville’s Andrew Leahey who grew up in awe of these two artists, I’m sure he’s quite pleased to be mentioned in the same company.
Andrew’s 2016 debut LP, “Skyline in Central Time” and his current single “Start the Dance” elicit that lively Petty/Springsteen spirit and sound great when you’re blazing down the highway. Rocking out to them this week, I only wished that it was summer, and I had my convertible top down!
Last year, Andrew made Rolling Stone mag’s list of “10 Country Artists You Need to Know.” He also is an in-demand session guitarist who has played behind many of our local friends and tours regularly with Elizabeth Cook.
From playing his own shows and working with other touring Nashvillians, Andrew spends a lot of time away from Music City. But when he is here, you stand a good chance of catching Andrew Leahey and the Homestead down on Lower Broadway at Acme Feed and Seed. They will be there Friday January 11 and Saturday February 9. Thanks to Andrew for these 11 answers.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I grew up in Richmond, VA and spent time working as a music journalist in New York City and Ann Arbor before moving to Nashville in 2011. To me, Nashville has its own kind of orbit. It pulls people in. When I came here, I was in search of a music community that would kick my ass over and over until I became good enough to fight back, and that’s what Nashville has been.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
I bought a cassette of Phil Collins’ …But Seriously many years ago, using nothing but coins. That was my first purchase. The most recent purchase was the deluxe CD version of Tom Petty’s An American Treasure. I still love CDs. Nothing is going to ever sound better in your car than a CD… preferably a Tom Petty one.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
First: Smashing Pumpkins at the Richmond Coliseum in early 1997. Garbage was supposed to open, but the original show was rescheduled, and Fountains of Wayne opened instead. I wound up liking them more than the headliner. Last: Lira at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, South Africa.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
Buying Five Points Pizza before a gig at the Basement East is the way to go. And the High Garden teahouse is the best place to get caffeinated, even though they don’t have coffee.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Man. There’s a new one every year. Maybe Roy Orbison’s “Crying” Or Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
It’s tough when you’re touring. Sometimes you get lucky and find a place that’s unique to the city you’re visiting, like Pure Eatery in Indianapolis, which stays open until 3 am. Most of the time, though, I consider myself lucky if I can take the band to Sheetz, where the health-conscious guys can get hummus, and the stoned guys can order burgers with mozzarella sticks on the top.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Elizabeth Cook, Rodney Crowell, and Jon Latham
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
The Ryman feels the best. You feel that gig just as much as you hear it. The Basement is a great room for vocals, City Winery has the best food, and the 5 Spot is welcomingly pretension-free.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
I wouldn’t want to take Gary Louris away from Minneapolis. He really belongs to that town, just like Prince did and the Replacements did, and Janet Jackson’s good albums did. But it would be cool to bump into him at the East Nashville Kroger, too.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
A new album (Airwaves on March 1, 2019), as well as some more collaborations with the people whose bands I’m in, like Elizabeth Cook and Jon Latham.