Andrew Leahey gives C&I readers a first listen to his upcoming album, Airwaves.
Written in the wake of a life-threatening brain operation, singer-songwriter Andrew Leahey’s sophomore album, Airwaves, channels raw emotion into deep and honest storytelling.
A follow-up to his debut album, Skyline in Central Time, Airwaves gives fans more genre-blending, depth, and, of course, rock ’n’ roll.
“The year I released my last album, Skyline in Central Time, I played 175 shows,” Leahey says. “I was still bouncing back from a lifesaving head operation that had left me in recovery for months, and I guess I was still trying to prove to everyone — particularly myself — that I hadn’t lost the ability to do this thing.
“During those shows, the band began closing each show with a new song called ‘Make It Last.’ It was a big rock ’n’ roll epic that reminded us of the Bruce Springsteen songs we’d heard on the radio as kids, and it set the tone for a new batch of songs that I began writing between gigs. I’d just had a near-death experience, so I was drawn to music that sounded life-affirming. To me, these newer songs nod to a time when rock ’n’ roll was vital, filled with pop hooks, and completely omnipresent on the Top 40 radio, which is why I called the album Airwaves.”
Album highlights include the title track, “Airwaves”; the rock anthem “Make It Last”; the ’80s flashback “Lips Like Sugar”; and the country-rock album-closing jam, “Workin’ Ain’t Workin’.”
“When we finished recording the album with producer Paul Ebersold, not everyone understood the new direction,” Leahey recalls. “Skyline in Central Time had received a lot of support from the Americana community — a community that's very active in our hometown of Nashville — and yet here we were, doing something that was more indebted to Tom Petty than Gram Parsons. We lost a manager over it. We lost our affiliation with Thirty Tigers, our label-services partner. What we gained, though, far outweighed those losses.
“Airwaves is our mission statement, our identity, and our reintroduction as a band. It’s a heartland rock ’n’ roll album that’s equal parts 2019, 1989, and 1979. It’s the record I should’ve made immediately after waking up in the hospital, because these songs remind me that it’s great to be alive. I’m so glad I get to share that feeling with everyone.”
Get a first listen to Airwaves, below.
For more information on Andrew Leahey, visit his website. Photo by Chad Cochran.