10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: April 2018

From the power-country of Rachel Wammack to the dusty vibes of Kyle Daniel

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Andrew Leahey and the Homestead
Graham Washatka5/10

Andrew Leahey and the Homestead

Sounds Like: Smart roots-rock that celebrates paying the dues of a working-class musician

For Fans of: Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams

Why You Should Pay Attention: Singer, songwriter, music journalist and in-demand sideman, you can't throw a stone within Nashville's city limits without hitting Andrew Leahey. Weaned on a mix of classical music and Eighties heartland rock anthems, Leahey once moonlighted with the Julliard Chorale and worked as a staff writer for Allmusic. (He's a regular contributor to Rolling Stone Country.) After undergoing brain surgery to remove a tumor, Leahey threw himself more wholeheartedly into his music career, releasing Skyline in Central Time via Thirty Tigers in 2016, picking up a gig as lead guitarist for Elizabeth Cook, jamming with Rodney Crowell and collaborating with fellow heartland-rock acolyte Jon Latham. His upcoming LP, We Came Here to Run, is a celebratory mix of sharp storytelling and fist-pumping rock & roll swagger. Produced by Paul Ebersold, Leahey recorded with the Steelism rhythm section and Jason Isbell's guitarist Sadler Vaden.

He Says: "Getting sick and being face-to-face with the likelihood, or even probability, that I couldn't continue making music and touring the way I wanted to, that was what I needed to stop fucking around. It was like, alright, become whatever version of a guitar god you can become and write better songs and actually go and do this thing," Leahey says of his brain surgery. Writing about music has helped further refine that focus. "It's made me my own worst critic, which is a blessing and a curse. I'm fully aware when I'm writing something when it's not good. If something is not good, I can't go forward with it. I scrap it and start over. For better or worse, it's really sharpened my idea of what a good song is and increased the hold and expectation I have on myself."

Hear for Yourself: "Start the Dance," the first single from We Came Here to Run, is a rowdy show-starter with an oversized guitar riff and just the right amount of handclaps. J.G.

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