“When the smoke’s all cleared , and it’s safe to breathe,” he sings in the jangly guitar and piano track, “You can find me here, because I still believe.”
“Good at Gone” is a highlight of American Static, Vol. 1, the Nashville singer-guitarist and occasional Rolling Stone contributor’s new album, and leans more soft rock than past Leahey songs like “Airwaves” or “Start the Dance.” (Think Tom Petty Wildflowers era, not Damn the Torpedoes.) It’s a tale of loneliness and leaving, and accepting that while the road may seem to go on forever, there are always reunions waiting at home. Even if they’re temporary.
Along with fronting the Homestead, Leahey is lead guitarist in Elizabeth Cook’s band Gravy and he’s often away from his Nashville home base.
“The same month I released my debut album, my wife moved to Knoxville for graduate school. I spent the next four years splitting my time between Nashville, Knoxville, and the 100 different cities I visited annually as a touring musician. The schedule was just insane,” he says. “Out of necessity, my wife and I grew accustomed to being apart. I wrote ‘Good at Gone’ during the final weeks of our long-distance arrangement, before a combination of Covid-19 and her graduation allowed us to spend an entire year in the same city.”
In the video for “Good at Gone,” directed by Jace Kartye, Leahey plays up the isolation of the lyrics, re-creating the song by himself on every instrument. “It’s a song about being alone, so we chose to highlight that sense of isolation. When my next-door neighbors moved to California, we suddenly had an empty space to use. I’ve been told that the all-white outfit makes me look like Jesus and/or a mental ward patient, and I can’t argue with either of those,” he says. “You’d have to be crazy to record an 18-song double-album during Covid, right?”
American Static, Vol. 1 was produced by Jon Estes and will be released Oct. 22 via Mule Kick Records, with Vol. 2 to follow in 2022. Leahey and the Homestead will perform a free release show at Nashville’s original Basement on Oct. 23. This past summer, he helped reopen the club’s sister location, the Basement East, after it was destroyed by a 2020 tornado.