Nashville heartland-rock outfit Andrew Leahey and the Homestead offer something to hold on to during pandemic times with their new song, “Keep the Car Running.” Originally a celebration of the idea of hearing a song so powerful on your car radio that you won’t turn off the ignition until it ends, the track has evolved into an anthem of resilience.
“It’s about finding your own stability during times that threaten to knock you off balance,” says Leahey (an occasional Rolling Stone Country contributor). “When I wrote it, I thought it was a Cars-meets-Jerry Lee Lewis sort of rock song about falling in love with a song on the radio. But it feels like it’s become something more now — a battle cry against cabin fever, maybe.”
The studio version, produced by Jon Estes, is the first song from a new album by Leahey and his band, the Homestead, that will be released track by track every month. The group filmed a live video at Nashville’s Trace Horse Studio for “Keep the Car Running” that captures the band in full Cheap Trick mode, with Leahey, who also plays lead guitar in Elizabeth Cook’s band, slashing at his instrument and singing in an urgent tenor. It’s unrelenting rock for uncertain times.
Last year, Leahey released the full-length album Airwaves. Like other musicians in Nashville and around the country, he’s taken to livestreaming concerts to support himself and the band as the coronavirus pandemic forced touring artists off the road. Last week, he performed as part of the People Supporting Artists Telethon, which raised money for MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund. In May, he’ll release another new song, “New Memories,” which deals with his mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease.