Andrew Leahey & the Homestead are joining us on the Tennessee Shines Radio Show tonight at 7 p.m. Click here to learn more or get tickets. In the meantime, enjoy this Bullet Backstory from Andrew himself. He was gracious enough to answer our questions for this regular feature on the WDVX blog.
Take it away Andrew!
- Biggest musical influences – Tom Petty, the Jayhawks, and Bruce Springsteen.
- What made you decide to pursue music as a career? When I was 6 years old, I would make up lyrics and melodies to the instrumental music that played in the background of my Nintendo games. I began playing guitar that same year. Music wasn’t a choice I ever made, really — it was something that felt natural and comforting to do, so I did it. Decades later, I’m still doing it, albeit without the help of my Nintendo.
- What advice do you have for young musicians who are trying to hone their craft? Melody is king. Let that be your focus. Also, if you want to produce good art, you need to consume good art. That means reading books, listening to music, going to plays, watching the newest awesome thing that Netflix produced, etc. Take in as much art as you can, and let it shape your own. When you’re ready, hit the road and start playing shows. Being on the road is like being part of an adult sleepover that roams from city to city. It’s expensive as hell, but equally fun. See you out there.
- What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville? Honestly, I love talking to the people who live here. The enthusiasm people have for Knoxville is contagious. I’ve picked up a similar vibe from places like Austin, where the residents are just so proud of their growing city. Knoxvillians are different, though. You guys genuinely love music. You’ll go to shows, you’ll take pictures, you’ll bring friends, and you’ll party your faces off throughout the whole process. What a city. I’m so glad I get to spend a lot of time here.
- If you could work with any musician (living or deceased) who would it be and why? I know I sound like a broken record here, but it would be Tom Petty. Working as a music journalist for the past 10 years, I’ve gotten to talk to a lot of my heroes, from Fleetwood Mac to the Jayhawks. But Petty has been much more elusive. I’d love to sit down with him and thank the man for writing the soundtrack to my adulthood.
- Anything else you’d like to share? Favorite WDVX memory, etc? WDVX! I love you guys. You were one of the first radio stations to ever play my music. I’ve played the Blue Plate Special at least three times, and when my band last visited the program, one of the guys realized he’d left his bass at the previous night’s venue in Johnson City. We put up a distress signal via Facebook and wound up with a temporary bass courtesy of the Black Lillies. Bobby Dix came down to the visitor’s center at 10 a.m. to deliver it personally, even though we’d never met him before. I think that speaks volumes about the music community in Knoxville. Thanks for letting my band be part of it.