“It’s an ode to touring in Texas, a life I know well from the time I lived in Austin”, Brennen Leigh tells us about her brilliant new single ‘In Texas With A Band’. “My co-writer, Josh Owen, like myself, toured the Lone Star circuit for years before moving to Nashville. We wanted to elaborate on the idea that Texas is its own world; its own musical ecosystem. The Wheel musicians shine so beautifully on this one, and it’s an honour to duet with Ray. We had so much fun”.
The fun they had making the record bursts out of the song - and now it’s got a video to match.
Born in Fargo, incubated in Austin and now living in Nashville, Brennen Leigh has been weaving her way through country, folk and bluegrass for the best part of 20 years, with her take-no-prisoners storytelling elevating her to cult status all over the world.
Her songs have been recorded by Lee Ann Womack, Rodney Crowell, Sunny Sweeney, Charley Crockett and many others. “Brennen Leigh plays guitar like a motherfucker,” Guy Clark once said of her flatpicking style, and she’s become as renowned for her musicianship as she has for her songwriting.
Her forthcoming album, Obsessed with the West, takes another musical detour away from expectations, with a collaboration between Leigh and the kings of modern-day western swing, Asleep at the Wheel.
“I’ve been obsessed with western swing music since I was a kid and it’s always been an influence. When I moved to Nashville from Texas,” she explains, “for some reason it triggered another western swing phase in my life. I was out of Texas, but something about the swing was still grabbing me; I was listening to a lot of Bob Wills, and of course The Wheel. I had first been exposed to it through my parents’ Asleep At The Wheel records while I was growing up.”
The band continued to circle in her periphery after she moved to Austin at the age of 19, but it took until now for their stars to fully align.
“I wrote 30 western swing songs in the beginning of 2021, alone and with different writer friends,” she continues, “and we culled it down to 12. Many of the songs have a 1940s Cindy Walker type vibe — she was at the forefront of my mind for this entire process, something of a spirit guide for me — but there’s definitely a jazz influence, country, and a couple of songs that I would call cowboy or folk tunes.”
“This is my love note to western swing; to the rich culture it comes from, as I see it,” she adds, “I listen to and have been influenced by a lot of dead people, but our genre is important, and I think it deserves new life and new songs.”
‘In Texas With A Band’ is the latest of those new songs, and the wonderful new video is premiering exclusively on Holler below.
Brennen Leigh spoke to us about the inspiration behind the video: “Kevin from Blue Letter Films told me about his vision for the video and I couldn’t resist it. He called it a “West Anderson” vibe. We wanted to catch the feeling of a beautiful Texas dancehall in all its magic. Coupland was the perfect place for it. We knew we needed some bona fide Texas two steppers for the job, and my friend Lyza Renee coordinated that piece. I couldn’t be happier with the end result”.
Leigh’s seventh album, Obsessed With The West, is out on May 6th on Signature Sounds. Order it here.