It’s no secret that this town is full of talented folks – and, as is the case with Andrew Leahey, multi-talented ones. In addition to leading his band, Andrew Leahey & the Homestead, he’s also a fellow music journalist, writing for the Washington Times and American Songwriter.
While he moved here a little over a year ago from Michigan, performing with his band finds him on the road and away from Nashville quite a bit. (Though, lucky for us, his next few gigs are local, including a 10.10 show at Puckett’s and 10.11 at the 5 Spot). We asked Andrew to list the top 5 things he does as soon as he returns to town from touring – because there’s no place like home, or a good taco shack.
P.S., He’s getting reading to release a new EP in the next few months, so in the meantime listen to his tune “Penitentiary Guys” here. You can also find his record on Spotify, which is a finely-crafted collection of twang-tinged rock tunes influenced by everything from Ryan Adams to the Byrds to classic country records found in the used section of Grimey’s (see below).
Nashville Five /// Andrew Leahey & the Homestead’s top five ways to remember why Nashville rocks :::
Like most local musicians, I’m out of town a lot. Whenever I come back to Nashville, I like to actually feel like I’m in Nashville, which means I wind up going to one of these five places instead of staying home and doing important things, like laundry or bills. Then again, whoever thinks Mas Tacos isn’t important obviously hasn’t ordered the fried avocado tacos.
1. $2 Tuesdays at the 5 Spot: This is the best weekly concert series in town. It’s ground zero for cool kids and indie musicians, which means it’s filled with a bunch of hipsters who adamantly claim they’re NOT hipsters (don’t be mad, guys — I’m including myself), but the music is consistently solid, and you can’t beat the $2 Dos Perros. Derek Hoke, who hosts the event and plays a set every week, has one of the best voices in Nashville. I do wish they’d bring back the corn hole boards, though.
2. Bells Bend Farms: This farm is only 15 minutes out of town, but it might as well be three hours away. There’s a barn, a creek, a bunch of animals, the best-looking farm managers in all of Tennessee, and several acres of homegrown produce. My wife had her birthday party here, and the place hosts square dances every month or so. What’s more Tennessean than a square dance inside a barn on a farm outside of Nashville?
3. Mas Tacos: Dan Auerbach took me here in September 2011, two days after I moved to town. We were supposed to do an interview in a coffee shop, but he couldn’t stop talking about this place’s tortilla soup. I was riding shotgun in his car, and I remember him saying, “Fuck the coffee — we’re getting tacos,” before busting an illegal U-turn and heading over to East Nashville. I’d spent the past four years in Michigan, where the Mexican food is pretty bad, so Mas Tacos blew my mind. It wasn’t because of Dan Auerbach. It was because of the food. Fried avocado tacos, dude! I went there yesterday, actually, and maybe I should go tomorrow.
4. Music City Roots at the Loveless Barn: The Loveless Cafe feels like a time warp. It’s a mid-century roadside motel converted into a comfort food restaurant, with biscuits that kick almighty ass and autographed pictures of ‘80s country stars hanging on the wall. It’s a bit of a drive, but the haircuts on some of those country stars are worth the haul. Behind the restaurant is the Loveless Barn, where rich people have weddings and not-so-rich people attend Music City Roots, an old-school weekly radio show. $10 gets you inside, and they’ve always got a good mix of bands, as well as really good sound. The bar will sell you moonshine. Jim Lauderdale is the host — his haircut is worth the drive, too.
5. Grimey’s: My old iPod just died, taking 20 gigs of music with it. This is why actual albums are better. Whenever I need to stock up on more — actually, whenever I don’t need to stock up but feel the overwhelming desire to do so, just because — I go here. Not many record stores go to the trouble of having a “Used Americana” section, but this one does. It’s become my home away from home. My very expensive home away from home.
Photo credit ::: Josh Marx