While it took seminal, signature ensembles like Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers to define the notion of being a roots-rocker, it’s now up to bands like Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and Andrew Leahey and the Homestead to keep that sensibility intact.
All the proof needed to affirm that theory is found in Skyline In Central Time (released Aug 5 on Skyline Records), the latest from Leahy and his colleagues.
Skyline marks a significant step forward for the band, one that will not only bring them the attention they deserve, but also affirm the fact that when it comes to that new generation of populist rockers, they’re clearly in the vanguard. The group shows a collective dynamic that only the most cohesive combos are able to muster -- a straight-ahead, slash and burn delivery that’s as inspired as a call to arms.
“Little in Love,” “Shot,” “Better Medicine,” and “10 Years Ago” are the actual anthems that sound the charge, each complete with stirring sentiments, accompanied by a sound so solid and demonstrative, it's almost like a stampede. Leahey himself is an authoritative singer. With some solid luminaries lending support -- Wilco’s Ken Coomer on drums and production, guest vocalists Jill Andrews and Courtney Jaye among them -- his commitment and confidence rise to the fore.
This is contemporary American roots-rock at its finest, championed by an ensemble that’s easily among the best of their breed.
As much as Skyline in Central Time affirms Leahey and the Homestead’s absolute ability, it also suggests that their most riveting work is yet to come. After all, the band’s only barely getting started. That alone suggests that success is all but assured.