Introducing The Leeway

Let me introduce you all to the music of the New York band The Leeway who contacted me and asked if I would check out their songs. As you can guess, I liked their music so much that I wanted to help spread the word about them. The Leeway are the collective effort of Pedro Barquinha (Mandolin/Vocals), Mike Robinson (Guitar/Vocals), Bennett Sullivan (Banjo/Vocals), Dominic Mekky (Piano) and Matt Rousseau (Bass) who create a must hear acoustic indie sound.

I wanted to get a glimpse into this bands musical world, so I thought I would contact them to find out more. I had the opportunity to chat with Pedro from the band, this is what he had to say:

How did The Leeway come together and is their a story behind the bands name?

At the end of 2013 as I was finishing my degree at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and I was required to put together a Senior Recital. For that context, I wrote among other pieces, original songs arranged for the group of musicians that currently constitute The Leeway. The audience present at the recital responded to the music so positively that we decided to create the band and make an EP. As far as the name goes it appeared out of a “brainstorming” session that me and Bennett Sullivan, our banjo player had.

How would you describe your sound to any new listeners out there and who are the bands influences?

This is always a tough question for me. I haven’t found a two word label that does it justice, but in a few more words I would say we’ve tried to write songs that have the lyrical easiness of folk and pop music, and the compositional precision of classical music. We have a very large range of influences, here are some people that have been on our “ipods” recently: Dirty Prokectors; Randy Newman; Bob Dylan; Punch Brothers; Blake Mills; Sam Amidon; Gustav Mahler; Thomas Adés; Claude Debussy, and so many more.

What is your favourite song from the self titled EP and why?

I think Come Back is the most successful composition, it contains elements of pop music while still remaining unpredictable which is a feeling I really enjoy. I also think Mother stands out lyrically as a song.

If the end of the world was near and you had enough time to listen to one album,which would you choose and why?

I think it would have to be Mahler- Vol. 2 which is Leonard Bernstein conducting Mahler’s 5th, 6th, and 7th symphonies. I think those pieces would make a great end of the world sound track anyway, especially the 5th.

Do you have any musical related goals that you want to accomplish and what are the bands plans for 2015?

Musically we’re always trying to get better as far as our compositions go. We also practice a lot and are always trying to improve our performance as a band. As far as plans for 2015 we’re planning a European tour, maybe an American northeast tour as well. We’re just trying to reach more and more new people as a band. We’re definitely excited about those plans.

The guys released their debut self titled EP last year and as a whole it has a nice gentle feel about it which is thanks to the music that they have created. The band blend together with their various array of musical instruments to share their wonderful sound. This is a band that have a great understanding of each other as the music flows so well which creates a great listening experience. This is supported with equally delicate vocals that include some great sounding harmonies which is where I can hear the influence of the Punch Brothers (who I have recently been introduced to). Normally I can choose an element from an EP or album that stands out, but with this release it is everything thanks to a wonderful group display of their sound.

‘Come Back’ and ‘Fairest Darling’ did catch my attention on this release and feature some of those amazing harmonies that I mentioned earlier. But it is ‘If Only’ that is my favourite and this is because of the delicate flow of the song. The great use of the piano and soft vocals gives the song so much character. Just give it a listen and fall in love with the song like I have.

Overall, this is a strong showing of Pedro Barquinha’s song writing and compositional craft  which is delivered by the band as whole and I get the feeling that there is more that they have to give. I strongly recommend that you head over to their Bandcamp page (click HERE) to listen to the EP in full. If you are liking their sound then you can buy a copy while you are there.

Great to see that this band has big plans which include a European tour, hopefully this will include the UK so I can get to hear their music performed live. I follow them on both Facebook and Twitter so I can keep up to date with their gigs as well as new music. You can also find out more from their website TheLeewayBand.com. If you are listening to the music from The Leeway and enjoying their sound then I recommend that you show you support by spreading the word about their music. Come on, share the love of music!