by Rachad Davis
April 6, 2017
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTIaX0d-oPc
Reception in Expo Hall in the Acoustic Lounge sponsored by AHIP SmartBrief Newsletters
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
June 7, 2017
Brennen Leigh is a songwriter, guitar player, mandolin player and singer whose to-the-point storytelling style has elevated her to cult status in Europe, Scandinavia, across the United States, South America and most notably in her home of Austin, Texas. It’s easy to see why she’s caught the ear of greats like legendary Lubbock fiddler Tommy Hancock (widely regarded as the godfather of West Texas music), who was quoted as saying of Leigh’s work; “It’s great to hear music that affects you on an intellectual level as well as makes you want to dance”.
All musical and performing prowess aside, the thing Brennen has become most famous for is her whip-smart songwriting. Her songs have been recorded by Sunny Sweeney, whom Brennen shares the stage with for a once a month acoustic show at Austin’s Saxon Pub. Other artists who have recorded Brennen’s songs include Whitney Rose, Austin’s The Carper Family, Norway’s Liv Marit Wedvik, and American country legend, Grammy winner Lee Ann Womack. Brennen has collaborated with songwriting greats such as Jim Lauderdale, John Scott Sherrill, Robbie Fulks, Charlie Louvin and David Olney. On the critically acclaimed duet album Holdin’ Our Own (2008), Brennen sang duets penned with country rockabilly giant Jesse Dayton. In 2013 Brennen released the Gurf Morlix produced Before The World Was Made with her frequent songwriting and touring partner Noel McKay. In 2015 Brennen appeared on Don’t Forget Me Little Darling, Remembering the Carter Family,along with fiddler Jenee Fleenor (Blake Shelton) and guitarist Brandon Rickman (Lonesome River Band). She is two time Texas Music Awards Best Female Vocalist Award winner, two time Ameripolitan Award Nominee, appeared on USA Network’s Nashville Star in 2003, and most impressively, was champion of the 1993 Vergas Loon Calling Contest as a child in her home state of Minnesota. It was there Brennen got her musical start, when she began touring at age fourteen as part of a mandolin guitar duet with her brother Seth Hulbert.
Brennen is a core member of country bluegrass band High Plains Jamboree, also featuring guitarist Noel McKay and bassist and banjo player Simon Flory. Rolling Stone called the band “One of the Best Things We Saw at AmericanaFest 2016.” The band is currently touring the United States and Europe, and plans to release their debut album in 2017 on Voxhall Records.