Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay: Texas cultivated, Nashville based songwriting team Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay are set to embark on their fifth tour of the UK, following the release of their self titled second duet album (Voxhall Records Nashville).
The album’s first single, a cover of Guy Clark’s “New Cut Road” landed squarely in the number four slot of Bluegrass Today’s Grassicana chart and is in regular rotation on Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction. Clark was McKay’s mentor and often championed the duo, saying “Noel and Brennen are great songwriters.”
Noel McKay and Brennen Leigh met in 2002 through Austin’s vibrant music scene. McKay was part of the regionally popular country and Tex-Mex band McKay Brothers, while the bluegrass and classic country educated Leigh had just arrived in Texas to pursue a solo career. Six years later the two began writing and touring together, somehow fitting in writing trips to Nashville between tour dates. At first, they often wrote songs on long car trips, one of them behind the wheel of their then touring vehicle, a 1992 Honda Accord wagon. The result was a mix of story songs that continue to delight in a concert setting. The duo’s Gurf Morlix produced debut album Before the World Was Made (2013) is a cult classic; CMA Close Up called it ”hilarious, sentimental and profound, usually all at the same time."
McKay & Leigh are becoming known as a must-know songwriting team; Steve Earle, Guy Clark and Richard Dobson have all recorded songs written by McKay, while artists such as Lee Ann Womack, Rodney Crowell and Charley Crockett have released songs written by Leigh. Sarah Borges and Sunny Sweeney, among others, have recorded songs the duo composed. Together they’re an international touring machine; The pair’s dry humor coupled with their well worn, Louvinesque harmonies, McKay’s uniquely South Texas lead guitar style and Leigh’s raw Delmore Brothers inspired flatpicking and mandolin make for an unforgettable combination.