“It’s vulnerability at its finest,” says Nashville-based Americana singer/songwriter Leah Blevins of her debut album, First Time Feeling (She’s chatting with me via phone from her Florida vacation.) The album is out August 6th on Thirty Tigers, although Blevins has been on the scene and making music for quite a while: “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been in Nashville for 10 years now.” Many of the album’s tracks are songs that Leah has been kicking around live for a while and some even have official videos, including “Beautiful Disaster” and the title track, which were both directed by Citizen Kane Wayne. The LP was produced by outlaw country musician Paul Cauthen and Beau Bedford of The Texas Gentleman and recorded at Modern Electric Sound Recorders in Dallas. The sound of Blevins’ debut rings of classic tragic country balladry with her own personal modern touch of hope and wisdom.
As her first full-length, First Time Feeling chronicles the most noteworthy trials and tribulations of Leah Blevins’ adult life in Nashville, while also embracing the sonic traditions with which she was raised. Blevins grew up in Sandy Hook, Kentucky, where she and her twin sister spent much of their youth playing guitar and piano and singing, alongside their particularly music family. Much of her mother’s side even belonged to noteworthy gospel group The Harbor Masters, who toured Appalachia in the ‘70s and ‘80s and, later, put church and music at the forefront of Leah’s existence. She tells me that her sound comes from a combination of all the bands she listened to growing up and the voice of her own that she’s discovered during her time in Nashville, but tells me that the music of Stevie Nicks holds an extra special place in her heart: “Any Stevie Nicks record, but especially Trouble in Shangri-La.” She also tells me that the city itself provides a lot of inspiration and encouragement: “The beauty of living there is that everyone is so talented.”
Leah Blevins has a bevvy of upcoming live dates, including a stint with Paul Cauthen beginning at the end of the month, followed by a number of August dates with Kendell Marvel, and a run of shows playing quite large venues with The Marcus King Band in September and October. While she will be playing a First Time Feeling Album Release Show in Nashville at The Basement East on August 12th with a full band, her dates on the road will have her performing solo. But she tells me that, regardless of how she’s playing, getting to play for people and getting to know fans is always profoundly satisfying.
“I feel as though I’m an open book, sensitive, heart-on-my-sleeve. I’m not bragging, but I think people feel like they can completely be themselves around me… I’ve been very fortunate. Some folks will come up to me after a show and tell me, ‘This song helped me address the fact that I’ve been having trouble in my relationship and it really helped pull me through.’ That’s the best. It’s not like I’m doing this to sell the most records, it’s to make a connection.”