Lewis & Leigh are set to release their debut album 'Ghost' August 26th on the Celticana Records label which they will support with their own dates and a prestigious special guests spot on the upcoming Deacon Blue UK tour. The lead track from the album 'There Is A Light' is now available and captures their quite lovely harmonies perfectly. If you are new to the duo please read on as they tell us how Lewis & Leigh came to be and you can check out the video for 'There Is A Light'.
A stunning collection of self-penned originals, ‘Ghost’ is the culmination of a collaboration that began in 2014 when the two solo musicians first began writing together. Recorded in January 2016 at Urchin Studios in London with Matt Ingram, ‘Ghost’ celebrates the differences in their individual experiences whilst finding common ground.
Three well received EPs have built a growing following and Lewis & Leigh received two nominations (Best UK Song & Best UK Act) at the inaugural UK Americana Awards earlier this year. A stand out acoustic performance around one microphone at that event led to invitations to join Billy Bragg’s songwriters’ round at Glastonbury (where they are the only artists playing two shows – the Acoustic and Leftfield stages), to open shows for Deacon Blue on their UK tour in November and to make a return visit to the US Americana Festival in Nashville in September.
Before Lewis & Leigh, Al and Alva had both been solo artists for a while, but suddenly the prospect of joining forces appealed to them. Here’s how it all started, in their own words:
Alva: I grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi. I learned to sing and harmonise in church. I was raised on what we’re calling ‘Americana’ these days… this melting pot of roots music. But I never felt like I could write this type of music myself.
Al: I have always been a big fan of Americana, alt-country artists like Gillian Welch, Whiskeytown, Wilco, but being Welsh, I never really thought I could write this type of music with any kind of authenticity. I went to Nashville to record an album (Battles) in 2012, and little did I know that the connections I made there would lead me to Lewis & Leigh. I met Alva in 2013 when I was working on a Welsh-language album and co-writing songs for what I thought would be my next English album, but something wasn’t clicking for me.
Alva: When I moved to London in 2012, I was writing on my own a lot, but I felt a little lost musically. Before when I was living in Nashville - the songwriting capital of the world - I had never really written with other people before Al, but I was determined to try it. I met Al at Bush Hall in London where I was singing back-ups for a mutual friend of ours. After that show, I invited Al to one of my gigs, and we made a plan to do some writing together. The first song we wrote was ‘What Is There To Do’ in February 2014.
Al: Yeah and we didn’t know if that one was a fluke! So we decided to see if we could write another one. And then came ‘All Night Drive.’
Alva: Four or five songs in, Al texted me one night - very 21st century - to ask if I’d like to release the songs together, as a duo. It had never occurred to me to do that - I figured they’d all be for his album - but I obviously said yes. It felt natural to say yes because we were just getting started. I felt like there were more songs in us waiting to be written. I still feel that way.
Al: So we released our first EP, Night Drives in October 2014 and started to play gigs. I think our first gig was opening for John Fullbright which was pretty surreal.
Alva: We got a nice reaction which was encouraging. When ‘What Is There To Do’ went on the Radio 2 playlist, I got to tell my mom Happy Birthday live on Radio 2. We kept writing songs but they were different to the ones we had written at first… they were a bit darker and more moody. These songs eventually became our second EP, Missing Years released April 2015.
Al: I feel like “Rubble” was a real turning point for us in our writing. We started drawing connections to Wales and Mississippi and found that they had more in common than we thought. Again, it showed us that there are a lot of songs left in us waiting to be written.
Last year we played some amazing festivals such as Celtic Connections, Country 2 Country, Cambridge Folk, and SummerTyne. We performed live radio sessions with Dermot O’Leary and Janice Long on BBC Radio 2 and Ricky Ross on BBC Radio Scotland.
We released our third EP Hidden Truths, in October 2015 and ‘Heart Don’t Want’ went onto the Amazing Radio A-List. We were one of three actsinvited to fly the flag for the UK at Americana Music Festival with funding from the PRS Foundation and the UK Trade & Industry. We were featured as ‘artists to watch’ by Rolling Stone and NPR. We’re hoping to build on last year’s success when we take our second trip to Nashville in September to showcase our debut album at this year’s Americana Fest.
Lewis & Leigh dates:
July 15Truck Festival
July 16Rudry Festival Cardiff
August 28Greenbelt Festival
September 9UTAT Festival, London Cadogan Hall
September 11Sc4m Festival, Winchester
September 21 – 25 Americana Festival, Nashville
Special guests with Deacon Blue Dates:
11 Perth, Concert Hall
12 Sheffield, City Hall
14 Newcastle, City Hall
15 Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall
16 London, Royal Festival Hall
18 Bristol, Colston Hall
19 Plymouth, Pavilions
20 Brighton, Centre
22 Cardiff, St David's Hall
23 Manchester, Bridgewater Hall
25 Birmingham, Symphony Hall
26 Liverpool, Echo Arena
27 Dundee, Caird Hall
29 Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall
30 Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall
1 Edinburgh, Usher Hall 2
3 Aberdeen, AECC
4 Glasgow, Barrowland