Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay’s “Before The World Was Made”

October 18, 2013 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  11 Comments


Gone are the days of the legendary duet pairings in country music like George and Tammy, Loretta and Conway, right? Well they may not boast beehive doos or lamb chops, or grace the stage of the CMA Awards or come beaming into your home or buggy via the miracle of Clear Channel radio, but the Austin country scene’s power couple of Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay have revitalized the country duet concept album in a smart, brilliant, hilarious, and sweet offering called Before The World Was Made.

You’ll be sorely disappointed if you’re in the mood for sappy sonnets serenading the human love quotient. This is a love album for lovers who hate each other, and love each other all the same. It’s not that sentimentality doesn’t show its face here, but just like the real world, Before The World Was Made is not afraid to delve into the turbulence of love, to tickle the funny bone, and to tell it like it is.

brennen-leigh-noel-mckay-before-the-world-was-madeThis album is the perfect soundtrack to an “it’s complicated” relationship status, with ingenious songs like “Breaking Up Is Easy,” “Breaking Up and Making Up Again,” “Be My Ball and Chain,” and “Let’s Don’t Get Married.” Yes, it sounds like a gloomy outlook, but underlying every song of this “on again, off again” album is a sweet love story that you can’t help believing mirrors Brennen Leigh’s and Noel McKay’s real-life narrative.

You can relate to their silly little squabbles and how they plot to resolve them with a positive ending. The way these songs work is both classic and fresh. Even walking in to Before The World Was Made with a deep appreciation for the songwriting chops of both parties, you are still perplexed at how Brennen and Noel wrote this entire album themselves, simply from the strength and the “instant classic” caliber of these songs.

Even the more straightforward love songs like “The Only Person In The Room” and “Salty Kisses In The Sand” are so fresh and clever, they fit right in to the cunning style of this record. “Let’s Go To Lubbock on Vacation” is downright side-splitting (sorry Lubbock readers), while still at its core being a nectarous little love story.

Before The World Was Made doesn’t let up for one moment, and it’s not just all about the words. The album is bolstered by tasteful, classic country arrangements, edified by producer extraordinaire Gurf Morlix. This is a neo-traditional country album at its heart, and the music offers tasty accompaniment to these high-caliber compositions.

Can’t say enough about Brennen, Noel, and Before The World Was Made. They may not be willing to commit to each other, but the music they make together is definitely a keeper.

Two guns up.

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Buy Before The World Was Made on Bandcamp. 

Purchase Before The World Was Made on Amazon

Listen to album below.

11 Comments to “Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay’s “Before The World Was Made””

  • Everything about this album is a joy. Without Saving Country Music I would have never heard of it. Thank you!


  • I got the album on the strength of “Let’s Go To Lubbock On Vacation” alone and the rest of it was fantastic. I lived in Texas for four years and I really, really miss being able to hear this kind of music so easily. Interestingly, I once went to Lubbock on vacation (and no girl involved, long story) and my jeep broke down while heading home. I sat in a camp chair on the side of 114 waiting for the tow truck to come for hours. Like all my other vehicles I own, the alternator had gone out. Sounds like a good country lyric…


  • Brennen is quietly putting together quite a solid body of work. Her last three: this one, The Box, and the Holdin’ our Own duets album with Jesse Dayton are all stellar. Thanks for giving this the publicity it deserves.


  • love “before we come to our senses” & “soft guitars” id buy the album today if I wasn’t two weeks behind on my rent. its on my “to buy” list soon as I get my next paycheck thanks for the tip.


  • Thanks for the reminder to buy this! It was sitting in my wish list and I hadn’t noticed. I loved Brennen Leighs “The Box” album and so did my dad when he heard it, I’m sure I’ll like this one too.


  • Great reminders of 60’s Country music! Be fun to watch this show live or in a T.V. Special, but…


  • I’ve seen Brennen and Noel perform together here in Los Angeles (although not recently) and it was a delight. I haven’t purchased this album yet, but it’s definitely on my radar in the near future.

    Brennen, along with Amber Digby, and Miss Leslie are three of my favorite current female country artists. I’m just glad neo-traditional artists like these gals can earn a living in Texas, but wish they’d do a show here in LA once in awhile. Brennen, come back! (lol)


  • Rick, thanks for your kind words. Noel and I will be at El Cid in LA on December 12th. Please stay tuned for more California dates. -BL


  • “instant classic” caliber of these songs – so true!


  • Found this album thanks to Gurf Morlix. WOW. Please please come to the northwest.


  • Saw at Station Inn in Nashville. Very entertaining. Great evening.


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