Brennen Leigh Goes Western Swing on “Obsessed with the West”

photo: Lyza Renee

Brennen Leigh has always been one of the preeminent old souls of the country world, even when she was 19 and first moved to Austin, TX from the upper Midwest to chase a career in country music. Delightfully old-fashioned and born 60 years too late, she’s always worked Western Swing influences into her music, and been chummy with the Asleep at the Wheel crowd in Austin. But now as a Nashville resident, the distance has made her heart grow fonder for that distinctly Texas style of country, and she’s going all in with her new album.

“When I moved to Nashville from Texas, for some reason it triggered another western swing phase in my life,” says Brennen Leigh. “I was out of Texas, but something about the swing was still grabbing me; I was listening to a lot of Bob Wills, and of course The Wheel. I had first been exposed to Western swing through my parents’ Asleep At The Wheel records while I was growing up.”

Obsessed with the West will officially be Brennen Leigh’s seventh solo album when it’s released on May 6th, and includes 12 songs all written by Leigh herself, with Cindy Walker as her spirit animal, guiding her pen. And along with duets with Western Swing greats such as Ray Benson, Emily Gimble, and Katie Shore, the entire albums is recorded with Asleep at the Wheel at her back, so you know the swing is authentic.

“This is my love note to Western Swing; to the rich culture it comes from, as I see it,” says Leigh, “I listen to and have been influenced by a lot of dead people, but our genre is important, and I think it deserves new life and new songs. The old stuff is where I come from, my songs turn out to be a melding of the old styles, whether I like it or not. You put cinnamon in something it’s going to taste like a snickerdoodle. I don’t know how not to put it in there.” 

But the album will not be 100% Western Swing, though it will all be encapsulating of the era when Western Swing was the dominant influence in country music. “There’s definitely a jazz influence, country, and a couple of songs that I would call cowboy or folk tunes,” Brennen says.

Having written songs previously for folks like Rodney Crowell, LeAnn Womack, Sunny Sweeney, and Charley Crockett, Brennen Leigh has proven her songs timeless, no matter what era or influence she brings to them. Ahead of the album, she’s made the song “If Tommy Duncan’s Voice Was Booze” (listen below).

Obsessed With The West is now available for pre-order.


1. If Tommy Duncan’s Voice Was Booze
2. In Texas With A Band (feat. Ray Benson)
3. If I Treated You Like You Treated Me (feat. Emily Gimble)
4. Same Dream
5. Tell Him I’m Dead (feat. Katie Shore)
6. Obsessed With The West
7. Comin’ In Hot
8. I Was Just Thinking Of You
9. I Don’t Want Someone Who Don’t Want Me
10. Riding Off Onto Sunset Boulevard
11. You’re Doing It Wrong
12. Cottonwood Fuzz

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