GB Leighton: Born To It
More than 200 shows a year. Jubilant fans who follow him from Minnesota to Mexico. More than 70,000 albums sold. A crushing live-performance DVD. And now even a state-of-the-art nightclub named after one of his songs -- all without the support of a major record label
Meet GB Leighton, a band named after one of the regions most incendiary live performers and consistently solid songwriters, Brian Leighton. Through more than a decade and nine studio albums, Leighton and his six-piece band have been tearing up rock clubs, church fundraisers and even a few fans living rooms with a slew of songs that connect with the heart and couples singing along out on the dance floor. A man of the people is a phrase usually reserved for statesmen and politicians, but for Leighton, whose politics are more conservative and libertarian , its a fitting description when you see him in action working a joint, or on his 2006 DVD, Live at the Minnesota Music Café.
Where have we seen this phenomena before? Springsteen in Asbury Park before he lit out for New York and the wider world; Mellencamp back in those anonymous Indiana bars; Hootie and the Blowfish lightin up the southern circuit Leighton delivers that same inescapable rock n roll spirit night after night. If I hadnt heard a bunch of Bruces bootlegs or seen the videos Id be a much different musician, he says today. Hes always been a great songwriter and performer, like a preacher almost who commands an audience. Thats the place Im coming from. But at the end of the day, Im just a common guy, a working class kid from a Twin Cities suburb who loves to put on a good show and hopefully write some good songs in between.
In Acapulco or Pickle Park, connecting with people still privy to a pretty good rock n roll thing
Leightons countless live gigs have that golden glow of legendary status about them throughout the Midwest. But hes also done his share of non-conventional gigs at the Minnesota Governors Mansion, church festivals, in fans living rooms and at a special show in March 2006 for Minnesota National Guard troops who were shipping-off to serve in the Middle East from Camp Shelby in Mississippi. In January 2006 GBL also began the first annual trip with fans to Acapulco. More than 120 people joined him and the GB Leighton Band for a week. The group played two poolside shows by day and rocked a local club by night. In between we hung with the people on the trip, which was surprise to a lot of them: We were right there next to them by the pool with family and friends having a drink and relaxing. This year hell reprise that adventure, playing the Acapulco Hard Rock Café at night, and giving people who love his music another chance to connect in a manageable rock n roll setting thats still a pretty good thing for a rocker and his audience.
When approached to have a first-class, high-tech nightclub not far from his house in New Brighton named after a song on his first album, Pickle Park, Leighton was in. Not since Prince opened Glam Slam in downtown Minneapolis has any Minnesota musician opened a club where fans can expect to see a hometown rocker and his band play live and hang out to catch a Vikes game and just kick back. He adds that Pickle Parks in some ways a lot like the new record its another way to keep fans happy and to share a space with them, Leighton notes. Its something Ive wanted for a long time, and when club owners Tom Tomaro and Mike Tupa approached me about the idea, I was all over it. Its really going to be a way for people to see another side of me, just like Shake Them Ghosts is.
His tenth album, Ghosts is Leightons finest effort to date (SEE CD Backgrounder). Longtime fans wonder if this is the one to break him out nationally. And his new management team, Murphy to Manteo, the same group that launched Hootie, Cowboy Mouth and others, is working on it. But in the meantime, Brians doing what he does best, rock the house. People might wonder how a big national audience might shake things up. But one things sure: Brain Leighton was born to it.
This is the only thing I ever wanted to do. I dont see stopping or changing it up no matter where it takes me and the band.
Written By: Brian Leighton & Clay Mills
She walks in out of the dark.
Sad blue eyes and a broken heart.
Tight red dress hugging her close.
THrowing back tequila's trying to shake them ghosts.
Yeah it's just a matter of time. 'Till she gets him off her mind.
She won't be lonely long. A couple more shots and a couple sad songs.
She'll pick up the pieces. She'll start to smile. A girl like that will drive all the boys wild. he'll be wishing he never did her wrong.
She won't be lonely long. You can tell she's made up her mind. She aint looking back she's all done crying.
She tells the band to turn it up loud.
THe way she's dancing's gonna draw a crowd. Can't keep a women like that down. Now just stand back and watch her turn it around.
She won't be lonely long.
A couple more shots and a couple sad songs.She'll pick up the pieces, she'll start to smile. A girl like that will drive all the boys wild. He'll be wishing he never did her wrong. She won't be lonely long.
She won't be sitting at home waiting by the phone. No, she's moving on. She won't be lonely long. A couple more shots and a couple sad songs. She'll pick up the pieces. She'll start to smile. A girl like that will drive all the boys wild. He'll be wishing he never did her wrong. She won't be lonely long.
Written By: Brian Glodek & Rachel Thibodeau
It's almost over. We've been doing this for so long. Everything was right now it's wrong. You're standing right next to the door. It's almost over. How could we let this go so far. That you won't even stay in my arms. Long enough to tell me I'm yours. What if I still love you. What if I still care. Would it change your mind. Would it keep you here. If I told you I'm sorry. For whatever I've done. Would it make any difference. Would you still want to run? It's almost over. I've tried to say goodbye but I can't. 'Cause I still want the dreams we've planned. The memories aren't nearly enough. It's almost over. But I can't shake this thought from my head. Of you and I layin in this bed. With a baby in-between us. What if I still love you. What if I still care. Would it change your mind. Would it keep you here. If I told you I'm sorry for whatever I've done. Would it make any difference? Would you still want to run? IF I tell you I love you. If I look in your eyes. If i tried to be softer. When I kiss you just right. If I reach out to hold you. When the tears start to fall. Would it keep you from leaving. Would it matter at all. What if I still love you? What if I still care. Would it change your mind. Would it keep you here. If I told you I'm sorry for whatever I've done. Would it make any difference. Would you still want to run. It's almost over. It's almost over.
Shake Them Ghosts CD 2007
DVD GB Leighton Live at the Minnesota Music Cafe
2006 Moonsong Records 020601
CD GB Leighton Live at the Minnesota Music Cafe
2006 Moonsong Records 070104
This Life 2003 Liquid 8 Records LIQ 12115
It's All Good 2000 Moonsong Records 318324
Acapulco Night 2000 Moonsong Records 122068
Acapulco Night 1999 Moonsong Records
Live From Pickle Park 1998 Moonsong Records 063070
Forever Ago 1997 Oarfin Records Limited Edition 45rpm
Come Alive 1996 Oarfin Records #96352
One time...One Life 1994 Metro Records 2 39402 2
Typically, GB Leighton plays two 75 minute sets, performing mostly original music from their notable discography. Every now and then, they throw a few covers in there, including Prince's "Purple Rain" and Velvet Undergrounds "Sweet Jane".