Classic Americana songwriting combined with the textures of Nick Drake and The Band.
In the spirit of classic Americana songwriting, Austin Hartley-Leonard writes about his life, the people around him, and the things he's been through. With a brotherly raspy charm in his voice and lyrics evoking imagery and emotions that any listener can make their own, his debut "Franklin Ave" serves up Nick Drake infused moody ballads to the country rock classic flavor of The Band.
Austin recently returned from a showcase spot at the Americana Music Association Conference in Nashville this past September. He'll be doing a residency at The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles in February, with a Southwest tour and a slot in South by Southwest slated for March. "Franklin Ave" is currently getting regular airplay on the Bob Harris show on the BBC, and Austin will be embarking on a UK tour in the spring.
Austin began as a solo singer/songwriter in Austin, TX. His first demo, on which he played most of the instruments himself, earned him an invitation to the 2005 SXSW Music Festival. Soon after, he started looking for other musicians to round out the band, and the group St. James Inc was born.
St. James Inc has played a number of nationally renowned venues, including The Mercury Lounge in NYC, The Hotel Cafe and The Viper Room in LA, Stubb's and The Parish in Austin, Subterranean in Chicago, and the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in San Antonio. In 2005, the band performed at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, alongside such acts as Coldplay, Oasis, and The Black Crowes.
After releasing the "8 Hours" EP in 2006, St. James Inc performed at the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago and then relocated to Los Angeles, where they continued to see great success. You can hear their tunes in the film "Moving McAllister" and the hit show "Men In Trees" on ABC.
After meeting producer Charles Newman (The Magnetic Fields, The Bowmans, AM) in Los Angeles, the two began work on Austin's debut solo record in December 2007. With Mother West label mates The Bowmans adding a sprinkling of harmonies, Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams, Teft Merritt) on pedal steel, Carrie Rodriguez on fiddle, and the St. James Inc band, recording was finished at Mother West NYC this past March, and "Franklin Ave" was released in Sept 08.
Franklin Ave (2008)