Although Andy Stepanian and Mason Brent are longtime bandmates and collaborators in Virginia’s Wrinkle Neck Mules, their duo Leon, III's initial output bares only a hazy resemblance to that band’s alt.country past. Originally conceived by singer and principal songwriter Andy Stepanian as a vehicle for his moodier pieces, the project has trappings of a solo project – even adopting a moniker from his lineage. But, Brent plays a vital role in pushing the material out of the realm of songwriter introspection with his rock sensibility and deft guitar and bass playing.
The pair employed the help of Nashville’s Mark Nevers to produce their forthcoming debut. Nevers brought along a familiar cast of characters from his Lambchop pedigree highlighted by Brian Kotzur (Silver Jews) on drums, Tony Crow (Lambchop) on piano, Pete Finney (Bobbie Bare, Dixie Chicks) on pedal steel, Jordan Caress (Caitlin Rose), Kai Welch (Abigail Washburn) and Chris Scruggs (Marty Stuart). The result is a dynamic and multi-textural ride through a cycle of thematically linked songs. Expertly produced and arranged, the work touches on the instrumental largeness of Pink Floyd, the shadowy realms of The Velvet Underground – whose song Jesus is covered on the record - and the psychedelic streams of Grateful Dead.