THE BEST PARTY I HAVE EVER ATTENDED WAS PUT ON BY LEEANN. ACTUALLY I’D HAVE TO SAY THAT AS A PLURAL BECAUSE SHE THROWS AMAZING PARTIES MANY TIMES A YEAR. EVERY ONE OF THEM IS AWESOME. HER BARNDANCE’S HAVE BECOME THESTUFF OF LEGENDS OR SHOULD I SAY, SOUTH AUSTIN FOLKLORE. AND RIGHTFULLY SO. LEEANN IS ONE OF THE KINDEST FOLKS YOU’D EVER CARE TO MEET. SHE PUTS THE LOVE AND SOUL BACK INTO LIVE MUSIC HERE IN AUSTIN. IF YOU THINK THAT IS A TALL CLAIM, JUST ASK ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN IN THE ESTABLISHED LOCAL MUSIC SCENE FOR AWHILE, ABOUT MRS ATHERTON, AND THEY WILL TELL YOU THE SAME THING. LEEANN JUST LIT UP THE STAGE AT RUTA MAYA FOR THE AUSTIN DAZE, LAST 1ST THURSDAZE. SHE HAS A REGULAR GIG AT MARIAS TACOS ON SOUTH LAMAR THAT I RECOMMEND WHOLEHEARTEDLY.
AD: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN AUSTIN?
LA: 17 years,after traveling thru on vacation,coming back for a 6 month adventure, then returning for SXSW with my baby son Austin,for a showcase. I just stayed after that.
AD: PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND FOR US?
LA: Soulful, southern peace & love songs .
AD:WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE BUILD UP OF AUSTIN?
LA: I can still find a great swimming hole for skinny-dipping… so, it’s not too crowded. Just drive less and stay in the neighborhood.
AD: WHAT DOES “LIVE MUSIC CAPITAL …” MEAN TO YOU?
LA: There’s live music just about everywhere you go, that means alot of underpaid musicians.
AD: WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR MUSICAL CAREER SO FAR?
LA: Singing with John Cowen, Sam Bush, and Jonelle Mosser in a quartet for special show, singing with Bela Fleck and Walter Hyatt in my livingroom, touring the US singing back-up with a country star, riding with Carl Perkins in a limo. to the CMA Awards, recording with David Lindley and Albert Lee, rehearsing for the “Standing in the Shadows” movie and show with the great R&B musicians, and playing every week at Maria’s Taco Xpress.
AD: WHAT DO YOU MOST WANT TO ACHIEVE WITH YOUR MUSIC?
LA: Self-actualization and soulful experiences for all. Jerry Wexler once told me that music was all about getting the people to dance. He should know.
AD: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SXSW?
LA: I like the energy that is pumped into the city by all of the visitors. There is always some great music to be heard in Austin nightly, so SXSW just ampifies an already great situation.
AD: WHEN AND HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE BARN DANCE?
LA: I moved here from Nashville, and there were monthly Full Moon pickin’ parties held out near Franklin,Tn. There were often incredible bluegrass musicians. I have stood in the circle and heard Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, and Pat Flynn playing under the Tennessee full moon. When I bought my old ranch home and barn in South Austin, I wanted to share the space with my growing extended family and create a haven for us to play games, eat food, play music… I wanted my children and other kids to be around music while their parents were playing, so they would understand what we meant by “Mom is going to play”…I don’t know how long ago we started, but we started with a potluck and a cooking contest. Erik Hokkanen christened the Barn with the first music. He played fiddle inside of the barn. The Barn Dance started sweet and small, inside the barn. It has grown to be big and sweet, a wonderful community, and has out grown the Barn. Now we have a stage in the backyard (from Hank’s Road House), benches (wood from Liberty Lunch), several hand-me-down grills, a hand built BBQ pit, and a fire pit.The dance is almost totally run by volunteers; set-up, clean-up, improvements…without them the Barn Dance wouldn’t happen. Everyone that is at the party makes it happen!
AD: WHY DO YOU THINK THERE IS SO MUCH TALENT AND CREATIVITY IN THIS TOWN WHICH IS IN THE MIDDLE OF TEXAS?
LA: I heard tales about Austin long before I moved here. The music I heard from Texas was different than anywhere I had been.The swimming holes, radio, and food nurture the artist. Also, it used to be affordable to live here; so musicians would be able to make the big move to mythological Austin. The liberal and independent spirit is very strong in Austin, and that is appealing and necessary to artists.
AD: WHAT OTHER LOCAL ACTS BRING YOU OUT?
LA: I love to dance to the blues at Antone’s, you can find me on that dance floor often (not as often as the music used to be). I go out to hear Joe Ely, Toni Price, Slim Richey, The Harmonizers, Paul Ray (once a year!), Denny Freeman, The Keller Bros., Nathan Hamilton. I would go out every night if I could. I listen to KUT to take the place of my bar cover, tab, and babysitting expense. KUT almost fills me up, I just dance in my bedroom!
AD: WHAT IS THE NUMBER ONE THING THIS TOWN NEEDS TO DO FOR ITS MUSICIANS?
LA: All music venues should pay their musicians.
AD: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CURRENT POLITICAL SITUATION?
LA: This is a beautiful country, full of personal freedoms; we have to insure that it will remain so.We should get ready for the revolution. Educate and vote. Run for public office. If we are not more involved , we will lose our democracy.
AD: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE AUSTIN DAZE?
LA: Spirited and passionate, it takes alot of dedication, drive, and passion to get a paper out. I published an alternative newspaper in high school, and worked for the Chronicle and Statesman; daily hard work! Austin Daze is all about the community in music. Good work!
AD: HOW MANY CDS DO YOU HAVE AND WHERE CAN ONE FIND OUT WHERE YOU ARE PLAYING?
LA: I am working on my 4th CD; you can find them at local record stores that support indi. artists (not at any store like Wal-Mart , except Barnes & Noble), but easily found at Waterloo Records (thanks, Martin!), online (CD Baby, Amazon, Texas Music Round-Up…), my website (www.leeannatherton.com) , and the best deal is at my shows (every Friday at Taco Xpress).