Monday, May 16, 2022
– Following a 15-year hiatus, Danni Leigh is returning with "Walkin' on a Wire," out June 10 via BFD / Audium Nashville.
Leigh, who was known as the female Dwight Yoakam at an earlier stage of her career, co-wrote each of the 11 songs on her new collection.
"It was 100 percent up to me to decide which songs to put on this record," Leigh said. "That is a little nerve racking, but I believe in all of these songs, and I'm 100 percent happy. These are all my choices."
During her time away from country music, Leigh spent time focusing on her family and lived in Spain for five years. She recruited ace European musicians for her new project, including Dima Faustov, a saxophone player from the Ukraine, who played on "You're Gonna Lose Him."
"We texted to ask if he and his family were ok, and we didn't expect to hear anything back from him" she said. "He texted right back and said, 'I'm safe. My family is safe, however, we are in a bomb shelter.' He played that song in the bomb shelter for people and said, 'Just for a moment we had a peaceful moment where whoever was around me was listening, and it was incredible.' This is so not important for what is happening in his world right now, but we sent it, and he was so happy that we did."
Leigh and her husband, Mike McKenzie, put the finishing touches on the album at their home studio in Strasburg, Va. She and her family currently reside in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley where she grew up. "Growing up around here, I was a little rebellious. I was outspoken," she said. "I played sports and was in the band, but always sang. I grew up in Lutheran church and sang in talent shows and at church with the choir."
The first single, "My Arms Stay Open All Night," was written with Melba Montgomery. The song's intro features her in a candid recording from their co-writing session. "I wrote that song with my hero," Leigh said, adding that she was nervous at first, but Montgomery made her feel at ease. "I had a blast, and it's probably my favorite writing session. I really appreciate the gravity of her as a country music artist and a songwriter and everything that she's contributed to this genre. That was a special day for me and a writing session that I'll never forget."
"Walking On A Wire is a good image of how I feel navigating the world right now," she says. "That's why I chose it for this record because it feels like with the pandemic and everything that is going on in the world right now. The song itself is talking about a relationship that is a little rocky. I don't feel that way about my husband, of course. It's more like the visual of walking on a wire in the world, really."
The song "Pain of Surrender" also was released.
"I learned too not to go too crazy," she said. "Less is more and I think that you hear that on this record. We didn't pile on a whole bunch of stuff. The instruments breathe. They make poignant statements themselves. I'm not trying to over sing anything or prove a point or be anybody except myself, and that's what this is to me. I'm real proud of it. I hope people like it."
The track listing is:
1. A Honky Tonk Song
2. Anybody's Baby
3. Pain of Surrender
4. Walking on a Wire
5. It Could Happen to You
6. You're Gonna Lose him
7. This Time
8. Last of The Wine
9. Steel Rails
10. Melba Montgomery and Danni Writing Session
11. My Arms Stay Open Late
Leigh was signed to Decca, Monument, Audium and AGR and released a total of four albums. Among her singles were "If the Jukebox Took Teardrops" and "29 Nights." Leigh reportedly found greater success in Europe. She developed a following in Korea, Brazil, and Japan.
As her career declined in the U.S., Leigh moved to Spain, performing in Europe and Asia. During the tours, she met and eventually married her bandmate Mike McKenzie. The couple returned to Nashville for an attempt at restarting her career, but the birth of her only child, a son, in 2010 led her to focus on motherhood.