"Getting in front of new audiences is the best," says Brian Leighton, a native of Shoreview, Minn., and frontman of Americana rock band GB Leighton. Making their first-ever appearance in Charleston, the band plays a low-cover show on Thursday evening in support of a solid new studio album titled Shake Them Ghosts. It's the tenth studio collection from the young, Minneapolis-based songwriter and a follow-up to last year's Live at the Minnesota Music Café, recorded in St. Paul and released in 2006. He hopes it will be a breakthrough nationwide.
"We are trying to gain a bigger audience and get to some cities that we haven't played yet and try to introduce ourselves and our music to new fans," Leighton says. "We play so much in the Midwest that it's hard to change your show night after night to keep them interested. In front of a new audience, you can kind of take the best of the best and lay it out there for them."
GB Leighton's guitar-driven power-pop and twang sounds warmly familiar with a blend of acoustic and electric, blue-blooded and eccentric. "I call it heartland rock," says Leighton. "I guess it's Tom Petty-meets-R.E.M. ... rock with a bit of country in it.
Leighton, guitarist Luke Kramer, drummer Randall Baugher, keyboardist Gary D., sax and string player Jason Perri, and bassist Junior Flom recorded Shake Them Ghosts at Winterland studio with Carolina audio veteran Don Dixon.
"He is one of the greatest people I've ever worked with in a studio," Leighton says. "I think that it's the best album I've made yet."