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With a rock ’n’ roll country swagger, Mac Leaphart croons about sins, saviors, and small towns
“I grew up watching MTV and listening to Casey Kasem, and I had visions of tour buses and limos and acceptance speeches,” says singer-songwriter Mac Leaphart. “Now, I want to develop an audience and maybe affect some people the same way my heroes have affected me.” Influenced by Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Chuck Berry, the Greenville native is a believer in the strong song narrative paired with showmanship, and he has evolved from an introspective, writer-centric stage performer into a full-blown entertainer.
Now solo following a long stint with Charleston-based pop rock group Five Way Friday, Leaphart is gaining traction with a self-named three-piece outfit featuring Wilson Pippin on bass and John Picard on drums. His current album, Line, Rope, Etc., includes “Confederate Roses,” written in the classic country storyteller mode; “Cold Hard Truth,” a plaintive duet reminiscent of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter; and “White Shoes and Silver Britches,” a country rocker that rekindles the spirit of The Georgia Satellites and Jason and The Scorchers. Embracing more modest, workhorse heroes like John Prine and Billy Joe Shaver, he says, “I don’t think about acceptance speeches so much anymore.”
Photograph by Sarah Hinds