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Hamilton Leithauser performs a solo acoustic set at The Current

Hamilton Leithauser performs a solo acoustic set in The Current studio.
Hamilton Leithauser performs a solo acoustic set in The Current studio.Nate Ryan | MPR
  Play Now [18:34]

by Mark Wheat

February 17, 2017

Hamilton Leithauser - In a Black Out (Live on The Current)
by MPR
Hamilton Leithauser - The Bride's Dad (Live on The Current)
by MPR
Hamilton Leithauser - When The Truth Is... (Live on The Current)
by MPR

"I do have a full band that I play with every night, they're just not here right now," Hamilton Leithauser says. "I let them sleep in in Chicago."

As his band caught up on a little shuteye before their sold-out show at the Turf Club in St. Paul, Leithauser stopped at The Current for an in-studio session hosted by Mark Wheat. Equipped with a nylon-string acoustic guitar, Leithauser turned out a solo set of heartstring-tugging tunes from I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, his recent collaborative album with Rostam Batmanglij.

To some degree, the album came about almost by happy accident. "We started writing stuff so fast, we got really a huge chunk of this record down in just a couple of writing sessions — like two or three," Leithauser says. "And that was when we started talking about it and thinking, 'This really should be its own record and its own project.' And it's more than him producing my record; it's more like we're a band or a duo, and this is how we should present it."

The solo versions of the songs, combined with the stories within them, lend Leithauser's in-studio set a sort of Bob Dylan vibe. One of the songs, "The Bride's Dad," tells the story of something Leithauser and his wife, Anna Stumpf, witnessed at a friend's wedding in upstate New York five years ago. "There was an uninvited, unwanted guest who turned out to be the bride's dad," Leithauser recalls. "He got up on the stage and he gave this really awesome toast, that we loved, and he sang that song, 'Wild Mountain Thyme,' which I've always loved. He was sort of in tears when he was singing it, and I was so gripped … After he sang it, I was ready to burst out in applause, and then I realized we were the only ones who were charmed."

Speaking of Stumpf, she was present during the in-studio session, having joined Leithauser for the next leg of his tour. Their children are joining them on tour, too, and there's a cool local connection: Stumpf's parents live in River Falls, Wis., and the children are spending the day with their grandparents. Getting the family involved is nothing new to Leithauser; Stumpf appears in the video for "A 1000 Times," as does Leithauser's father — and Rostam Batmanglij's dad, too.

Use the audio player above to listen to the complete in-studio session with Hamilton Leithauser — including the story of how he MacGyver'ed one of his guitars back together before the show at the Turf.

Songs Performed

"In a Black Out"
"The Bride's Dad"
"The Truth Is…"
All songs from Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam Batmanglij's collaborative album, I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, out on Glassnote Records.

Hosted by Mark Wheat
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark and Elijah Deaton-Berg
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor


Hamilton Leithauser - official site

"A 1000 Times" - official music video