AUSTIN HARTLEY-LEONARD “GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY”
From what I can tell, this song’s about moving to LA, yet in the video, Austin Hartley-Leonard avoids the classic shot of the soon-to-be-hooker stepping off the bus with a suitcase in her hand, a twinkle in her eye, and a horrible series of disastrous decisions in her near future.
Hell, there’s not even a discernable trace of regret in this song. Austin doesn’t even mention the smell eeping out of your Armenian neighbor’s apartment in East Hollywood as he makes some version of prosciutto with the cured flesh from the top of a goat’s head. It’s not your typical song about LA, and it’s not played by your typical LA musicians.
With the banjo and acoustic support from Matt Ramsey, Austin taps into the sound of the classic optimism of moving to California from years past. It’s not about a shiny new set of headshots, it’s not about fakin’ it till you make it, it’s not even about your cousin’s friend from New York City that does blow with Michael Bay’s assistant until thing’s get awkward and he pulls his dick out poolside at the Standard every Tuesday night. It’s about opportunity. For Austin, a lot of that opportunity has come from playing with the extended family of musicians that are in and around the Waco Tragedies. It’s not a sound and scene you would expect to come from the blackened and clotted heart of Hollywood proper, until you witness it yourself and realize it couldn’t happen anywhere else.
Of course, I’d be remiss, if I didn’t specifically call out Brother Sal for bringing the good ol’ Whorehouse Gospel sound on piano. Here’s a clip of Austin and the guys doing their thing together at the Hotel Café. Now imagine it without shitty digital compression, or better yet, come feel it this Wednesday night.