A journeyman musician, Mac Leaphart has filled his award-winning career with a mix of hook-heavy roots music, honky-tonk rock & roll, and salty, sharply-detailed songwriting. It’s a sound that finds the Nashville-based troubadour nodding to those who’ve come before him — John Prine, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Hayes Carll — while also pushing forward into uncharted territory, earning support from a cross-country spread of folk fans and Americana audiences along the way.
Music City Joke is Mac Leaphart at his very best: wry, rugged, and recharged, singing songs that conjure up memories of front porches, honky tonks, heartbreaks, and dive bars. Songs like “Division Street” and the two-stepping title track are salty sketches of Nashville life, while “Every Day” finds Leaphart in family-man mode, painting a picture of his wife’s day-to-day routine. He even packs an album’s worth of punchlines into the two-and-a-half-minute “Ballad of Bob Yamaha or a Simple Plea in C Major,” a clever country song delivered from the perspective of an underused acoustic guitar. Full of lyric-driven, story-based songwriting, Music City Joke is a rallying cry from an artist who has spent more than a decade paying his dues and whittling his craft, joined by a team of longtime Nashville staples.