Monett singer-songer writer releases new country album
Monett singer-songwriter Leon Troyer is making ripples in the music scene with his new CD of modern country music, "The Common Man's Highway."
Troyer, who has long circulated around the southwest Missouri music scene, has served as master of ceremonies for events such as Monett's Oktoberfest. His first foray as a recorded performer has given him the opportunity to perform with Carrie Tillis at a fundraiser on Nov. 12 and appear on several regional broadcasts.
Troyer's CD offers a tribute to the 85th birthday of Route 66. He has concentrated his promotional efforts on radio stations located along the "Mother Road."
"I was raised on classic country, and in my teens, I listened to classic rock," Troyer said. "My sound is hillbilly-ish Steely Dan style, more like R&B with a country twang."
The 10 songs on "The Common Man's Highway" use Route 66 as a springboard for stories, both historic and contemporary. "Second Chance Road" tells the tale of a fugitive who describes himself as "a highway looter on the Trail of Tears; I've been hauling moonshine on this road for years."
"Leave A Legacy" recounts the 1953 kidnapping of the child, Bobby Greenleese. "The Legendary Barrow Gang" revisits the story of Bonnie and Clyde, and "Two Blocks Wide" brings back the joy of cruising in a top-down convertible 1955 Chevrolet on a Saturday night.
Troyer has played the guitar since age 8 and won numerous other competitions including Harrah's, Nashville Star and the Four State Idol contests. He has a portfolio of over 150 rock, country and gospel songs.
"My songs are about past experience and family, like 'Grandpa's Chair.' My subjects lean toward patriotism. I'm using the recording as a platform to do my part. I'm a commoner trying to go out and live the American dream."
Troyer's favorite song on the CD is the last one, "Don't Give Up." The words of the truck driver in the song reflect Troyer's philosophy: "Don't give up on the Declaration. It says we've got the right to be happy. Don't give up on the common man. Don't give up on the master plan. Lift up your head up and then you'll see."
"The Common Man's Highway" has been released by Table Rock Records. A number of musicians with Branson experience accompany Troyer on the recording, including guitarist and mandolin player Gary Smith, a former member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and an 18-year session player in Branson who shares songwriting credits with Troyer on the songs.
Keyboard player Mark Owens was music director of the Legends Theater in Branson and now works as associate producer for a major show in Las Vegas, Nev. Sisters Sandra Rhodes and Brenda Barnett recently provided backup vocals for Loretta Lynn's tour and can be heard providing backup on Elvis Presley's recording of "Suspicious Minds."
Troyer has been working for Davis and Son in Monett for several years in the heating and cooling, plumbing and electric business. Since the release of the CD, he has gone into the music business fulltime.
"I'm doing this the old-fashioned way," Troyer said. "I'm selling recordings out of my truck. I'm on the computer, on the phone and on the road."
Beginning this week, "The Common Man's Highway" will be available on Amazon, Rhapsody and I-Tunes for download. A major aggregator in Nashville, Tenn., accepted Troyer's CD for the 30 sites their firm services worldwide.
"I'm doing the regional thing, working in the Joplin and Springfield area, starting from the central part of the country out to Chicago and San Bernardino for a 2,400-mile tour," Troyer said.
He will be playing in small regional venues and plans to book appearances at many of the Route 66 festivals that run for the seven-month concert season beginning in the spring. He plans to return to the studio in December to have volume two of "The Common Man's Highway" ready for next summer.
"I'm a believer," Troyer said. "A lot of things have happened that I have no control over. The Lord opens all kinds of doors. I'm living the album now, riding the popularity wave of Route 66."
Troyer's recording is available on-line at www.leonthecommonman.com. Copies of the CD are available at Davis and Son, 305 Central Ave. in Monett. For more information about bookings, call 417-489-9465.