Backroad Medicine

Mattie Leon

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Produced and Engineered by Mark Howard Additional Recording by Mattie Leon Lyrics by Mattie Leon Music by Mattie Leon, Mike Leon & Nelson Sobral Mixed by Mattie Leon Except tracks 3, 4, 7, 8 mixed by Josh Bowman Mastered by Reuben Ghose Cover Photography by Jenn Kavanagh

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In March 2022, Mattie Leon and his band travelled to South Frontenac, Ontario to record an album with renowned record producer, Mark Howard (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Willie Nelson). For 7 days the group lived together under one roof recording from sun up to sunset. 

The result is Backroad Medicine; 13 songs of Folk, R&B, and blue eyed soul recorded the old fashioned way with the band performing together in the same room. There’s a humanity in the recordings that’s missing in so much of today's music. A humanity that pairs well with Mattie’s songwriting.

The 2021 Songs From The Heart (FMO) award winner is at the top of his game on this expansive record. The way he writes about love, heartbreak, letting go, and the state of the world we live in are proof that the Emerging Artist Nominee (2018 Canadian Folk Music Awards) has fully emerged. 

The first single, 'Acoustic Guitars', has been receiving national radio play on CBC 1 and two songs (Backroad Medicine, If I Ever Lost You) from the album will be included in the upcoming Haley Wickenheiser Documentary "WICK" (Crave & TSN).  



The first offering is 'Acoustic Guitars', an upbeat R&B tune with sticky fingered guitars, four on the floor drums, and a bass that just won't quit. Between shots of Motown horns Mattie sings, "Confident guys don't tend to hide behind Acoustic Guitars" and he knows from experience.

'Acoustic Guitars' sees Mattie stepping back into that blue eyed soul sound he explored with his 2019 Double A-side Single, 'When Love Is Strong/Caught Up'. 


The second single is the catchy ‘Can’t Hide The Lonely’, an acoustic folk shuffle that sounds like it could have been a lost track off of Rubber Soul. Mattie explains the lyrics, “When you’re heart is broken and you’re trying to hide the pain you might THINK you’re doing a good job but everyone can see you’re struggling.” 

You can hold a smile for a couple frames / but you can’t hide the lonely


The next offering is title track, 'Backroad Medicine', a folk rock gem about unplugging and getting away from the digital noise. The acoustic guitars, mandolin, rim shot drums, and lead guitar lines all work together to make it feel like a long drive through the Rocky Mountains in the middle of July. The song evokes classics by John Denver and Gordon Lightfoot but is uniquely “Mattie” with those beautiful three part harmonies. 

maybe if I leave my phone inside / and step out to the UV light / maybe I can start to heal inside / surrounded by some natural things.


The next big single, Marigold, is an exuberant burst of harmonies, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and toms. Lyrically the song is from the perspective of someone that’s passed away, insisting that their loved ones need not worry because they’re still around; painting the sunset and hanging stars in the night sky. It lifts off and doesn’t come back down until the cheers of Mark Howard (Producer) and the band are heard celebrating a “perfect” take. 

Every morning when the sun starts rising / I’ll be painting you a new horizon / colours that explode / into marigold / showing you that I never let you go 


Inspired by the Flint water crisis and written about the corners of the US and Canada that are left behind, the next single, Michigan, plays like a movie. This musical stomp takes a note from the Springsteen playbook…keep the focus on the lyrics and tell the truth. 

This country’s in a nosedive / and everybody’s afraid / I’m running out of healthy things to use for pain / addicted to the medicine I can’t afford to take 


The focus track on the album, Common Ground, is a hymn about finding just that in a world that is terribly divided. It starts quietly with a simple organ and vocal but by the end it’s an eruption of electric guitars and tribal drums. The last few years has pulled people apart and this song is a reminder that we have more in common than we think, regardless of what social media feeds us. 

The world is working / against you and me / it pulls us to the fringes and extremes / I can barely recognize you now / so we need to find some common ground 


Words and Music by Mattie Leon & Mike Leon

Mattie Leon | Vocals, Guitars, Keys

Mike Leon | Drums, Percussion, Vocals

Nelson Sobral | Bass, Lead Guitar, Vocals

Produced by Mark Howard

Mixed by Josh Bowman & Mattie Leon

Mastered by Reuben Ghose