An Interview with Recording Artist/Songwriter Leon Seiter
Hailing from Michigan, Leon Seiter (soo-ter) began receiving national attention in country music circles when his record, Sentenced to Live, received national airplay in the United States, Canada, Germany, and France. Leon has since had five nationally charting singles, including "You Can Always Count on Me," "Love Is Just a Game," and "Under Your Spell Again" from his current album, In the Shadows of a Honky Tonk.
In the early '70s, Leon recorded "Rags to Riches," which made country charts across the nation. Leon has had numerous other records, such as "Mr. Jones," What Is This Man," "Someone On Your Phone," and, in 1984, "To Make My World Go Round," which also made Billboard's single reviews. In 1992, "You Can Always Count On Me" made it to the Top 15.
Leon has opened for several top entertainers in the world of country music, such as George Jones, Hank Williams Jr., Porter Wagoner, Tanya Tucker, Tom T. Hall, Tammy Wynette, Mel Tillis, Loretta Lynn, Little Jimmy Dickens, and Tex Ritter. Citing Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Marty Robbins, and Johnny Cash as his inspirations, Leon's songs of pain, sorrow, love, and country life are a refreshing addition to the country pop artists on today's country radio.
Leon's wit and charm has landed him on countless television and radio talk shows, including The Ralph Emery Show. It also aided in his induction in to the Michigan Country Music Hall of Fame in June of 2000 and his being listed in the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame in Burns, Tennessee. Currently, Leon is out promoting his new single, "In the Shadows of a Honky Tonk," off the CD of the same title.
[Cindy B. Gordon] Hi Leon. It's great to talk with you. So you're currently promoting your recent CD and single, "In the Shadow's of a Honky Tonk?"
Leon Seiter Leon: Yes. And we have some shows booked for this year to promote the CD. Also, I'll be at Fanfair in the Reunionaires booth. On Friday the Reunionaires will put on a show - I don't know exactly where right now.
[Cindy B. Gordon] And what inspired the CD, In the Shadow's of a Honky Tonk?"
Leon Seiter As my producer on the CD, Howard Walker wrote, "We tried to recreate the songs from the late 50's and early 60's. By doing so we got top musicians, people who played on many of the hits to come out of Nashville. We got the original musicians who invented the sound that we got - Buddy Emmons - Steel Guitar, Buddy Spicher - Fiddle, Pete Wade - Guitar, David Spicher - Bass, Jim White - Drums and Terry Eldredge - Harmony vocals.
[Cindy B. Gordon] The current CD - you said Howard Walker produced that?
Leon Seiter Yes, Howard Walker. He's produced me all these years and he produced this current CD and about a year after that he passed away. So gotta do it different next time.
[Cindy B. Gordon] I'm sorry to hear that. That must be rough. So I see you've been doing this awhile, since the 60's. Have you seen a lot of changes?
Leon Seiter I started as a singer/songwriter. Yes, there has been so many changes in the music itself and in the business end of it too.
[Cindy B. Gordon] What kind of changes have you seen in the business end of it?
Leon Seiter Well, when I started you could pick up bands wherever you'd go and now everybody has a complete show. That's one of the changes.
[Cindy B. Gordon] What's been your favorite part of all of this?
Leon Seiter The favorite part is the show itself when you get a good audience and everything is clicking.
[Cindy B. Gordon] And what's your least favorite part?
Leon Seiter My least favorite part is the traveling. It's pretty tiresome.
[Cindy B. Gordon] Do you have a family?
Leon Seiter Yes, I'm married to my wife, Elaine and we have 4 boys, mostly grown up now.
And 4 grandchildren - 3 girls and one boy. They range from 11 to 1 ½ yrs.
[Cindy B. Gordon] Was there any big breaks that helped you along the way?
Leon Seiter Yes. I had a good break when I met a fellow by the name of Delmar Potter who was a booking agent and promoter. He promoted me and helped me around the country with one of the big names. If I hadn't met him it wouldn't have gone so easy. He really worked hard, did a lot of shows.
[Cindy B. Gordon] So how did you hook up with him?
Leon Seiter I put on a show in Lansing, Michigan for the Lions Club there. My brother-in-law was a member of the Lions club and he introduced me to Delmar. We just hooked up together that way and things worked out well from there on. That was about the same time I had the record "Rags to Riches" going which was a pretty good record for me. In three or four of the major markets - it was on the top 10. That was a break too. I would've never recorded that song but the producer insisted. Now I'm glad that I did!
[Cindy B. Gordon] You're a singer and a songwriter. Are you open to other co-writers?
Leon Seiter Yes, I am.
[Cindy B. Gordon] Any advice to aspiring songwriters and singers?
Leon Seiter You just have to do what's in your heart and keep pushing. And there's not really any certain way to do it. Everybody does it a little different that makes it, you know. But you got to keep your heart in it and when you get a lot of rejection you can't give up - that's the main thing- because you will get a lot of rejection.
[Cindy B. Gordon] Well, that's about all the time we have for now. It was a pleasure talking with you Leon. I wish you good luck with your current CD, "In the Shadow's of a Honky Tonk"
Leon Seiter Thanks Cindy.
For more information on Leon check out his website at www.leonseiter.com.
PO Box 558, Smyrna, TN 37167