Rob Leines returns with a second studio album, Blood Sweat and Beers. He delivers Southern-fried backroads rock with an irreverence reserved for few genre-bending performance-forward acts. The Georgia-native revels in his country roots delivering brazen lyric lines with a slightly tampered twang. He was raised a military brat, spending time in Utah and California. His influences span all the way back across the Sunbelt, but Leines claims the South—its waterways, mountains, and great outdoors — continuously tugs on his heartstrings.
“A lot of these songs are about blue-collar pride,” he says. “They’re about the workingman’s experience. I’m trying to paint a picture of what it’s like on the road, and what it’s like in the South. My roots are still very much tied to the area, and you can hear that in the sound.”
Before the pandemic, Rob spent most of 2019 opening for Whiskey Myers on tour. He spent years working in welding the oil and gas industries along the Pacific Coast, followed by a traveling gig repairing components of turbine engines at power plants across the world. When touring dried up after COVID hit last year, he hung up his guitar for a bit and returned to this manual labor to pay the bills. Sitting on this finished product since last May, Leines is eager to return to his role as stage performer and rock musician, touring his sophomore body of work.
When asked how his welding work affects his songwriting for a humorous promotional Q&A video, Leines wittingly responds: “Well, they’re both hot as shit. They both melt metal, and if you stare at the light too long, you’ll go blind.”
Co-produced by Leines and Eric Rennaker, Blood Sweat and Beers follows his 2018 debut, Bad Seed. He created the first album over the course of two years, stopping to track tunes in his home base of Los Angeles when his schedule allowed.
“I can’t listen back to my first album,” he laughs. “2018 was when I really got started, and thought ‘okay, I’ve got to record a record. After Bad Seed, we were doing 200 dates at least a year, so I’ve been learning how to play electric guitar a little better, and have a grip on the touring aspect. You can hear the difference on this new album—my chops were up, vocals were stronger, and I think my experience on the road really translated here. It’s a wide variety.”
His latest work marks a milestone in his evolution as a musician. Leines, who doesn’t like to be “put in a corner,” melds far-reaching influence into a sonic space that is uniquely his own, allowing his musical roots to coexist. Raised in Georgia, Leines learned about mountain bluegrass at an early age, listening to his mother, a songwriter perform in a duo. In Elementary school he stumbled upon a blues album that struck a chord. Upon realizing this, Leines’ mother gifted him a Muddy Waters 3 CD set.
“The first time I listened I was like damn, this guy sings like a boss, I want to sing like him,” the artist recalls. He laughs, adding “quite a lofty dream for a skinny white kid like me just breaking into music.”
His teenage years brought on punk, death metal, and the religious awakening of classic rock. He started a death metal band, writing arrangements and riffs until he was 16 and as he recalls, “it finally just clicked.” His understanding of song structure and knack for the guitar brought forth considerable talent that flowed seamlessly into songwriting in his 20s.
“I grew up in a military family, and I had a real fear of performing my music,” he explains. “So it was more something I did to overcome a fear, and then it turned into something else.”
Leine reverberates a gritted determination to play the music he wants to hear. The record hosts his personal take on songs ranging from fervent rock anthems like “Saturday Night” to the sultry soul-funk of “Good Time.” “Patty Lynn” places a modern twist on a traditional murder ballad. His tongue-in-cheek approach to “Drinkin Problem” contradicts the ballad-style of “Hold On”—a love song he penned for his cousin’s wedding.
“Early on I decided I’m doing this and if someone relates great, but I’m not trying to follow a trend,” he explains of his varied approach. “I want to translate the music of my past into something that feels and sounds good.”
Listen to Blood Sweat and Beers from Rob Leines below and purchase the vinyl album here.