Straight from a Country song – two guys meet and start a band, realize the same girl broke their heart, and then make a spur-of-the-moment decision to hop in a car fueled on neon dreams en route to Nashville – but no, this is the real-life story of LAKEVIEW.
Jesse Denaro and Luke Healy make up the Nashville-by-way-of-Pittsburgh duo, infusing Country soul, Rock scope, and Pop ambition, into a singular style rooted in old school storytelling and elevated by carpe diem attitude and edgy production under Photo Finish Records. “We love writing and we have a ton of songs that are traditional Country, but it’s cool to push the envelope and see what we can get away with too,” admits Healy. “We want to disrupt and blur the lines even more.”
Their no regrets introduction to the genre comes by way of “work hard, play harder” anthem, “Poor Me,” and red flag-raising knockout, “Eyes Closed” – both tagging Denaro and Healy as co-writers and co-producers. Cody Quistad (X) co-penned “Poor Me” with LAKEVIEW, as Kevin Bard (Dan + Shay’s #1 hit “How Not To”) joined the pair as a co-writer on “Eyes Closed.”
Lap steel vibrates beneath a steady beat as guitar builds from a hummable riff into an electrified solo on “Poor Me,” with their debut chanting, “Take one down, pass it around, so poor me, poor me up another round.” Grinding it out between odd jobs to make a buck, like bartending, building pools, bouncing, and sleeping in vans on tour with cold SpaghettiOs as their main meal, “‘Poor Me’ is about our lives,” explains Denaro, before Healy adds, “We both worked manual labor jobs and have shoveled the shit of life – but when we’d get a day off, we’d go harder than anybody that made the little money we did.”
“Eyes Closed” hits just as hard, but is more of a sucker-punch to the heart, with told-you-so lyrics and a pumped-up verby electronic production fueled by a driving backbeat. “We worked the hardest on ‘Eyes Closed’ in the studio because we needed to make sure that it got its do justice,” recalls Healy. “We feel like it’s one of the strongest songs we’ve ever been a part of.”
Late nights and early mornings under the influence of a bottle and guitar, LAKEVIEW has the DNA of Country music coursing through its veins. “It’s America’s music – this is our genre, being a born-and-raised American,” states Healy. “No matter what elements are going on in the music as far as production, the stories hold true. Country is all about connecting.” Denaro adds, “We hope people relate to us on that same level.”
Originally from just outside New York City, Denaro was raised by musicians – as his mom was a piano teacher and his dad played the drums. Taught the drums by age 3 and later mastering the keys, he began performing live at 12, including playing worship at church until he was 22 years old. Healy, a native of Pittsburgh, relates to the same homegrown love of music, claiming, “It’s really special how that played a huge role in my life and I didn’t even realize at the time that my dad was basically teaching me how to write Country music – when he didn’t write music at all.” Healy further explains, “Taking long trips, going up to the lake to fish, or working in the driveway on the car’s brakes, even splitting wood – hated that by the way – but, he would always play these Country mixtapes he made. As a little kid I was singing these songs all the time and I didn’t even know they were Country songs, but growing older, I’m like, ‘Man, these songs were so good and so relevant, and they’re still relevant today.’ Nothing will ingrain as deep as those songs did as a kid.”
With a career backbone in Metal, as Healy notched ten years with Facedown Records’ Those Who Fear and Denaro a part of Von Wolfe, plus a heartbeat pulsing to mixtapes of Country legends such as Randy Travis, Don Williams, Conway Twitty, with a ‘90s dash of Toby Keith, Big & Rich, and Brooks & Dunn, LAKEVIEW is unapologetic in their cutting-edge sound. “We’ve come to realize that one of us without the other isn’t a good mix,” details Denaro. And Healy agrees, “This is not a business arrangement, these songs are an outpouring of what’s important to us and who we are musically to the core.”