The psychedelic songsmiths of Leon III (pronounced Leon the Third) are back with news of the band’s third album, Something Is Trying To Change My Mind. Out October 13th via Monosonic Records/Soundly Music the announcement arrives alongside the opening suite of “Mannequins” and “Dogwood Blooms”.

After cementing their sound with 2021’s Antlers In Velvet, the core duo of Leon III Andy Stepanian and Mason Brent continue to tinker with the formula on Change My Mind. While still tapping into the expansive songscapes that built buzz around Antlers In Velvet, Leon III applies a more concentrated effort to this new batch of seven compositions.

“After Antlers in Velvet, I really wanted to try and write shorter songs,” Stepanian said.  “My tendency is to write slow burners that don’t pay off until the end. ‘Mannequins’ tries to be the opposite of that – more like a T. Rex vignette. It leads off the album to set a different tone. The electronic vibe is immediately present and the sparseness blooms into the most pop moment in Leon III history. Then the whole thing falls to pieces and merges like a dream into ‘Dogwood Blooms.’”

At just 3:29 minutes, the album-opening “Mannequins” embodies that more conventional approach. While still a long way away from anything resembling “pop” music, the structure reflects the band’s more accessible side. That is until it bridges into “Dogwood Blooms”, breaking open into extended instrumental passages, with overdubs on top of overdubs including layers of sitar, before bursting through a huge crescendo comparable to the “Inspiration / Move me brightly” climax of the Terrapin Station movement by the Grateful Dead, one of Leon III’s foundational influences.

“I like to write ghost stories and ‘Dogwood Blooms’ is another one,” Stepanian said of the suite’s second song. “I read something about the notion of a bhoot in Hinduism. It’s a type of restless spirit which can shape-shift into various forms from animal to human. Often the real humans they encounter can’t discern that it’s a ghost – until it’s too late. This song imagines an encounter between some kind of bhoot and a young man, maybe a soldier who has deserted, in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. I won’t fill in on all the details but that’s the concept anyway. The song is meant to be a bit like a fever dream. A passing encounter with beauty that may or may not be real. Sri Lankan sitarist Mahesh Pathmakumara adds quite a bit to this one. I literally found him by Googling Sitar player and reaching out via email. Hope to meet him one day.”

Related: Andy Stepanian, Leon III, & “Fly Migrator”: The Song That Took Me Down A Rabbit Hole [Interview/Stream]

Leon III first introduced itself in 2018 with a self-titled debut album. Formed by friends since childhood Mason Brent and Andy Stepanian, the band was born out of the duo’s quarter-century of work in country-rock act Wrinkle Neck Mules. The group’s sound opened up with the psychedelic epic Antlers In Velvet, particularly its opening nine-minute odyssey “Fly Migrator”. Stepanian and Brent sit at the helm of the musical collective, with sidemen who tour with the likes of Kacey MusgravesSilver Jews, and more sliding in and out of the lineup. Something Is Trying To Change My Mind hears Leon III once again working with co-producer Mark Nevers (Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Lambchop, Silver Jews).

Check out “Mannequins” and “Dogwood Blooms”, the opening suite from the upcoming Leon III album Something Is Trying To Change My Mind, available here for pre-order.

Leon III – “Mannequins” / “Dogwood Blooms”

Something Is Trying To Change My Mind Tracklisting: 


Dogwood Blooms

Hello, Heavy Ghost


Navigation Charts

Wolves Further Away

In Media Res (Myths)

View Tracklist

leon iii something is trying to change my mind