Country musician returns to Strasburg, opens retail shop

By Katie Demeria

STRASBURG — Danni Leigh has lived a collective 15 years in Nashville, Tennessee, and nearly five years in various European countries. But the honky-tonk singer has finally come home.

It was the birth of her son, Hudson McKenzie, who is now 4, that brought her back. She pointed out that it is difficult to raise a son when both she and her husband were in the music industry, so she wanted to come back to the place where she was raised and be around family.

But Leigh is not just bringing her son and husband, Mike McKenzie, to town — she has also started a business.

Iron Rose, a clothes shop, had a quiet opening in the middle of August, but Leigh is planning a grand opening event on Oct. 4 with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m.

The store, located at 179 East King St., features fair trade clothing purchased from all over the world, including countries like Nepal and India, as well as vintage western items.

Leigh got the idea to open the business from another store in Nashville called Scarlett Begonia that purchased fair trade clothing in a way Leigh admired.

“It’s paying the artist directly, exactly what they want for the merchandise, and then putting it on the rack,” she said. “So I’m able to keep my prices down. I’ve gotten some compliments on the prices already.”

“And I’m a creative person myself, so I like to be able to know that an artist is getting paid what they feel their product is worth, knowing that they can walk away from that feeling good and no one else making a lot more money off of it,” she said.

But she has also stayed true to her country background through her vintage western items.

“I don’t think the new western clothing is as tasteful as the old stuff, so I like buying the vintage because it’s well-made, a lot of time it’s made in the U.S., and the older stuff just has a lot more class and quality,” she said.

Leigh also has been seeking a retailer of Mexican-made cowboy boots, which she prefers, as well.

“I’m picky, so the stuff has to look good, and be of nice quality,” she said.

Happy to be back in Strasburg not only for the family ties, Leigh said she thinks the town is becoming reinvigorated, and she wants to be part of that. She also has a beautiful view of the mountains through her shop window, she added, which she loves.

“When I was thinking about opening this store, I knew I wanted to be on King Street because I wanted to be part of this revitalization and this vibrant thing that seems to be happening. I wanted to throw my hat in that, too,” she said.

Being home and no longer traveling too much will also give her the opportunity to create more music.

Leigh plans to record another honky-tonk album soon, which she said many fans will likely be excited about as they have been “frustrated” by the amount of time between albums.

But she will also take a step toward the Americana genre with an acoustic album she will record with her husband. Mike McKenzie works with friend Clay Arthur at Frets ‘n Friends, a guitar shop in Strasburg.

“It’s nice to introduce people to things — just like the clothing,” she said. “It’s been cool. I didn’t know how it would go, but the community has been really supportive.”

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com