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South Fayette grad's love of music shines

| Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, 5:45 p.m.
Joe Leytrick graduated from South Fayette High School in 2013 and was involved in school musicals, chorus and “Vocal Express” Show Choir.
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Joe Leytrick graduated from South Fayette High School in 2013 and was involved in school musicals, chorus and “Vocal Express” Show Choir.

Joe Leytrick graduated from South Fayette High School in 2013 and was involved in school musicals, chorus and Vocal Express Show Choir.

He pursued a degree in finance at West Virginia University and embarked on his professional career when he received an internship with a large, prestigious company.

But his lifetime love of music — singing and playing the guitar — remained in the back of his mind. After a few weeks into his executive position, he knew he wanted to explore his musical options.

Leytrick resigned.

“I wanted to write my own music, but I did not want to be just another Joe with a guitar,” Leytrick said. Thus, he decided to embrace himself as the “businessman” and he began to write about life, choosing to perform as HANK the businessman.

HANK has performed this year at venues such as Riley's Pour House in Carnegie, South Paw in Pittsburgh's South Side, James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy in Pittsburgh's North Side, and others. He writes all his own songs.

He released a six-track EP in January, which was called “Grate A.”

At the end of July, he released another six-track EP titled “CALL Leagues,” produced by Dan Suriano, another 2013 South Fayette graduate. “CALL Leagues” features fellow collaborators Suriano on production, Samantha Baldwin on vocals, Matt Fazakes on guitar and Mike Erenberg and 2014 SFHS graduate Ed Terrell on drums.

Leytrick, Terrell and Suriano also collaborate as the band A Friendly Gesture.

The three have been friends since middle school, when Leytrick and Suriano formed their first band. A Friendly Gesture released its first full-length album, “Slug Stampede,” in the summer of 2016.

Leytrick is thinking of an eventual move to Los Angeles. For now, he's devoting his energies toward performing locally and working on releasing another project by the end of December.

His music can be found online at facebook.com/gratehank or youtube.com/hankthebusinessman.

Charlotte Smith is a Tribune-Review contributing writer. Reach her at 724-693-9441 or charlotte59@comcast.net.

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