Steve Walsh began to experience writer's block prior to the recording, and his contribution to the album would ultimately be limited to co-authoring three songs. It fell on Kerry Livgren to fill the void. The new compositions retained much of the classically inspired complexity of Livgren's previous work. Kansas recorded the album at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The Studio in the Country was so named because, as Kerry Livgren described on In the Studio with Redbeard in the episode spotlighting Leftoverture that "It was in the middle of a swamp. We'd walk out of the studio and there would be gators in front of the studio, mosquitos the size of B-52s and at times armadillos would run into the control room, laughing."
Leftoverture begins with the hit single "Carry On Wayward Son". Kerry Livgren wrote the song as a sequel to the final song, "The Pinnacle", from the previous album, Masque.
The album was met with mixed reviews. Rolling Stone called Leftoverture Kansas's best album to date, and said that it "warrants Kansas a spot right alongside Boston and Styx as one of the fresh new American bands who combine hard-driving group instrumentation (with a dearth of flashy solos) with short, tight melody lines and pleasant singing." In contrast, Robert Christgau said the album lacked the intelligence and conviction of European progressive rock, and that the self-deprecating humor implied in the song and album titles is completely absent from the record itself.
The album is the band's largest seller of all time domestically, with 5 million in U.S. sales.