Dylan LeBlanc at the Troubadour
Photos and words by Matt Stasi
Singer-songwriter and all around guitar sorcerer Dylan LeBlanc brought the rich history of Muscle Shoals to town (along with a highly impressive stack of guitars) on Thursday night and made his mark on the historic Troubadour in West Hollywood. Erin Rae expertly handled supporting duties.
The room rapidly filled with an eclectic group of fans as Rae took the stage. Rock-n- rollers, hipsters, California country folk, industry ‘suit’ types, young lovers, etc. all watched as Rae poured her heart into each of her melancholy tunes. On several occasions she mentions how much of an influence her dad has been to her music. Judging from the way she handled herself on this legendary stage with just a guitar and her sweet voice, he has a lot to smile about.
By the time LeBlanc takes the stage the room has filled with an wide array of enthusiastic fans. There was a buzz about this guy. Kind of a ‘if you know, you know’ type of feel. And in full discretion, going into this I was only vaguely familiar with LeBlanc’s music. But having had comparisons to the great Neil Young, it goes without saying that I was more than a bit intrigued. And dare I say a slight bit skeptical. So when he unassumingly takes the stage in deep shadows, tucks his hair under his brimmed hat, and quietly greets his fans, I was no doubt all ears. And with one note blasted from his Gibson guitar, he wasted no time in shattering any skepticism I may have had. It’s immediately screamingly apparent that LeBlanc is an artist, in every sense of the word. His songs deal with deep personal demons, and he takes great effort to play them from the heart. His voice is conflicted, ethereal. He hits impossibly high notes with the greatest of ease in an almost haunting fashion. Which stands out in stark contrast to the way he pummels out unapologetically gritty notes from his vast array of guitars.
Fists flew high, and young lovers embraced as the well oiled quintet offered up crowd favorites “Damned,” and “Lone Rider.” By the time he offered up a groovy version of the title track to his newest album Renegade (produced by Dave Cobb) the room was fully entranced.
For an encore LeBlanc shares the stage with Erin Rae. Their voices compliment each other beautifully through tunes “Honor Among Thieves” and “The Way It Will Be.” Dylan LeBlanc has plenty of tour dates ahead. I can’t recommend high enough that you find yourself at one. Full list of dates are found here: http://www.dylanleblanc.com/tour