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Romantic Rambling: An Interview with Soulful Dylan LeBlanc (YHT)

24 Dec 2012

written by You Hear This

Romantic Rambling: An Interview with Soulful Dylan LeBlanc (YHT)

Romantic Rambling: An Interview with Soulful Dylan LeBlanc

Originally posted on You Hear This

by KA Webb


Singer-songwriter Dylan LeBlanc will perform at Bottletree Café on December 15 with fellow Muscle Shoals band, Belle Adair. LeBlanc recently released his second album, Part One: The End on London’s Rough Trade Records. (Home to great acts like Belle and Sebastian, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, and the Alabama Shakes.) LeBlanc’s first record, Pauper’s Field, featured vocals by Emmylou Harris and led to an international tour with sold out shows in the U.K. Although only 22, the soft-spoken songsmith certainly has soul. His music creates a world of beautiful melancholy. Here, LeBlanc waxes poetic about roots, tunes and muses.

Once, in a Birmingham coffee shop, Matt Green of Belle Adair told a Rhode Island native: “There’s more culture in one square inch of Alabama’s dirt than all of your state.” (Or something like that.) How much of the South is in you, in your work?

Well, it’s everything. The places where we grow up have everything to do with how we’re shaped as human beings. I love the South. It’s home to me. There’s a comfort and quiet here. A kindness. We’re proud but humble people. Hard to say what that feeling does for my work, but the other music that comes out of the South has a lot to do with what I do.

How so?

Man, I’ve got the best musicians in my hometown. I met Matt when I was 15. He and Ben Tanner (Belle Adair and Alabama Shakes) were recording. When I first heard Matt, he was playing that awesome song “Sister,” and I thought, “This is amazing.” I hadn’t heard anything like him. I was just hanging out at the studio everyday, trying to hang out with all the cool kids.

How do you approach the studio now, on your own?

Everything is on a wider scale as far as time and thought go, as opposed to a live show. You’ve got time to experiment with new sounds. You can bring in any instrument to your benefit.  I try not to do anything on my albums that I can’t reproduce live. Mostly, I like to record live. I want to know I can make it happen on stage. I formed a rock and roll band for our live show so it’s up-tempo and rocking. The records are so chill. Live, I want to make it more interesting for people to listen to, and watch, and look at. A spectacle.

Do you feel differently writing songs versus sharing them with musicians or performing live?

If I’m playing a song for a fellow musician, like Matt, I’d be nervous. But as far as being on stage, I feel protected there. On stage, with a band, there’s a barrier from the audience. When I’m by myself, I feel vulnerable. I have high expectations for myself and it’s hard to meet those expectations.

You’ve said you’re tired of being compared to singer-songwriters like Ryan Adams, Neil Young, or Towns Van Zandt.

I felt badly when I said that. You can’t afford to say things like that when you’re creating, or it will stall you. I just don’t let things like [reviews] get into my head or entertain other people’s thoughts about what I do — good or bad. Sometimes, people saying too many good things is bad. Sometimes, people saying too many bad things is good. Makes you want to do better. It’s a double-edged sword in a lot of ways. It doesn’t enter my consciousness unless I’m playing a show, and somebody says, “That was like watching Neil Young and Crazyhorse.” It’s a compliment. I love Neil Young. He’s influenced my music. But you know…

For the rest of the story see You Hear This

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