Album Review: Cast the Same Old Shadow by Dylan LeBlanc
Acceptable, Based on 8 Critics
PopMatters - 60 Based on rating 6/10
Let’s be blunt. Dylan LeBlanc has a wussy voice. I do not mean that in a sexual way. I mean that it sounds as if he could not blow up a balloon without being winded, or even fill a paper bag with air and pop it. He sings slowly and softly. LeBlanc hushes for emphasis much more than he gets loud ….
Louisiana 22-year-old Dylan LeBlanc's second album picks up where his debut left off, with songs of love and lost innocence marinated in melancholy. The singer-songwriter has a past chequered by opiates and breakdowns both personal and romantic, and pours such experiences into songs that are as beautiful as they are bleak. Peppered with pedal steel, talk of judgment and hushed, mournful pleas to "lead me now to the righteous path", the atmosphere is eerie rather than unsettling – a cross between Chris Isaak's ghostly twang, a plaintive Neil Young, Spiritualized's rapt harmonies and the Wicker Man soundtrack.
On 2010's Paupers Field, then 20-year-old Shreveport, Louisiana native Dylan LeBlanc presented a confident, if slightly laconic, new voice that was based in the tradition of maverick singer/songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, and Gram Parsons. Lush, less timid, and even more melancholy than Paupers Field, 2012's appropriately titled Cast the Same Old Shadow feels like a proper second outing, building on the strengths of its predecessor while maintaining its overall gloomy, gothic Americana vibe. LeBlanc's pained, doomed romanticism, best exemplified by weepy cuts like "Part One: The End," "Where Are You Now," and "Lonesome Waltz," may be the "same old shadow" he's referring to in the title, and it casts an awfully wide net over the proceedings, resulting in an ultra-slow-burn listening experience that falls somewhere between the wretched rain-soaked beauty of Mickey Newbury and the hymn-like sonic expansiveness of Richard Hawley.
“I love it when music puts me in a melancholy mood,” says Dylan LeBlanc in the publicity material for his sophomore album “…and I want to give people that feeling too.” Mission accomplished as these lovely, occasionally bleary but beautifully written and produced songs roll by like wheat fields on a cross country trek. Much of this, especially the intermittent orchestrations, seems heavily influenced by Neil Young’s Buffalo Springfield classic “Expecting to Fly” if it was sung by Richie Furay. The 22 year old’s hushed whisper of a voice dissolves into the somewhat rambling tunes, leaving plenty of doe-eyed, poignant, country/folk in its wake.
Dylan LeBlanc deserves the pressure. The 22-year-old Louisiana singer has earned the high hopes and expectations that have been placed on him. His appearance and performance style (tall, brooding, reticent) bear an uncanny resemblance to Townes Van Zandt. Add in his gloomy country noir and Muscle Shoals-laden musical background, and it all amounts to a throwback act with the potential to thrill Americana fans.
DYLAN LEBLANC plays the Danforth Music Hall on September 26. See listing. Rating: NN Twenty-two-year-old Louisiana songwriter Dylan LeBlanc is a sad-sounding young man. On his sophomore album, he wails about old times, lost love and aging over swelling, gothic guitars and organs.. Despite Trina ….
The Southern United States is known for a few things. Consistently, there are stereotypes of banjos, sweltering heights of humidity, and a deeply rigid Bluegrass Country music history. And unabashedly so, the population of this territory is willing to accept its pedigree, but for some this stereotype is a bit skewed. For the calm and expressive voice that Dylan LeBlanc streams this seems to be the case.
LeBlanc’s second album presents proof positive that break-ups aren’t all bad. Leonie Cooper 2012 Unless you’re fond of wallowing in misfortune, Cast the Same Old Shadow is not to be experienced on the back of a break-up. Poor Dylan LeBlanc, however, can’t help himself. Recorded after he’d been dumped, if it’s not clear from its opener’s title that this second album is awash with heartache, it’s sledgehammered home once the dejected vocals swoop in.