DYLAN LEBLANC – Renegade (ATO Records)

RenegadeDylan LeBlanc’s fourth album, Renegade, was released on June 7th – and it’s rather good.

LeBlanc’s publicity gives details of a pretty impressive back story – his first two albums included: acclaim as “the new Neil Young”; Emmylou Harris guesting on his first album; touring/ opening for Lucinda Williams and Laura Marling amongst others. All of which came early in life and led to “a blur of booze and self-doubt. Exhausted and damaged at just 23-years-old, Dylan came home to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to write a new life for himself”.

Renegade was recorded in Nashville. This is all a pretty rock’n’roll background. What makes this a better than average rock’n’roll tale is that the “blur of booze and self-doubt” doesn’t finish the tale but has led to a new discipline. The new album is just as worthy of the high praise as the early albums.

Renegade opens with the title track and you’re drawn instantly into LeBlanc’s world of great melodies supported by a rocking band – the signature highlights being Leblanc’s captivating higher range vocal and a slightly fuzzy lead guitar (hence the Neil Young references). ‘Born Again’ and ‘Bang Bang Bang’ keep you in this musical world and lead you into ‘Domino’ which is gentler, a picked acoustic guitar and LeBlanc’s vocal taking the lead above a quieter mix for the band.

‘I See It In Your Eyes’ and ‘Damned’ return to the rockier style of the initial tracks before the album closes with another four more acoustic songs.

Have a listen to the song ‘Renegade’ in the YouTube link below and you’ll get a good feel for the album. Gentler than the Neil Young tag that LeBlanc has been given and a guitar lead that’s not-quite-scuzzy, but it’s a damned good track.

The album is less than 40 minutes long but it keeps you listening all through and it’s got that kind of feel which is simultaneously both loud and intimate that I’d imagine works just as well on big stadium stages and in smaller clubs.

LeBlanc is touring in the USA and Europe for the next three months, including four gigs in the UK (London, Leeds, Manchester and Guildford) in the first week of September.

Mike Wistow

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Artist’s website: http://www.dylanleblanc.com

‘Renegade’ – live: