Dylan LeBlanc – Pauper’s Field

Dylan LeBlanc - Pauper's Field

Raised in the famous Alabama Muscle Shoals, Dylan LeBlanc spent his childhood days immersed in the music he heard via his dad, a sideman at the studio. Now he splits his time and musical energy between Nashville and Shreveport. His music reflects these folk and country influences (Nashville’s Spooner Oldham being another clear influence) in full force, most if not all of the songs supported by a distinctive deep-south country guitar twang. Generally speaking, Pauper’s Field is an album that’s easy to listen to, but there are times when he seems less influenced-by and more derivative-of older country musicians.

When you listen to Dylan LeBlanc, and even if you only hear twenty seconds of one track, there’s one very obvious part of his style definitely worth noting: his voice is gorgeous. Pauper’s Field is a strong collection of contemplative, heartfelt songs in its own right, but his singing, similar to Ryan Adam’s, is the focal point that ties everything together. Higher registers, such as in “5th Avenue Bar,” are hit without trouble well all the while he retains the recognizable rough croon of country-folk. Emmylou Harris even signs backup with LeBlanc on “If The Creek Don’t Rise,” which is definitely one of the album’s gems.

From track to track you’re confronted with a world-weary edge, an element in both his lyrics and the essence of his songs that implies he’s much of humanity’s darker side. It’s then interesting to, after a couple of listens, reconcile these at-times melancholic tracks in Pauper’s Field with the fact that LeBlanc isn’t legal to drink yet, that he’s, as of now, only twenty. Despite these at-times darker subject matters (“Death Of Outlaw Billy John”), his music isn’t shocking or dissonant, and there are even moments when the sound mellows out to a softer, understated sound.

While the lyrics aren’t always the most creative, and some songs occasionally sound more derivative than original, the album as a whole is a listenable and even enjoyable collection of contemplative melancholy, imbued with the “rough times” sound of older folk music.