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. There is a tradition present but also a unique and poised stance in regards to the direction and emotive outlet he is presenting. Take the fluidity of Jeremy Enigk, the ballad style and sleek slide guitar characteristics of the New Frontiers and the lyrical posture of a more melancholy but self-aware artist, and you have Dylan LeBlanc’s Cast The Same Old Shadow, which was released on August 21st via Rough Trade Records. The Alabama native and Louisiana resident self-proclaims this album as being honest, but also somewhat of a narrative such as depicted on, “Part One: The End” where he describes and depicts the “so-called” theme music to a dream he had. The auditory and visual aspects of this track seemingly allude to the musical substance rather than the lyrical concepts, which is a refreshingly new, but undervalued skill in this day and age.
Stylistically, a more mezzo forte approach is taken with this record, but not to be confused with “laissez faire”. Notice on “Where are you now” the kind of careful, almost Deer Tick-esque type of slow country ballad that is apparent but as soon as his voice enters he dispels any kind of “poppy” country lull that the listener might expect the song to whirr into. The fidgeting yet rigid rhythm section readily compliments the flowing guitar ensemble yielding the forefront of the song structure, which is clearly the adaptable and nurturing voice of Mr. Leblanc. A Fleet Foxes and almost Iron Wine turn is taken as the finger picking and frail vocals take canter stage on tracks such as, “The Ties That Bind” and the title track, “Cast the Same Old Shadow”.
The soft and colorful qualities of this album make it a palpable contestant for the sufficient folk pop crown of 2012. His Alabama roots interweave with his ardent display for southern country and melancholy ballad style gracefully. The whole release creates an atmosphere of addicting hooks laden with morose overtones casting a tall, thin shadow on the music scene. It’s a soulful country stroll, which favors heavily on career building and that is something that Dylan Leblanc is sure doing, and quite swimmingly if I might add. Bravo.