Louisiana native Dylan LeBlanc grew up surrounded by some of his area’s finest musicians–among them was his father, James LeBlanc, who was a longtime Muscle Shoals session player. Even considering his pedigree and the fertile musical soil he was raised upon, Dylan got an early start, writing his own songs by eleven, performing them by fifteen, and signed by U.K. label Rough Trade by nineteen. But coming up fast has its traps, and LeBlanc’s latest album, Cautionary Tale, is about exactly that.
From early on LeBlanc was described as “the new Neil Young,” and its an understandable comparison–the first guitar lick on his new album brings immediate thoughts of Harvest. However, the expectations that come with comparisons to a juggernaut like Neil Young would surely take its toll on any burgeoning musician, especially one as young as LeBlanc. Furthermore, the Louisiana native is clearly his own artist despite the occasional Neil Young-y sounding moments. LeBlanc never travels into the abrasively weird territories that Young frequented, and Dylan’s voice and delivery is much softer than the Canadian’s pained tenor. If there’s anyone to compare his voice to it’d be his label mate, Jim James, of My Morning Jacket–but that comparison falls short as well. LeBlanc has been haunted by overwhelming expectations from a young age, but Cautionary Tale is clear evidence that he is rockin’ his own path in the free world.