Jeff LeBlanc’s ‘Vision’ Is the Story of a Matured Songwriter

jeff1Independent singer/songwriter Jeff LeBlanc has matured into a new chapter, pushing his musical limits with his latest effort, Vision. The 7-track album is concise and effective sucking you into the heart of LeBlanc’s story.

The 29 year-old Long Island native is no stranger to success after being named The Sirius XM Singer/Songwriter Discovery of the Year. Likewise, LeBlanc earned a spot on the iTunes Top 200 Singer/Songwriter Charts and received praise from MTV, Pulse Magazine and countless media outlets across New England.

After launching a successful Kickstarter campaign, LeBlanc surpassed his $12,000 goal which led him to Nashville’s Sound Emporium. This was a defining moment for LeBlanc – to record in the same studio as artists like Jack ClementJohnny CashWillie NelsonTaylor Swift and Kenny Chesney.

“I do a lot of heavy lifting on acoustic guitar and play about half of the electric guitar on the record,” said LeBlanc. “I had a clear picture of the album’s landscape,” but LeBlanc couldn’t have done it without a talented group of musicians. Some of Nashville’s best helped bring LeBlanc’ vision to light including, Tony Lucido (bass), Jeremy Lutito (drums, programing), Ken Lewis (percussion), Mike Payne (electric guitar) and Stephen Gause. LeBlanc also had the pleasure to work with Matt Stanfield (keys), Liz Longley (vocals) and Paul Nelson on cello

The opening track “Lost Tonight” begins with LeBlanc’s confident picking and a heavy quarter-note pulse from the bass drum which builds naturally into the rest of the album. “I front loaded the album with three upbeat songs,” said LeBlanc, which draws you in effortlessly.

“Stumbled”, the album’s second track is full of creativity and musicality. The lighthearted groove sits back in the pocket and is fused with drum loops and post production that makes you sway. “This track wouldn’t be the same without the programing, 1980’s drum machine and Lutito playing over it,” said LeBlanc. “There’s purposely a lot of push and pull with ‘Stumbled’ and the overall album,” added LeBlanc.

“Occupy” is like taking deep breaths. LeBlanc’s energy is redirected into the melodic guitar backing, organs and sentimental vocals that open the door into the soul of a evolved musician. Other tracks like “Love is Gone” and “Always You” are no different in their approach to captivate the listener.

“I spent a lot of time listening to the album while driving around in the car,” said LeBlanc. “I wanted there to be a story.” Evident in “Almost You,”  the feeling of driving down the open road becomes synonymous with love, heartbreak and solitude. The upbeat groove keeps driving like the wheels of a car while LeBlanc recounts “Gotta drive til’ I can’t drive no more / And I’m standing here outside your door / Holding one last chance that you’ll be there alone.”

Despite the album’s length, LeBlanc does not leave his story unfinished. The closing track “Why Do I Worry” features a clear acoustic guitar and piano that fills your body and mind. There’s a evident motion in the chorus as LeBlanc sings to himself “Why do I worry, Why do I care…I got to let go.”

“Right now I am really into piano and ‘Why Do I Worry” is kind of upbeat, yet very emotional,” said LeBlanc. “It’s weird how you can create emotion through an instrument and Matt Stanfield did exactly that on the piano.

Overall the response of the album has been strong. LeBlanc has touring plans in the works and has lots of things in limbo with Sirius XM. “Fans are connecting on a deeper level, which is what I was going for,” said LeBlanc. “I am trying to embrace the way things are changing in the music industry” added LeBlanc.

This album holds a special place in the heart of LeBlanc’s fans. Recently, LeBlanc performed two private events for families that funded a large part of the Kickstarter. “It was a super cool experience because these people have really invested a  lot of time and energy into your music – they are here for you,” said LeBlanc.
Read More – Published on Live For Live Music : http://liveforlivemusic.com/album-reviews/jeff-leblancs-vision-the-story-of-a-matured-songwriter/#ixzz3duQ1HRmE

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Jeff LeBlanc marks a new chapter with ‘Vision’

jeff1– Also Published In The Fairfield Mirror –

New York native Jeff LeBlanc is on tour with his highly anticipated album “Vision,” which will be released on May 12. LeBlanc is a likable, down-to-earth musician who has honed the art of songwriting. The Sirius XM “Singer/Songwriter Discovery of the Year” nominee broke the Top 10 of the iTunes Top 200 Singer/Songwriter Chart – twice. His latest, “My Own Way There” (2013), “is like driving with the top down.” “With Jeff at the wheel, he takes you on a winding road through a varied landscape of songs and stories,” stated MTV. Its predecessor, “Worth Holding On To,” (2011) climbed to number three on the iTunes chart and both albums began rotation on Sirius XM’s The Coffee House. Now in the spotlight, the Sacred Heart 2008 alumnus began touring with Gavin DeGraw, Chris Isaak, Ingrid Michaelson, Luke Bryan, Lifehouse and David Archuleta. As a self-managed artist, LeBlanc has made great strides since his 2009 debut “Signals” EP. LeBlanc’s music has appeared on MTV series like “Jersey Shore,” “Teen Mom,” “The Real World” and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”

The 29 year-old will be headed to Fairfield Theatre Company on Friday, May 1 as part of his album release party – which also includes a stop at Joe’s Pub (New York City) on April 26 and at Club Passim (Cambridge, Mass.) on May 6 . LeBlanc is a regular at StageOne and no stranger to Fairfield’s campus – including his appearance on WVOF last month, where LeBlanc played a track off the new record.

Since then LeBlanc has released a single off of the album “Stumbled,” which is available for those who pre-order “Vision.” The single recounts the blunders of dating and heartbreak, but is contrasted by LeBlanc’s upbeat groove and catch hook: “I can’t believe it, how quick you broke my heart in two / I can’t believe it how I stumbled over you.”

“Vision” was tracked at Nashville’s Sound Emporium, which has seen artists from Jack Clement and Johnny Cash to Willie Nelson, Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney. In his artist bio, LeBlanc wrote “Listening to this album feels like catching up with an old friend over a cup of coffee” – a mixture of maturity, intimacy and familiarity. “I was listening to a lot of pop music,” said LeBlanc. “I saw Justin Timberlake live and listened to bands like Michael Jackson which began to influence this record. I started playing simple songs, like ‘Stumbled’ which is only two chords, over drum loops and programming.” All of this translated into a simplistic and relatable song-form. 

Based on LeBlanc’s track record, “Vision” marks a new chapter for both the emerging artist and his fans alike. On this brink, what makes LeBlanc’s records so addictive? It has been narrowed down – a humble feeling and energy behind each hook that captivates and rejuvenates in the ears of the listener; so roll-down those windows and tune in to the “vision” ahead.

‘Here Come The Girls’ by The London Souls

tls  Also Published with Live For Live Music: READ HERE –

The secret is out – New York trio The London Souls released their latest effort Here Come the Girls on Tuesday, April 7 on Feel Records. The Rock and Roll outfit draws upon British influences of Cream and Led Zeppelin, combined with funk, soul, lyrical hooks and rocking instrumental breaks – the new album serves up 13 reasons to jump on the Souls’ bandwagon. The London Souls are a fusion of past and present, mixing The Beatles and The Hollies with the psychedelia of contemporaries like My Morning Jacket.

Together Tash Neal, guitar and vocals, Chris St. Hilaire, drums and vocals, and Stu Mahan, bass, are The London Souls. Since 2008, the trio has redefined Rock and Roll, praised by music critic Maura Johnston as “amazingly tight… swampy rock music that should make any lazy rock radio programmer rethink the word ‘grunge’…an absolute must-see.”

Although the album trumps Johnston’s words, it fails to capture their energetic live performances. The Souls have appeared at Austin’s SXSW, Telluride Blues, Brooklyn’s Afro-Punk Festival, moe.down, and held the opening spot for Rolling Stone editor Austin Scaggs’ PETTY FEST at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom. The group just finished their stint with Virginia based Americana band Sons of Bill and have shared the stage with The Roots, Janelle Monae, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, The Cool Kids, Soulive, Big Boi, Shooter Jennings and Steel Train.

 

The opening track “When I’m With You” is melodic and lyric driven, with loud fills around the toms and a driving chorus reminiscent of an energetic, hard-rock Beatles tune. “Steady,” the second song, sits back in the pocket – Hilare clearly taking notice to John Bonham’s precision on “Kashmir.” Not only do The London Souls sound the part, but they look it too. As we delve deeper into the album we discover new interpretations paired seamlessly with musical innovation and feeling. It is clear where The London Souls came from and, with striking confidence, Here Come the Girls sets a new tempo for the up-and-coming Rock duo.

But The London Souls reveal a soft side – “Hercules” and  “Isabell” are soothing, from Neal’s fingerstyle guitar to the hypnotising lyrics. It is all about peaks and valleys – keeping us guessing if the songs will coax us into a deep sleep or startle with pronounced electric guitar riffs. Other tracks like “How Can I Get Through” are upbeat and frantic while “Bobby James” becomes soulful and relaxed. What can’t The London Souls do? Lyric hooks, smooth harmonies and syncopated rhythms fuse with the shuffle on drums and stride piano that is “Bobby James.” Latter tracks like “Run Zombie Run” are spooky – a mix of dissonant chords, slide guitar and almost-falsetto voice – now, cue the abrupt double-time doo-wop frenzy.

This is a band that has found their sound and knows how to flaunt it. Listen to “Here Come the Girls” HERE!


 Also Published with Live For Live Music: READ HERE –

Related: Show Review: The London Souls Show No Sign of Slowing Down With Album Release Party by Sara Furer

Pat McGee hosts album release show at StageOne

pat_vinyl_coverPat McGee is a passionate singer/songwriter that is able to bring his music full circle with simple melodies and sentimental lyrics that tug on the heartstrings with wholesome rock energy.  With nearly two decades of recording and touring large festivals and universities as a college band, McGee remains humble and dedicated to his craft. McGee will return to Fairfield Theatre Company’s StageOne for the official CD release party of his new album on Saturday, March 21 at 7:00 p.m. 

McGee’s tenth self-titled album arches over country, rock and bluegrass genres and incorporates “the sounds I grew up listening to,” said McGee. The 13-track record will be available at StageOne, although the record will not officially be released until the following week. Pre-order vinyl will also be available at the performance, paying tribute to the excitement McGee had when he first discovered vinyl and ran off to the record store. 

“When I was in high school, classic rock was what you listened to. Everything really started with James Taylor, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Eagles and late 70’s music,” said McGee. “I am the youngest in the family and my brother played guitar. I am thankful that they turned me onto this stuff,” added McGee.

McGee album utilizes the folk instruments and sounds he adored as a child from acoustic guitar and mandolin to fiddle and bazouki. McGees’ self-produced album features Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, Waddy Wachtel, Danny Kortchmar, Jeff Pevar and guests: Little Feat’s Paul Barrere, Blues Traveler’s John Popper, Pat Monahan and Punchbrother’s Gabe Witcher, just to name a few.

The opening track, “Bad Idea,” is the perfect fix for any country die-hard with driving blues electric guitar, solid drums and the right amount of twang on Pevar and Wachtel’s guitar solos. Lyrically, McGee sings about “a person who is their own worst enemy…or might be in a situation that they can’t seem to get out of,” wrote McGee.

Goosebumps take form as “Overboard” swells into a gritty ballad featuring Pat Monahan, better know as the lead singer of Train. A gigantic shimmer resonates over the band every time the drummer hits the sizzle-cymbal behind his ‘59 ludwig. The band soars while McGee and Monahan sing “Take my hand, take my hand,” a sentimental autobiography about going overboard for the ones you love. 

Latter songs such as “Kite String” stray away from the albums midsection ballads and lovebird sentiment of “Caroline” and “When Did Everything Go Wrong” and delve into Americana-funk fusion.

The albums eleventh track, “Rhode Island” is beautiful with rock ‘n’ roll force. McGee sings of a fictional character, Quinn, who mirrors McGees’ longing of home, especially after decades on the road.

The Virginia native released his debut self-produced album, “From the Wood,” in 1997 which remains a true testament to McGee’s down to earth vocals and relatable lyrics. Songs such as “Rebecca” and “Haven’t Seen For A While” remain crowd favorites. 

After McGee signed with Warner Brothers, “Shine” was born in 2000 featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Jerry Harrison of The Talking Heads and former guitarist of The Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule’s front man Warren Haynes.

In 2004 McGee released “Save Me,” which melds McGee’s catchy lyrics with an alternative edge. The record features memorable tracks such as the hit single, “Beautiful Ways.” “Don’t Give Up” was also featured as the Olympic theme song for NBC. McGee would continue to produce top-shelf live and studio albums including, “These Days” (2007), who pays tribute Chris, the bands drummer, who passed suddenly. 

“No Wrong Way To Make It Right” (2011) blends McGees ‘heaviest and most delicate moments’ with the music McGee grew up listening to. “Juliet” is a song on the 2011 album about McGees’ strong daughter. Although she was 5 at the time, the song was written from the future mindset of a lovestruck 15-year-old attempting to sweep McGees’ little girl off her feet.

Guster’s ‘Evermotion’ redefines sonic sound

'Evermotion' was released   Jan. 6, 2015
‘Evermotion’ was released Jan. 6, 2015

Guster’s seventh studio album, “Evermotion,” is the result of unexpected perfection, hearty percussion and ambient keyboard textures that redefine sonic sound.

The album’s first single, “Simple Machine,” sweeps listeners into a dancing frenzy, opening with a pop-throwback drum beat and moving synthesiser leads, reminiscent of a 1980’s rave. It’s hard not to find yourself screaming the catchy lyrics, “I’ll never find my way back / I’ll never find my way back home” at the top of your lungs.

“Simple Machine” is exactly what I want to hear while my hands wave frantically in the air, on the verge of a break-out dance party. It features a driving blend of drums, keys and conga textures, which TIME Magazine has dubbed as “Frantic beats and crawling synthesisers.”

Soothing xylophones chime on tracks such as “Long Night,” with ambient guitars weeping in the background. The raw, profound drum mix brings me back to my high-school garage-band days. It’s an organic and simplistic approach that gives “Long Night” it honest sound. The band takes their time adding each instrument in layers, including steady shakers and fluid bass lines, underneath the motif of shimmering chimes.

Gusters’ minimalistic approach when it comes recording and editing transcends the studio. In result, a medley, texture and gigantic body of sound gives you an overwhelming presence; as if you were standing dead-center in their rehearsal space.

Tunes like “Doing It By Myself” reveal Guster’s alter-ego, a halftime island vibe with shimmering steel drums, as well as “Lazy Love,” an infectious symphony of vocal harmonies in an airy breath that reverberates throughout the track’s entirety.

“Never Coming Down” is another track that sets Guster apart from the rest. A straight ahead drum and tom-tom groove give hints of Latin origin with layered vocals and percussive ostinatos. The guitars, vocals and ambient effects float around the rooted rhythm section allowing the music to sway from ear to ear as the band seamlessly transitions the melody into a harmonious whistle.

“Evermotion” is a special album because it is established as a piece of art, not just a set of music and lyric.

After the band sought out The Black Keys’ bassist, Richard Swift, there was an instant harmony. On the bands website, Guster’s bio quotes Swift as being the type of artist “that’s always standing back and taking in the whole canvas.”

Guster’s Ryan Miller had told Swift that the last two records both took a year to make, but laughed as Swift replied by stating that he had never spent more than nine days on an album (Guster.com).

During Guster’s three week retreat at Swift’s studio in Oregon the obsession and repetition of recording music was washed away by humble dedicated musicians who have unknowingly crossed over into a world of artistry.

With each stroke, the album takes on a different form and has projected the band into a new realm of sound.

Guster’s guitarist, Adam Gardner, attests to the album’s uncharted audio genius. “We had just one microphone over the drum kit, used whole takes and didn’t obsess over vocals or really editing things at all,” Gardner was quoted on Guster.com.

Both perfection and imperfection elevate the organic bliss of “Evermotion,” an album that can only be understood listening from start to finish. Study each note, lyric and rhythmic texture as if it were painted on a blank canvas, then step back and embrace its every detail. This is an audial experience you don’t want to miss.

Also Published @  L4LM.COM: Read Here