Luke LeBlanc – Only Human
As I relaxed & listened to Luke LeBlanc I became convinced that if he added some clever humor, colorful characters, his already obvious creative songwriting could establish him even more as a potential heir to John Prine. He’s already of that vintage at the ripe old age of 25.
He has the voice, melodies, charm & intensity. “The Way It Goes,” “Same Blues,” & “Too Early Gone,” is proof. These are superb. His songs have a potency few artists possess over an entire album. But some need that extra edgier ingredient to fully develop & pick up the faithful Prine audience. Maybe Luke isn’t interested. The suggestion is merely made because there is an established loyal Prine base that can use someone of Luke LeBlanc’s caliber who can step up into those big Prine shoes. Someone they can appreciate. I’ve already begun to appreciate LeBlanc.
As he is now, Luke (vocals/guitar/harmonica/piano/organ) is firmly in a John Hiatt, John Mellencamp, Joe Henry arena though his voice is closer in tradition to Prine. That’s not to be taken lightly. LeBlanc has the goods. Every song has melody, nurtured lyrics, vivid storytelling & Luke is consistent.
The Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter will release his third full-CD Only Human, (July 9 – 145 Entertainment) – recorded in Cleveland by producer Erik Koskinen (electric guitar/bass/pedal steel). Along with John Cleve Richardson (piano/organ/bass/vocals), Kerri Joy (violin/vocals), & Erin Bekkers (drums).
The 10 mature musical vignettes are well-written, performed & presented. The poignancy comes on “Only Human,” & it all manages to avoid cliches & silliness. He maintains an entertaining & solid repertoire of music that touches on many subjects, topics, & situations. In “Good Times Gone,” he talks to the listener as if they were alone with him.
There’s little heavy handiness in the tunes. No one tries to solo in a burst of flames. Everything fits like a puzzle & the puzzle creates beautiful images. “Oh, My Lordy,” finds Luke using a deeper tonality in his voice & glides into a more country-spiritual vein that stays within the bounds of creating a short story. Backing vocals by the ladies add soul & inspiration. Maybe a little more soaring backup gospel vocals toward the end would bring the tune to a rousing finale. The song has vitality.
“Nothing To Lose,” concludes the CD with its Townes van Zandt-John Prine-Steve Goodman ghosts hovering by. Luke LeBlanc is in good company. I’m sure these artists would welcome him with his guitar to their campfire. I would.
The 33-minute CD will be available @ Amazon. https://lukeleblanc.com/