Luke LeBlanc

REVIEW: Luke LeBlanc “Fugue State”


Luke LeBlanc – Fugue State

This is Minneapolis’ Luke LeBlanc’s 4th studio LP. Another socially conscious effort aimed at the current divisiveness — both culturally & politically with detours into matters of the heart, love, loss, coping & anything else that can draw more on melancholy than laughter from a genre that should be moderately entertaining.

LeBlanc (vocals/acoustic & electric guitars) himself is a capable singer-songwriter with a slight J.J. Cale predilection. The musicians play well consistently but where’s the joy in this recipe? LeBlanc’s saving grace is his lo-key rootsy vocal that’s a pleasure to stack alongside your Cale, Dr. John CDs. He’s a comfortable fit if only he could write something to break the cultural tensions – something John Stewart, Mickey Newberry, John Loudermilk, Chip Taylor, John Prine, or even Randy Newman would offer – humor, even if it’s dark humor.

There are good tunes on the 40-minute Fugue State (Drops Oct 28–145 Entertainment) produced by Erik Koskinen (acoustic/electric guitars/bass/banjo/keys). Just don’t expect the ingenious tales of Richard Thompson, the intensity of Joni Mitchell, or the heartland rock of John Fogerty.

It doesn’t mean this is a washout. There are indeed interesting forays into masterful melodies & performances (“Anymore”). So, despite LeBlanc’s concerns he musically makes legit packaging of his melodies. Admittedly, LeBlanc says the tunes “…take a step back before looking for hope or solutions.”

However, the CD would’ve been more potent if it offered a degree of moving forward & not being preoccupied with melancholy (“Down Low”) as something we need to hear though we experience it daily. Maybe a song like “Down Low,” should have a counterpart at the coda of the CD as “Down But Not Out.” Bring it full circle. That would be daring & creative. Woody Guthrie didn’t write “This Land’s Not Their Land,” he wrote, “This Land Is Your Land.” The negative implication is presented in a positive manner.

Luke LeBlanc

The instrumentation isn’t loaded with distracting fiery solos but does have finesse & is distinctive. “Walking Days,” & “When I Walk With You,” are both delightful. This is Prine-oriented richness & with nice rural tones. Both are the best in this collection without a doubt. Poignant & with some appeasing Casey Frensz saxophone. Good stuff.

I found 7 out of 11 songs of interest. That’s a good ratio. There’s a dark tone that the PR admits – so don’t expect an upbeat handclapping record. Luke’s forte is to bring some serious topics to a listener’s attention. Whether that can sustain interest over 11 songs remains to be seen.

Highlights – “Take Your Mind Off It,” “Slide On Over,” “Anymore,” “Walking Days,” “When I Walk With You,” (nice sax), “Long Way To Go,” & “Now.”

Musicians – Ryan Young (violin), Eric Heywood (pedal steel), John Cleve Richardson (piano/organ/clavinet/vocals) & Erin Bekkers (drums).

Color photo courtesy of Luke’s FaceBook. CD @

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