Itʼs sophomore time for this young, country tinged songsmith from Alabama. It was with relish that I approached listening to this, the follow up to 2010ʼs Paupers Field. In itself his debut was pretty marvellous and I could only hope that a LeBlanc with a few more road miles under his feet could deliver a bit more of the substance and weight that his Muscle Shoals/ Fame Studios background promised.
Job done. Cast the Same Old Shadow glides and sways with an effortless beauty and grace that sees him well on the way to standing shoulder to shoulder with his peers and influences from that great heritage.
Opener Part One: The End eases us into proceedings with gorgeous intent. Pedal steel, shimmering guitars and dreamy vocals drift and play with cinematic strings and a lazy shuffling beat. Itʼs a great indicator of things to come and youʼre not disappointed. The song Brother finds LeBlanc’s delicate fingerpicking and fragile voice playing a kind of musical tag with dirty guitars and Fleet Foxes-type big vocal breakdowns. Sublime and fucking stunning.
This genre of music doesnʼt necessarily need to offer anything new or left field. What it should have is a bit of validity and plenty of heart. This is what we find on songs like Where Are You Now and Comfort Me. Thereʼs none of the hubris and affected swagger so often found in this well furrowed musical field. In Dylan LeBlanc we find a man, if not at the peak of his craft, then at least in control of it and most definitely heading in the right direction.
Bravo sir, bloody bravo.