Dylan LeBlanc has announced the release of a new EP called ‘Pastimes‘ which features a set of six covers of songs that have particularly inspired him on his own musical path. Each song has been chosen for its deeply personal impact: JJ Cale’s ‘Sensitive Kind‘ takes LeBlanc back to the smoky dive bars his father would bring him along to as a child. Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going to California‘ brings him back to age 15, playing his first coffee shop gigs and learning the song to impress a girl. Buffalo Springfield’s ‘Expecting to Fly‘ reminds him of teenage joyrides, speeding through the country and listening to music to escape life’s harsh realities. He learned the art of storytelling through songs with the Rolling Stones’ haunting ‘Play With Fire‘ and Bob Dylan’s ‘Blind Willie McTell‘, a track that he compares to reading a Southern Gothic Faulkner novel. And Glen Campbell’s version of John Hartford’s ‘Gentle On My Mind‘ is a song he remembers from his early childhood, when his grandfather, also a guitarist, would throw parties where friends would gather to drink and sing and forget their troubles.
‘Pastimes’ was recorded at Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, with everything done live and with the aim of capturing the authenticity of the performance the aim was to complete the EP through the fewest number of takes possible. You can hear a taster of the EP, the cover of ‘Gentle on My Mind’, right now and the whole EP will be available from 18th June.
Speaking of this song choice Dylan LeBlanc has explained that “I come from a heavy country music background. My father made his living as a writer for the Nashville Machine growing up. My grandfather in the early 70’s in his early thirties was convinced to make payments on a Gibson guitar on consignment at the local music store along with a song book with the scales and chords and hit songs of the era inside with directions on how to play them. He loved this song and it was heavily played around the house and passed and sang at gatherings and parties where everyone was drinking and laughing and feeling no pain as they say. I love the story of this song about a drifter roaming from place untethered to anyone or anything therefore making the moment of missing his muse more pure. I can relate as I have naturally always wanted to roam from place to place and be free. I love this song so much and it holds a nostalgic and wonderful place in my heart.”
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?