Dylan LeBlanc “Pastimes”

ATO Records, 2021

Short collection of songs that mean something to Dylan LeBlanc – includes the “other Dylan”

It has been a feature of the last year and a half that many musicians have released EPs and albums of cover versions of favourite songs. Dylan LeBlancs was recorded at Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, live and with as few takes as possible in order to capture the immediacy of the experience and a truly authentic enthusiasm for the music. For those who have been following Dylan LeBlanc’s music should find no real surprises here – a Rolling Stones cover, a touch of the softer side of Led Zeppelin and a superb Neil Young song from the Buffalo Springfield days. For an artist who routinely attracts “Laurel Canyon” comparisons this is an admired back catalogue that is totally in keeping with expectations.  It’s a nod to heroes that benefits from a full band accompaniment, these are not weedy acoustic only renditions but in places are fully orchestrated epic renditions – such as ‘Play with Fire‘ which shimmers with the appropriate menace, particularly in LeBlanc’s vocal.

Expecting to Fly‘ pulls all the ache out of the song, it’s a very faithful version but works well nonetheless with Dylan LeBlanc’s vocal similar to but different enough to Neil Young’s to make the result worthwhile.  And that’s a very similar situation with JJ Cale’s ‘Sensitive Kind.‘  ‘Gentle on my Mind‘ takes on a different feel to the Glen Campbell version that inspired it because of LeBlanc’s abbreviated vocal extension – he isn’t mumbling, but it’s a very different vocal range to Campbell.  ‘Blind Willie McTell‘ extolls the live nature of the project, with a count in preserved at the start of the song.  It’s a great choice from Dylan’s song catalogue, and offers a chance to hear the song without the usual piano accompaniment and Bob Dylan’s harsher growl of a vocal.  The EP closer, ‘Going to California‘ draws the spaced out vibe of the song, making it last a full minute longer than the Golden God’s recording.  It’s a song that can do nothing put pull in those Laurel Canyon comparisons yet again.

If you like Dylan LeBlanc then you’ll want to hear these versions of songs that mean something to him, and they’re versions you’ll want to hear more than once because what is reinforced most strongly is that these are superb songs that shouldn’t just linger away in those past times. Moderately recommended, overall.


About Jonathan Aird 2753 Articles
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?
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