Dylan LeBlanc’s “Paupers Field”

“It is an alt-country album that can easily get lost in the mix.” -MH

Michael Hall
Dylan LeBlanc Paupers Field

out of 10

Dylan Leblanc
Pauper’s Field
August 23. 2010
Rough Trade Records

Pauper – 1. A very Poor Person
2. A recipient of government relief or charity

Based on the definition, it would seem that a pauper might have a sad story to tell. If you listen to Dylan LeBlanc’s debut LP, Paupers Field , you will hear plenty of those sad stories.

It is a soft and serene album that, for the most part, is stomp-on-your heart sad. From the first track, “Low,” to its last, “No Kind of Forgiveness,” LeBlanc weaves emotional country tales of heartache, outlaws and drinking that are drenched in the woeful sounds of the pedal steel guitar.

Songs like “If the Creek Don’t Rise” seem to fear impending bad things. LeBlanc sings, with some help from Emmylou Harris:

“ love is like water, water gets rough/had all I can stand, but can’t get enough/let me love you again, give me one more try/oh, if the good lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise”

It is the outlook of despair and desperation belonging to a pauper, something that drives this album. Many songs seem deeply personal, which is a bit surprising considering LeBlanc, a high school dropout, has only experienced a mere 20 years on the earth.

LeBlanc’s father was a Muscle Shoals session musician and it shows in his song writing and composition ability. Each song is well composed and undeniably wise beyond LeBlanc’s years. His soulful voice brings the best qualities of Ryan Adams and Jim James together in a package that is at times mesmerizing. It is baffling that a man born in 1990 can produce music that takes others years to accomplish.

In the end though, there is nothing new or ground breaking here. It is an alt-country album that can easily get lost in the mix. In fact, it is easily mistakable for one of the many Ryan Adams albums floating around. LeBlanc has fashioned a solid effort for his debut, and he shows that he has the stuff for a promising career, but he still hasn’t found his own sound yet. It is certainly worthy of a listen, but not of classic status quite yet.