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Dylan LeBlanc turns inward on latest batch of songs
Like most artists, Dylan LeBlanc wanted his upcoming third album -- "Cautionary Tale," due out in January -- to be better than its predecessors.
But in doing so the Louisiana-born singer-songwriter is also giving listeners a little more of himself in the new songs.
"A lot of this record was written about programming and conditioning and how I realized I had to look inward for a resolution of any kind of problems," LeBlanc, 25, says by phone from the Pennsylvania Turnpike. "I wasn't in very good shape mentally and physically. I drank a lot and drugged quite a bit. I don't do that anymore, or haven't for awhile. I had to ask myself a lot of hard questions, and I realized that I was the answer, not things on the outside.
"I was lucky enough that something happened like that and I had a moment of clarity to say, 'I need to do something different.' Some people aren't."
LeBlanc says he's "taking better care of myself, or at least trying now." Songwriting sober, however, was a new challenge for him.
"At first it was a lot harder work," LeBlanc acknowledges. "It wasn't stream of consciousness anymore. These songs all have a pretty clear message; there's nothing subtle about it. Whereas my last record (2012's 'Cast the Same Old Shadow'), all I can say about that is valium and bourbon really do a number on the brain, and I don't really know what any of those songs were about.
"This one has more of a direct message, and I had to sit and work at it. It sometimes took four or five days to write a lyric. I had to think about it and mull it over. I'm a very lazy person naturally, so working harder was...well, hard. But I'm really proud of it."
The hard part, LeBlanc adds, has been sitting on the "Cautionary Tale" material since he finished the album in November of 2014. But he's also enjoying brining the songs out and letting them be hard by concert audiences before their release.
"I don't get into too much of a hurry about anything these days -- not as much as I used to," he says. "I've really had an opportunity to do a lot of touring before it comes out and really hone the songs live and get them the way we want. That's been a good benefit of it not coming out too soon.
"And the best responses we've been getting a lot of times is for the new songs we're playing, so that's making me feel really good about it."
Dylan LeBlanc and David Ramirez
8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15.
Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit.
Tickets are $14.
Call 313-961-2543 or visit cliffbells.com.
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