For Chris LeBlanc, it’s all about hitting the road to introduce listeners to his latest studio ventures. He’s currently gearing up for a spot at next month’s Central Music Festival on the heels of his latest release Two Hearts & Four Wheels.
The event, which runs Aug. 17-19, takes place in a natural outdoor amphitheatre located minutes north of the City – attendees can head north on Taylor Dr., cross Hwy. 11A and continue on the C&E Trail.
Continue onto Township Rd. 392, turn left and the site is located just up the road.
Things kick off on the Friday at 6 p.m. The music runs Saturday from noon to midnight and on Sunday from noon until 5:30 p.m. Pretty much any genre can be heard, from blues, rock, country, folk, reggae, funk and jazz to Tex-Mex, Cajun, and bluegrass.
For LeBlanc, it all started with his first band practice when he was three-years-old in his hometown of Shediac, New Brunswick. Music was in the family from the start, so it was pretty early on that the desire to explore it further was sparked.
“My dad was a bass player and a singer, and when we moved out here in 1981 he continued to play with a bunch of different people. So I grew up around it, but at first I was more of a ‘rock’ kind of guy,” he explains during a recent interview.
“But I was always told I sounded like a country guy singing rock music. So there is no way I’ll be screaming out Aerosmith all night long – I just don’t have that kind of voice,” he adds with a laugh.
He started playing guitar at eight years of age. Years later he discovered a skill for songwriting and both his knack for singing and in particular for singing country tunes.
“Once that 1990s country came around – guys like Garth Brooks and Clint Black – that was really my cup of tea. It still is.”
As to the genre as a whole, LeBlanc says its storytelling sensibilities appeal to him as well.
“The songs are talking about something real, and they can relate to almost any listener. To me, a well-written song will mean something different to you than it does to me, but it will mean something to both of us.”
LeBlanc released his debut CD Too Much Nothin’ in 2007, and shortly after he won the 2008 Country 105/Lammles Rising Star, was nominated for Country Recording of the Year at the 2009 East Coast Music Awards and was presented with the Dick Damron Award at the Dick Damron Tribute Show. He spent about six months in Music City during that period as well, and relished soaking up the rich musical and cultural heritage that can be found at virtually every corner.
“I completely immersed myself in the songwriting culture in Nashville – that’s really what the city is about. Being there makes you realize that dreams are possible.”
Two Hearts & Four Wheels, which was produced by Steve Fox, launches with the feisty cut and first single Fallin’ and moves seamlessly into the laid-back sensibilities of Losing at Losing You, solidly built on a melancholy mood of a love gone wrong. The tune showcases LeBlanc’s ability to tap into the emotional core of a song as well.
“For the longest time, you hear your songs with basically just a guitar,” he explains. “Then you get into the studio with your production team and working out some stuff, and you hear what comes out.
“Steve Fox is an amazing writer, and a very talented artist himself. As for as songwriting is going, he’s at the top of his game. He pulls the best out of you as well.”
For complete details including ticket information, check out www.centralmusicfest.com.