Label: Rough Trade Release date: 23/08/10 Link: Myspace Buy: Amazon Americana isn’t a field you’d associate with Rough Trade. But this isn’t just Americana. While everything about it screams Americana (American folk music, alt-country if you will, for the uninitiated) from the twanging of the guitars, to the humming sound from a lap steel, to the slow, wandering chords and almost entirely depressing lyrics. However, there’s something more, something that hooks you right from the off and keeps you there, something that makes you stay in this foreign and unwelcoming land. I suppose it’s not unfair to compare him with Jim White, in the way that he takes Americana and updates it, plays around with it and makes it something more acceptable, something with a bit more spirit. For a 20 year old, LeBlanc has produced something of immeasurable maturity. This is grown up music, its music for people in a solemn mood and in a listening mood. It verges on Dad music sometimes, with its wandering and slow pace, but with all the bitterness of the lyrics and the haunting voice that it’s sung in, this reaches so much more than that. This is spirited stuff, it conveys emotion like very little else. It takes the music of his Louisiana background and turns it into something that is more relevant and exciting, something easily relatable to. This is also Rough Trade’s Album Of The Month, and in its tradition, it has a foreword if you will from the artist. There is a passage in it that can help unlock the secrets of this album, it’s beauty and it’s maturity. ”[Imagining his older self talking with him]Hello Mr LeBlanc. I forgot what I looked like when I was younger. Welcome to Paupers Field where you shall reside in your young and old age. I’d like to tell you my stories, if you’re ready to listen, of the people I’ve met, the love I once knew, and the sorrow we share” It, in some ways, helps to explain the attitude of this album – for all of its honesty and bona fide feel, this hints at some conjecture, which, given that we feel so heavily involved in the album, feels almost deceitful. But it’s also to his credit; it’s made well enough to make fiction fact, to make us want to believe the story. No song has completely truthful lyrics, not even the ones we love the most, and so fictional honesty, in this case, works so well. You need an open mind to access this. It has vocal parts that would please Fleet Foxes, it has lyric that would please Bob Dylan and it has a mood and a heartfelt nature that would put Ben Gibbard to shame, but it sounds like none of them. This won’t be easy to access for most people on this site, I’ll wager, but try it. Really try it, and it has the backing of Rough Trade, so who the fuck are you to refuse it? Photobucket