James LeBlanc
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James LeBlanc

| INDIE | AFM

| INDIE | AFM
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"A Star on the Rise"

A star on the rise
James LeBlanc making name, music for himself

By Terry Pace
Entertainment Editor



Singer-songwriter James LeBlanc moved to the Shoals from Shreveport, La., in 1997. MATT McKEAN/File

WANT TO GO?
* What: An outdoor concert by Muscle Shoals Records recording artist James LeBlanc, presented by Clear Channel Radio
* When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday
* Where: Spring Park, Tuscumbia
* Admission: Free
* Details: 383-2525 or 381-0801
* Copies of the "She's Out There" single are available at FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Cold Water Books in Tuscumbia and Pegasus Records, Tapes and CDs in Florence, or online at www.cdbaby.com, www.cdstreet.com, www.MP3.com and www.cornerband.com.





James LeBlanc has never lost touch with his original dream.  "When I was a teenager, I was shooting for the stars," recalls LeBlanc, the latest solo artist to appear on the independent music label Muscle Shoals Records. "But then I had some kids at an early age, and I had to start thinking about a realistic way to make money."

Shifting his focus away from performing, the singer-songwriter-guitarist from Shreveport, La., migrated to Muscle Shoals in 1997, settling in as a staff writer at FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals. From there, LeBlanc has penned chart-topping hits and key album cuts for country superstars Travis Tritt ("Modern-Day Bonnie & Clyde"), Martina McBride ("Make Me Believe"), Sara Evans ("Show Me the Way to Your Heart") and Kenny Chesney ("I Remember ").

"There are thousands of people who would love doing what I do," LeBlanc admits, "but I want to record my own stuff. I want to be the singer. I want to be the front man. I have just as much to say as any other artist."

Last Monday, the FAME-based Muscle Shoals Records company released LeBlanc's premiere single, "She's Out There," to radio stations across the country. A 10-cut solo album will follow in June, backed by an orchestrated strategy of nationwide radio promotions, live performances, on-air appearances and Internet marketing.

"We've been talking about putting a record out for years," LeBlanc explained during an interview last week at the historic FAME studios. "We've just been trying to get the right combination of songs and getting the right level of confidence. That takes a long time."

Although he's best-known as a country songwriter, LeBlanc's personal style as a performer leans toward grassroots rock 'n' roll, with tasty dashes of traditional country and a savory seasoning of Southern soul.

"It's Triple A all the way – album-based, alternative and Americana," LeBlanc maintains. "It's organs and guitars. It's tight songwriting and aggressive production. It's Goo Goo Dolls meets the Wallflowers meets Train meets Tonic meets John Mellencamp."

LeBlanc's recordings for Muscle Shoals Records follow a soulful tradition established by the label's inaugural releases – Russell Smith's country-soul collection "The End is Not in Sight" and the Decoys' rhythm-and-blues romp "Shot from the Saddle."

"James is the epitome of what we want to do with Muscle Shoals Records,"noted producer and publisher Rodney Hall, who co-founded the label with his brother, Mark. "James writes great, he plays great, he sings great, and he's got soul through and through. There's no doubt at all about that."

Growing up, LeBlanc listened to the music of artists as eclectic as James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Merle Haggard and George Jones. Years later, he expanded his listening tastes to include Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Prince and U2. In the process, the Louisiana-bred musical hybrid uncovered the secrets behind the fine art of songwriting.

"I never had a big album collection -- I never had enough money to do that," LeBlanc recalled. "So I would listen to FM radio a lot -- it didn't matter what format. I learned the parameters of how to write a song -- melodies, song structures, how to put it together, how many minutes you have to make a real run. I studied everything from the biggest component to the smallest detail."

LeBlanc began playing and singing when he was 7, picking up pointers from his musician father (who died of leukemia when his son was 23). Along the way, LeBlanc began to write and perform his own heartfelt compositions.

"Being an FM radio guy your whole life gives you a lot to ingest and spit back out when you start doing it yourself," he remarked. "It has to be something that moves me, of course -- that's what I go for now. I don't try to copy anybody, but I do try to emulate the people whose songs move me the most."

Although he's firmly established as a country songwriter ("I Remember" just went double-platinum on Chesney's "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem" album), LeBlanc is facing new challenges in what he calls the "completely different world" of a Southern-based rock 'n' roll artist.

"There were many, many, many years that went by that I planned and wor - Times Daily - NYTtimes


"CD baby reviews"

REVIEWS!
Click here to write a review about this CD!


Love your music
Reviewer: krystal meredith
All songs are greatI love you. love your baby girl Krystal Meredith


James Leblanc is a hottie with great vocals
Reviewer: Amber ferris
Everything that James Leblanc writes and sings is wonderful. The combination of good looks and good vocals James will go far!


My hero. No other way to describe him.
Reviewer: Jami Grooms
Every song is an emotion easily tapped into by every body who hears it. This is real music with honest words that reach into your soul. "Let It Burn" is an example of how to write a hit song. Buy This Record!!!!!!


Only one word to describe James "AWESOME"
Reviewer: Stacy Wozniak
Only one word to describe James "AWESOME"......I haven't heard a song of his yet that I haven't liked. Keep up the great work..excellent vocals!!


things looking up for you cuz
Reviewer: scott downing
sounds good... when you coming to SF. Your Cuz in SF... -Scott


Love It
Reviewer: Amy Treece - Cullman, Al
I went to a concert where James and one of his song writing buddies opened for Emerson drive. They did an acoustic concert of songs that they had written and I was blown away. I bought the CD and loved it as much as I did the acoustic performance. I was also lucky enough to see him open for Hank Jr. James has an amazing voice and incredible talent. The only fault I have with the CD is that it doesn't have the new song that Rascal Flats just picked up of his "When the sand runs out". Great song wish that James would have kept it for him self. Can't wait for more great music from James!


dude i love this guy
Reviewer: chris luker
I love this guy, i love everyone of his songs.


AWESOME
Reviewer: Gina Berz
When I first heard James LeBlanc I loved his music. I loved it so much that I went on a mission here in Flagstaff, AZ for his CD. I soon found that no one had ever heard of James. I then called one of the local country radio stations and they too had never heard of James LeBlanc. I soon realized that I would only be able to get his CD off line, and so when I ordered I ordered two copies and gave one to the country radio station. I don't listen to the radio very often and so I don't know if they play his cd yet or not, but if they aren't they are missing out. James Leblanc's music is AWESOME and he's pretty cute too. Is he married? Anyway thanks so much for the cd I hope I will be seeing another from him soon. Thanks again Gina


'She's Out There' - Fan-bloody-tastic !!!
Reviewer: Spyda - in Dorset, UK
I've just found James Leblanc & 'She's Out There' whilst browsing around other music sites (Cornerband.com). I'm not usually into 'Country'(?), but this particular track is now going onto my HD. I was blown away by the simplicity, yet underlying sophistication of the composition, & overall this is a terrific, quality production. James certainly knows how to utilise his vocal skills to the MAX ! Not yet read any biog, but if James writes his own music & lyrics he sure should make it big, if in fact he hasn't already!! I'll be checking out all the other tracks as soon as possible. From a wet & wintery UK in February 2004, I wish James good luck & fortune it's certainly deserved of this particular artist in my humble opinion! Clive aka Spyda


I listen to all types of music and in this catagory this is great!
Reviewer: Antman (zerotoninety.com)
Great albumn, I play with zero to ninety,(An alternative Rock band) and this music moves you!


Refreshing
Reviewer: Trey S.
Nice to hear a fresh voice with it's own identity!


GREAT MUSIC! THE NEXT BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
Reviewer: KATIE MORRIS
YOU GO BOY! WE LOVE YA


I love this guy!!
Reviewer: Jessica Wallace
This is a great CD. My favorite song is Where You Are. I listen to it every day.


From your Cuz in South Carolina, YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!!!
Reviewer: Mary Brack
COOL CD..... WE THINK IT IS WONDERFUL, A PLEASURE TO LISTEN TOO.


Can't get enough of this guy!! If you've heard, you already know. If you haven
Reviewer: Ken Jacobs
Nothing to say but it's a 5 star CD. It'll be the best $10 you've spent in awhile. TRUST ME!! Ken


james is great hope to see him soon
Reviewer: desiree shaw
i wish he would come home to shreveport to do a gig for us


Great talent, soon to be star
Reviewer: Terry Woodbury, Muscle Shoals
I heard this song on wlay radio and did not know who he was. When i found out I went straight to the music store. Fantastic songwriter and soulful singer. "She's Out There" should push up to the top.


Awesome music, fabulous voice, "SuperStar"!!!!!!
Reviewer: Kim Banks
Great music, great voice, a must have for any music fan...


Awesome!
Reviewer: C. Banks
This CD was AWESOME! Can't wait for his next one.


He is the best, of course, he is my son!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reviewer: Carole LeBlanc
I just love all of his music, most of all listening live.


- CDbaby


Discography

"She's Out There" - single 2004
Muscle Shoals City Limits - CD 2004

I'm Here - CD 2008 (Fame Records)

Photos

Bio

A native of Shreveport, LA, James LeBlanc, has earned recognition over the past decade as a singer-songwriter from Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

James' early musical influences include many of the most prominent names in rock and country, The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Neil Young, Merle Haggard and George Jones.

"I was playing songs by all these guys by the time I was twelve," he says. "I started playing and singing when I was 7 years old. My dad was a picker and singer so he taught me all this stuff as soon as I was old enough to know what was going on. I grew up with it. It was very good training."

“I love the sheer passion in playing, singing and writing," James says.

His delivery is what is called "soulful" in Muscle Shoals, with talents so broad, he crosses genres easily.

On top of his singing and writing abilities, James also is an amazing guitar player. He spent much of his youth practicing and playing in local bands throughout the South. He spent years developing his stage chops by playing and singing for up to 8 hours a night, six days a week in the Shreveport casinos.

James has been writing for Fame Publishing in Muscle Shoals since December of 1997 and has spent these years building a publishing catalog and honing his musical talents. He has had dozens of songs recorded by major label artists, including the title cut to Jason Aldean’s “Relentless, Gary Allan’s “Learning How To Bend” and “Yesterday’s Rain,”Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Don’t Give Up On Me” and “I Can’t Live Without Your Love.” the top 10 single "Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde" for Travis Tritt, and recent cuts by Rascall Flatts, Tal Bachman, Martina McBride, and Nashville Star's Angela Hacker.

James's critically acclaimed Muscle Shoals Records debut CD, entitled "Muscle Shoals City Limits," was released in 2004. And his new CD “I’m Here” will be released in the fall of 2008 on Fame Records.