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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

PREMIERE: The Third Single 'Own It' From Minneapolis Singer-Songwriter Luke LeBlanc's Upcoming Album

By Stevie Connor.

Music is a connecting force. The art form can forge a common bond between seemingly disparate people. That’s because music taps into memories of time, space, and place, which provide the colors of human evolution. All of us as human beings experience the same basic transformations. The details may be different, but the journey is largely relatable.

Luke Leblanc says of the third single to be released from his upcoming album, "'Own It' is about that time in your mid-twenties when we truly get to know ourselves. You have a little bit of money, a lot of worry, and a big dream, but you own it, and use it to start building the first versions of You. Doing so isn't easy, but most good things aren't."

Singer-songwriter Luke LeBlanc carefully explored those personal-to-universal intersections on his last two albums, 2021’s Only Human and 2022’s Fugue State. With Places, his fifth studio album to be released October 27 as his debut recording for Minneapolis-based Real Phonic Records, LeBlanc crafts a thoroughly thematic collection of 10 songs focused on accepting and embracing the physical and emotional places that shape us.

“These ‘places’ that we go through in life, whether through our own volition or due to circumstances beyond our control, take us from one phase to the next one,” says LeBlanc, 27. “As people, we tend to feel most at home and process those emotions best when we’re moving and growing.”

For LeBlanc, Places marks artistic and career growth. It is his first conceptual project, and it is also his inaugural spin signed to a record label after independently releasing his albums. Plus, LeBlanc has a connection at Real Phonic Records – his longtime producer Erik Koskinen.

“Luke’s writing and melodies come across as brand new and yet familiar to the listener,” says Koskinen, president of Real Phonic Records. “We at Real Phonic Records are happy to partner together.”

Places, like Fugue State and Only Human, features top-notch musicians. Once again produced and engineered by Koskinen, who also plays electric guitar, Places also showcases Eric Heywood on pedal steel guitar, Caz Falen on bass and background vocals, John Cleve Richardson on piano and background vocals, Lars-Erik Larson on drums, Casey Frenz on saxophone and trumpet, and

Kora Melia on violin. Places was recorded at Real Phonic Studio in Cleveland, Minnesota during a two-day stretch, March 18 and 19.

Yet nothing about Places sounds rushed, such is the artistic maturation of the Minneapolis-based LeBlanc. The songs stick to his signature jangly folk sound while also experimenting with Americana-meets-urban musical elements. A few gems include: “A Place,” a toe-tapping ode to searching for that next bigger and better thing. The wistful “No Good” turns our very human thoughts of inadequacy into positive reinforcement. “Own It,” punctuated by a jazzy-country groove, is all about taking pride in the process of personal evolution. The pensive “Defeated,” like “No Good,” flips a negative and turns up the wisdom of learning from mistakes. Finally, “Marble Stone” is a jubilant, jaunty homage to the final stage of life.

As LeBlanc continues to record and perform before live audiences, he keeps proving his creative worth. Born and raised in Minneapolis’ Northside, LeBlanc taught himself to play guitar when he was 11 years old and swiftly began writing songs. Two years later, when LeBlanc was 13, he was the youngest talent to win the Zimmy’s (named after Robert Zimmerman, better known as Bob Dylan), a national singer-songwriter competition held in Hibbing, Minnesota. Since then, LeBlanc has shared the stage with Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Amythyst Kiah, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Phil Solem of the Rembrandts, Charlie Parr, Erik Koskinen, and Joey Molland of Badfinger, among others.

Don’t miss LeBlanc during his Places release show December 15 at Icehouse MPLS, especially since his shows have now become more like social gatherings.

“I’ve noticed that my concerts have become something more than people paying tickets to come watch a show,” he says. “They’re also a place where fans and I discover mutual friends we have, where I learn about new ideas, where the band and I stumble upon new sounds and ways of performing these songs, where partnerships happen. Music has that power to connect us like no other, and I hope this album continues to feed that pulse.”



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