Photo: Abraham Rowe

Dylan LeBlanc is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who often finds himself flirting with the edge — or “dancing on a razor,” as he calls it — as it is all he has ever known. A verdict vagabond since he was a little boy tossed between Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, LeBlanc thrives on the precipice, never staying in one place for too long. It is that nomadic spirit that drew him not only to a life as a touring musician, but also to the beast that titles his just-released LP: Coyote.

Coyote is LeBlanc’s first self-produced album, boasting a cherry-picked lineup of what he calls “killer session players,” such as drummer Fred Eltringham (Ringo Starr, Sheryl Crow), pianist Jim “Moose” Brown (Bob Seger), and bass player Seth Kaufman (Lana Del Rey). Though Coyote covers familiar ground for LeBlanc of living on the edge of danger and its many consequences, the record is both autobiographical and a concept album built around the character of ‘Coyote’, a man on the run. LeBlanc says he has always related to the insatiable, scavenging nature of the wily coyote. Much like the animal, LeBlanc is a wanderer who knows when to trust his instincts, musically and otherwise. It is a spiritual kinship that runs deep.

We wanted to know more about these primal musical instincts, so we asked Dylan to choose four records that that have been major influences on his music and the composition of Coyote in particular.

 

J J Cale – Naturally

This record sonically stands out for me from some of his other work. Particularly the drum sounds. I tried to get as close to Karl Himmel and Chuck browning’s drum sounds as possible for Coyote. This record is just stock full of incredible session players from that era including Norbert Putnam on bass (who is from Muscle Shoals) and Tim Drummond. These guys show up on many albums I absolutely love and I hold them in high regard as some of the best that ever was. I definitely tried to copy the sound of this album for Coyote. Especially the rhythm section here.

Randy Newman – Sail Away

Randy is one of the best and one of the most underrated songwriters of his generation. This record, although I’ve loved it a long time, kinda resurfaced and I started listening to it a lot during the writing process of Coyote. The strings on his albums are what made me fall in love with strings and adding a kind of cinematic quality to my music.

This record is also stock full of badass session players: Jim Keltner on drums! Ry Cooder on guitar! Ry Cooder’s slide playing on Sail Away was a major inspiration for Coyote. I tried to get that sound when I was playing the slide parts on Coyote. And Sail Away has a certain sadness in it that I love in music – vulnerability and little sneak peaks into who Randy is as a person. Such a master. 

Cat Power – The Greatest

This record will always be in my top five. I’ve loved her music since I was 13 years old when You Are Free came out. But this record came out when I was 16. I fell in love with her immediately and felt like she understood who I was through her songwriting and the vulnerability of her voice. I felt like she was speaking directly to me. To say that Chan Marshall is one of my biggest influences is an understatement. I love her so much and her music. And the inspiration that this album has given me finds its way into almost everything I do musically. 

Tres Hermanos – El Bueno Y El Mayo

I’ve probably listened to this album more than any other album this past year. I’m obsessed with music with no words. Sometimes I feel that words can really get in the way of something beautiful. I love the sound of this album and the simplicity of the two guitars just expressing feeling and creating a vibe. The dance between the two brothers playing styles is incredible. I absolutely love this record and their others, and I know it had to have leaked into my subconscious during the recording of Coyote

 

Coyote was released on 20 October, 2023 via  ATO Records and can be ordered and downloaded HERE.

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