Review: Dylan LeBlanc is on the Prowl with ‘Coyote’

Dylan LeBlanc/Coyote/ATO
Four out of Five Stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Like most astute singer/songwriters, Dylan LeBlanc tends to draw on his own personal experiences, which have often been perilous and problematic to say the least. A vagabond and a loner since early on, he’s had his share of challenges, including varied consequences that accompany addiction, mental anguish and violent encounters. Making music helped him survive and thrive, resulting in a respectable career that’s found him reaping critical kudos and admiration from multiple admirers. 

Coyote may well be his most ambitious effort yet, a semi-autobiographical concept album centered around a character named Coyote, a man who’s running from his past. In the process, he tries to lift himself out of poverty, only to find himself intrenched in a Mexican criminal cartel. While LeBlanc’s career path took him in a decidedly different direction, he still relates to the restless ways of the individual at the center of it all, as well as the stealth-like creature who lends the man his name. 

Notably, LeBlanc takes the production helm for the first time, resulting in a series of supple arrangements that flow efficiently, courtesy of a seasoned cast of session players — among them, drummer Fred Eltringham (Ringo Starr, Sheryl Crow), pianist Jim “Moose” Brown (Bob Seger), and bass player Seth Kaufman (Lana Del Rey). So too, LeBlanc’s hushed vocals add to the ambiance, as illuminated in the eerie title track, the ominous yet assertive “Closin’ In,” the shadowy sound of “Dark Waters,” the pensive drift and desire entangled within “Stranger Things,” and the steady stride engaged in “Wicked Kind” and “Telluride.” The song titles themselves hint at darkness and desperation, but it’s the ethereal echo of “The Outside” in particular that captures the music’s stirring sensibilities especially well. 

Other songs demonstrate a slight uptick in energy, courtesy of the demonstrative “The Crowd Goes Wild,” the ominous yet assured “Hate” (Close your windows and lock all your doors…)

the dramatic and determined “No Promises Broken.” For the most part however, Coyote is a stealth-like affair, filled with suspenseful circumstance. Likewise, it’s an impressive achievement that ought to bring LeBlanc the further recognition he so decidedly deserves.

Photo by Abraham Rowe / Courtesy All Eyes Media

Leave a Reply

Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club Reimagined Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” Into a Piano-Pop Jam

The 20 Best Taj Mahal Quotes