Dylan LeBlanc is engaging and soft-spoken in person, yet his striking new album Renegade reflects the power of his live show – one that he simply describes as rock ‘n’ roll. While the album was recorded in just 10 days and tracked in three, the intensity of the project marks the culmination of more than a decade on the road.
“I like the idea of a renegade — branching off from society or from the structure of the way our world is designed,” he says of Renegade, his first album for ATO Records. “It felt right to call it that. I wanted to write about the crueler, nasty aspects of the world and life.”
LeBlanc’s observations are woven through Renegade, though he’s more interested in telling the story than judging the characters for their decisions. The title track, he says, is “about troubled cocky young men charming young women who were intrigued by that way of life, only for it to end in tragedy. I saw this countless times growing up.” Later he writes about his personal efforts to become a stronger person in “Born Again,” after a childhood of being bullied for his long hair and an adolescence marked by insecurity, fear, and anger.
LeBlanc considers the new album a departure from his past work, but only because there’s more of an edge to these sessions, recorded with Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb in Nashville’s Studio A. This time around, LeBlanc primarily stayed plugged in for the sessions, giving Renegade a Tom Petty feel, charged with a streak of ‘80s rock. “I never really played electric guitar live in the studio like that,” he says. “I’m so used to the rhythmic, acoustic thing. It was just like playing in a show.”
Anthony da Costa
Anthony da Costa is no stranger to the music world. At age 13 he started writing songs and playing out anywhere he could, and his career as a singer/songwriter never really stopped. In the last decade, he’s lived in New York City, Austin, TX and most recently, Nashville, TN, all of which have shaped him as a musician and led to countless opportunities and collaborations.
da Costa has released many albums over the course of his career, most recently a solo LP (da Costa) and a collaboration with Adam Levy (Neighbors) in 2017, and an EP (Shadow Love) in 2019. For the last several years, he’s also been consistently touring, sharing bills with bands such as Big Thief, The Milk Carton Kids, and Loretta Lynn, and sharing stages with Joy Williams (The Civil Wars), Sarah Jarosz, Molly Tuttle, and Yola, just to name a few.
During his time as a sideman, da Costa’s desire to write and release songs of his own remained steady. Last year he met up with long-time friend and producer Kenneth Pattengale (The Milk Carton Kids), and made what will be his next solo record, called Feet on the Dashboard, and in da Costa’s words, “it’s been a long time coming.” A culmination of a sound developed since he was a teenager, Feet on the Dashboard is a collection of songs set to be a deliberate reintroduction to who da Costa is, and who he has always been: an earnest songwriter and an artist on his own merit.