Moncton's Shaun LeBlanc Launching Kaleidoscope Thursday

This is a New Brunswick album people have been waiting for with quite a bit of anticipation. Over the last couple of years, Moncton's Shaun LeBlanc has been establishing himself on the local scene, gaining quite a name as a singer and songwriter. A debut E.P. introduced him last year, but that was just a taste of things to come. Lots of live shows have left audiences impressed with his songs and style. He's a pop performer, but with serious songs coming from his pen. Plus, these days it's pretty rare to hear a keyboard player front and centre, at least one playing actual piano, composing that classic way.

d580a0_482b036d011d895e8ad125cb03e0ee9f.jpg_srz_396_384_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.jpg
His biggest break happened last fall, and it wasn't even in his home turf. Selected into the finals of Fredericton's Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival's Galaxie Rising Star competition, LeBlanc wowed the judges and audience, and walked away with the top prize in that tough battle of the bands. So the time was right to get going on a true first album. And it gets launched Thursday in Moncton. It's called Kaleidoscope, and is the result of months of hard work, first writing, and then recording and producing 10 intricate, well-crafted numbers.

LeBlanc can play these songs as stripped-back compositions live, just piano and some percussion, which I've seen him do on a couple of occasions, but for the album, he's gone for big, bright, multi-instrument arrangements. Most of the songs have a lot more than just a verse-chorus-verse structure. There will be whole middle sections, second movements that take the tunes to a different level, complete with complicated vocals, and a lush feel, numbers that take me back to the rich productions you used to hear on radio back in the late 70's. Specifically, some of the songs here remind me of those glossy 10 CC and Queen hits, with so much going on, and so much to enjoy. There's a ton of sounds and voices coming at you, and its all rich and highly melodic.

To make things so big, you have to have a hard-working team, and LeBlanc relied heavily on the talents of Moncton's Robin Anne Ettles, who produced the album and contributed guitars, bass, keyboards, some drums, vocals, hand claps, anything that was needed. Ettles is more than a secret weapon these days. Long one of Moncton's top players, she was honoured at the recent Music New Brunswick awards with both Musician of the Year, and Fan's Choice Artist of the Year. You can tell this was a true partnership, and that a lot of sweat went into it. It's an A-team effort right across the board, with other players including Allan Cooper on electric guitar, who also co-wrote one number here.

The album release party happens Thursday at the Empress Theatre in Moncton, and it's the perfect after-work event. It's happening at 5:30 to 7:30 with a concert of course, and best of all, it's free. Come say hello, I'll be your genial MC for the event. If you haven't seen him live before, it's a great chance to see what the buzz has been about.

more »

Latest East Coast Music Reviews

SappyFest welcomes both Constantines, Bry Webb this weekend
SappyFest welcomes both Constantines, Bry Webb this weekend
Jul 29, 2:25 AM

For some music fans, the first weekend of August is the best weekend of the year. SappyFest is the reason, the annual gathering in Sackville that's considered one of the best festivals in the country. That reputation comes from a... more »

Brueggergosman Announces Christmas Album On Its Way
Brueggergosman Announces Christmas Album On Its Way
Jul 23, 3:01 PM

Big news in the Measha Brueggergosman camp. Canada's opera darling has recorded her first Christmas collection, set to be released this fall. The album doesn't have a title yet, but its being called a holiday album with such favourites as... more »

N.B. Summer Music Festival Guide
N.B. Summer Music Festival Guide
Jul 21, 11:46 PM

The summer music festival scene has exploded in New Brunswick, and there's not a weekend goes by without two or three somewhere in the province. Here's a guide to some of them, if you're looking for great entertainment, beautiful surroundings... more »

Music Review:  Stompin' Tom - A Truly Proud Canadian
Music Review: Stompin' Tom - A Truly Proud Canadian
Jul 17, 10:02 PM

Tom's song legacy is being reissued and cleaned up for new generations and old fans who want to remember his classics. This album is one of his best collections, featuring many of the most-loved tracks, including his two signature... more »

Julie Doiron lands song on new Apple ad
Julie Doiron lands song on new Apple ad
Jul 15, 10:24 PM

It's the new kind of hit, the one musicians all hope for. It's a hit that breaks you big overnight, one that gets straight to the audience, one that's millions and millions big, right on their tablets and phones and... more »

Music Review:  Lennie Gallant - Live Acoustic at The Carleton
Music Review: Lennie Gallant - Live Acoustic at The Carleton
Jul 13, 10:15 PM

Here's Lennie in the best possible setting, an intimate club. This is the second album recorded in the East Coast's best club, The Carleton in Halifax, after David Myles' live one from 2011, and it has the same spark that... more »

View all reviews for July 2014 »

About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

Share this review