Lisa the star

You may not know Rogersville, NB’s big­gest Aca­dian ex­port. But the rest of the world does.

The Coast - - ARTS - BY MAG­GIE RAHR

Lisa LeBlanc w/Quiet Pa­rade Satur­day, Novem­ber 4, 8pm The Sea­horse Tav­ern, 2037 Got­tin­gen Street, $15


LeBlanc’s been think­ing a lot about high school lately. Af­ter all, it is au­tumn, the sea­son of nostal­gia. Walk­ing through curl­ing fallen leaves back in her home­town, just last week, she found her­self back in the garages of her youth, play­ing favourites like CCR and The Trav­el­ing Wil­burys, jam­ming with a hand­ful of friends from those ten­der early years. “It’s very hum­bling,” LeBlanc says. “There’s no bull­shit.”

This scene: Roam­ing around Rogersville, New Brunswick (“...a pop­u­la­tion of 50,” LeBlanc says, chuck­ling) is in stark con­trast with the life the Aca­dian mu­si­cian has be­come ac­cus­tomed to. Pos­si­bly re­spon­si­ble for the birth of the term “trash folk,” LeBlanc may not re­ceive more than a nod of friendly recog­ni­tion in the gro­cery store of her home­town. But in Europe, she’s fa­mous.

Her self-ti­tled al­bum, the first of three from the singer—who writes her songs in both English and French, on banjo and gui­tar—sold 140,000 copies.

LeBlanc’s mu­sic draws on Gillian Welch, Yves Mon­tand, Ben Lee, a mil­lion French artists and maybe, from a lit­tle closer to home, B.A. John­son. There is in­ci­sive vul­ner­a­bil­ity and in­sight—hid­den in songs about Kraft Din­ner—atop de­ceit­fully tal­ented play­ing.

LeBlanc toured Europe last sum­mer open­ing for The Strum­bel­las, though over there, she al­ready has a fol­low­ing of her own. (She plays the Sea­horse on Satur­day.) Un­der duress, she’ll ad­mit her fan­tasy play­bill would be along­side the late Tom Petty. “He just seems like a nice guy from Florida!” she says. “You just wanna be his buddy. He writes great songs. They’re so sim­ple…sim­ple and great.”

LeBlanc seems to have un­in­ten­tion­ally de­scribed her own cache. This spring, she’s got a tour of the US and Ger­many booked. But she’ll sooner tell you about the con­cert she’s pre­par­ing for back home, in Rogersville, where she hasn’t per­formed in eight years.

She’ll re­join her eighth grade gui­tar teacher, Norm, who she sought out on that trip home last week. They’ll play, just like she used to, in a bar, to faces in the crowd, who rec­og­nize her from be­fore she was fa­mous. They’ll do cov­ers: “Proud Mary,” “Han­dle With Care,” the clas­sics. “Com­ing back home,” she says, “it’s the great­est thing on earth.”

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