Over the course of four albums, Louisiana-born singer-songwriter Dylan LeBlanc’s style has evolved through roots-Americana, understated soul rock into satisfying, cathartic rock ’n’ roll.

On his new album, Renegade, released last month on ATO Records, LeBlanc takes a big step forward, channeling his doubt and angst into a more forceful, volatile rock setting with help from the Pollies, an adventurous rock band from the Muscle Shoals area, and the practiced touch of in-demand Nashville producer Dave Cobb.

The reverbed guitars, compressed drums, and eerie keyboards on Renegade recall the darker rock that hovered around the edges of Top 40 radio in the ’80s and ’90s. LeBlanc’s striking voice glides and soars inside the big lonely spaces of his songs.

At Rough Trade in Brooklyn last month, LeBlanc was self-conscious and thoughtful offstage, but with the Pollies backing him and propelling the songs relentlessly forward, he tore through his set with an urgent vigor. His tour continues through the United States and Europe into the fall.

Pollies bassist Spencer Duncan unloads an instrument from the trailer on a rainy evening.

Pollies drummer Jon Davis sets up his kit for sound check.

Pollies guitarist Jay Burgess sound-checks his instrument.

Erin Rae, the opening performer, and LeBlanc rehearse a duet.

With the backing of the Pollies, LeBlanc’s sound has become larger and more visceral.

The band reimagined his song “Beyond the Veil” from his previous album, Cautionary Tale, into a long, heavy jam.

Jon Davis and Spencer Duncan take a moment before the encore.

Dylan and Erin Rae perform together during the encore.

A final smoke break before getting back on the road

This photo essay is part of On the Road, a series of visual essays that explores the creative lives of notable musicians, onstage and off.


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