Showcase invites audience ‘behind the curtain’

Published 3:00 am Friday, January 6, 2017

The north Alabama city of Muscle Shoals is synonymous with music. Singer-songwriter Lenny Le Blanc was an integral part of the phenomenon that became known as Muscle Shoals Music.

LeBlanc will be a featured artist at the Troy Arts Council’s “The Heart Behind the Music” Songwriter’s Showcase on Friday, January 13 at the Claudia Crosby Theater on the campus of Troy University.  Also featured will be singer-songwriters, John Ford Coley and Marty Raybon.

“The Heart Behind the Music” is an opportunity for the audience to hear the stories behind the artists’ hit songs, see them performed and then have a chance to meet the artists after the concert.

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LeBlanc said lot of people want to hear the story behind a song.

“A songwriter’s showcase gives us a chance to tell those stories,” he said. “A songwriter’s showcase allows the audience to ‘go behind the curtain’ and hear the stories from those who wrote the songs. There’s something special—intriguing—about knowing the story behind the music. I enjoy this interaction with other songwriters and with the audience.”

LeBlanc came on the professional music scene in the late 1970s with the hit ballad, “Falling.” It was almost impossible to turn on the radio without hearing “Falling,” which was named one of Billboard’s all time favorite Top 40 hits.

LeBlanc grew up somewhere between “dirt poor and middle class.”

“My first real experience with music was when I discovered an old upright piano in my aunt’s dark basement,” LeBlanc said. “I can remember laying in my bed at night and wishing for a piano.”

LeBlanc’s first “concert” was a performance with a garage band at a middle-school talent show. As he stood on stage petrified to look at the audience, LeBlanc could not have imagined that he would do session work for The Temptations and Hank Williams, Jr. and have a resume that included Joan Baez, Andy Williams, Etta James, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and the Supremes.

After appearances on American Bandstand and The Midnight Special, a national tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd was scheduled. But, shortly after the tour began, the infamous plane crash put LeBlanc’s plans on hold.

He was writing new songs with his Muscle Shoals friends when he had a life changing experience.

Around 1981, a friend, who had been like a brother to him growing up, introduced LeBlanc to Christ.

“I became a Christian and my life changed,” he said. “I had this real desire to write gospel songs, a small genre at the time, but I transitioned to Christian music. I had a desire to do music for the One who changed my life. ”

LeBlanc continues to write country music. He has written music for Sawyer Brown and Ricky Skaggs. His CD, “Old Timer” with Donnie Fritts, a legendary artist and songwriter from Muscle Shoals, will be released soon.

And, there’s a possibility that LeBlanc will preview “Old Timer” at the January 13 Songwriter’s Showcase and tell the story behind the song.