The Circle Bar
January 11, 2004
Carl Leblanc's website represented him as a social commentator who played a mixture of Jazz, R&B and Blues. It was true Leblanc showed he was a versatile and accomplished guitarist at The Circle Bar Sunday night, but the closest he got to social commentary was complimenting a group of audience members on their PBR pyramid.
I believed Leblanc would act solely as a jazz instrumentalist when he began his show with two searing numbers which established his ability to improvise licks before returning to the main melody. But, Leblanc acted as a lounge singer, plowing through covers of Sam Cooke, Elton John, Al Wilson, Nat King Cole and others before accepting requests. Leblanc's guitar tone was reminiscent of Hendrix or Clapton, so I wasnít surprised when he imbued his songs with a Blues/Spiritual color. Though his voice was not spectacular, it got the job done. Leblanc was humble and jovial as he attempted to connect with the audience by joking between songs.
Unfortunately, a few times his earnestness fell through, and it was his lack of confidence and ability to fade into the background which added a sad atmosphere to the night. I felt like I was in The Casino Magic. People who were listening began to talk or just left. LeBlanc was nothing more than a human jukebox.
Leblanc's mood was all about optimism and celebration. Itís probably why heís been able to survive this long.