Lisa LeBlanc came blazing out of her quiet francophone New Brunswick hometown (pop. 51) on an incandescent trail of banjo notes. Armed with fiery Acadian charm and a voice that sounds like it should belong to a road-seasoned veteran twice her age, at just 22 Leblanc became a bona-fide superstar in francophone Canada with her eponymous 2012 debut album. Lisa Leblanc went platinum, its rough-hewn blend of Acadian folk and rock’n’roll selling nearly 100,000 copies and climbing to #8 on Billboard’s Canadian Albums chart, despite having little profile outside of Québec and the francophone half of her home province.
Of course, a voice this big and brash was never going to remain a local secret. Francophone Europe has embraced her passionate delivery and heartstrong take on traditional music. With her new English-language EP, Highways, Heartaches and Time Well Wasted, her wry songwriting displays more alt-country influences, and her backing band (electric guitar and drums) drives her self-described folk-trash style toward the realm of cowpunk. With her heart on her sleeve and her flying fingers alternating between guitar and banjo, LeBlanc’s star is firmly in the ascendant.