He may be a new name to Americana music fans in this part of the world but from what I’ve heard and seen of Leo Rondeau online suggests he’ll be making a ton of new friends and fans when he plays Dashville Skyline and a run of other East Coast shows over the next month.
Rondeau is based in Austin, Texas, with his own story beginning in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota where Rondeau grew up surrounded by country music listeners and pickers spanning three generations. A child of the rural American west and owning family lineage within the Turtle Mountain band of the Chippewa Indian tribe, his own history and worldview are engrained in the lines of his songs.
In his writing, Rondeau has been heavily influenced by the dolorous and at times bleak illustrations of Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and Townes Van Zandt. His marked presence within the scenes of his stories is even reminiscent of early Tom Waits tunes in their somber appreciation of the darker realities of life.
Describe your most recent release.
I am releasing an EP this fall (Australian spring) titled Hurt Me For Real. It’s a real mellow record with very little going on in terms of production. Sad songs to be listened to alone while drinking wine or whisky and processing that disappointment of a relationship that you had so much faith in but has now dissolved. Nothing to look forward but the awkwardness of finding another and starting over.
How does your live show a festival differ to a club gig?
If I’m playing a club show or honky tonk where people are dancing I have a more upbeat set that grooves the entire time. Festivals don’t generally have too much dancing so I’ll do some slower songwriter material as well. Mostly dancing dictates my set.
Describe your favourite festival experience.
Pickathon outside of Portland Oregon. The entire staff was completely knowledgeable and helpful about everything that was going on. They were also very complimentary toward all of the artists and seemed genuinely disappointed if they were unable to see you perform due to work. The hospitality was unmatched with great healthy meals and beer flowing the entire time. Their stages were also set up to provide unique listening experiences and did not interfere with one another, no sound bleed.
What is your definition of Americana music?
Sonically it covers a fairly broad landscape but to me the most important aspect of Americana is that it’s authentic. It’s music made by people that are in it to tell a story or their story and are doing it honestly.
What’s your favourite Americana album of 2015 so far?
The Deslondes – The Deslondes
Who are you most looking forward to checking out at Dashville Skyline?
I am not too familiar with most the acts and haven’t a lot of time to listen to them yet but my friends The Lonesome Heroes are playing and I always love seeing them.
What are your musical plans post-Dashville Skyline?
I’ve been recording quite a bit this year and as I stated earlier I’ve got an EP coming out soon and it will be followed by another later in the year. I also recorded a full length record in Nashville at the Bombshelter with Andrija Tokic producing that will be released sometime next year. I’ll be spending a lot of time promoting that and touring. Of course writing, always writing.