By Tereza Tomek
Elise LeBlanc grew up in rural southern Ontario amongst a family of musicians. Her dad, who was in a Three Dog Night cover band with his friends, often hosted jam sessions at the family home and Elise started playing along on piano at a young age.
As a teenager she picked up the guitar and started song writing. Her first songs were inspired by the church music she grew up singing and performing. Although she is still heavily influenced by the tight harmonies and Appalachian sounds of Southern gospel music, these days her powerful songs centre more around the topics of heartbreak, healing, and the cycles of nature.
Elise’s move to Cumberland from the bustling metropolis of Portland, Oregon, 5 years ago was a big change, and sometimes she finds it challenging to nail down busy local players for gigs and rehearsals. “What I loved about the folk music scene in Portland, though- the vibrancy of it- is here in a smaller way.” says LeBlanc. “I love the bluegrass jams, folk festivals, and strong folk music presence here. A good community of talented young musicians who play traditional music. It’s inspiring and definitely a cozier small town vibe that’s warm and welcoming.”
Elise’s performance highlights since the move have included an intimate show at a barber shop in Cumberland. “The crowd was so warm. I was able to connect with the audience in that tiny space in a way I’ve never done before.” She has also enjoyed feeding off the electric energy of the audiences and getting inspiration from other musicians as an annual performer at the Woodstove Festival.
Elise LeBlanc has been a wonderful addition to the local songwriter community and she feels the love right back. “The valley supports its musicians and the live music scene is surprisingly active for a small community.”
You can follow Elise LeBlanc on Instagram @eliseleblancmusic or search “Elise LeBlanc Music” to watch some great live videos on her Youtube channel.