A successful songwriter and singer, it was nearly impossible to turn on the radio in the late 70’s without hearing Lenny LeBlanc’s hit ballad, “Falling.” He was an integral part of the phenomenon that became know as Muscle Shoals Music. Even though there were plenty of friends and other career distractions, he knew where he wanted music to take him, and he possessed the drive to make it happen.
A self-taught musician, Lenny describes his childhood as “somewhere between dirt poor and middle class.” His first real experience with music came with the discovery of an old upright piano in his aunt’s dark basement. That initial encounter with an old instrument awakened the gift inside of him. LeBlanc says, “I remember laying in my bed at night wishing for a piano.”
From the first invitation to join a garage band for the upcoming middle-school talent show where Lenny confesses, “I was so petrified, I kept my hands in my pockets and stood facing the band because I couldn’t look at the audience,” to session work for The Temptations (House Party) and Hank Williams Jr. (Bocephus), LeBlanc’s resume soon glittered with stars: Joan Baez, Andy Williams, Etta James, Carl Perkins, Mac Davis, Roy Orbison, the Supremes, and more.
After signing to Atlantic Records as part of the duo LeBlanc & Carr success came quickly with the release of the romantic ballad “Falling”, which was named one of Billboard’s all time favorite Top 40 hits. After numerous television guest spots, including American Bandstand, and The Midnight Special, a national tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd was on the books. In 1977 tragedy hit the Skynyrd band; the infamous plane crash put LeBlanc’s tour plans on hold.
He says, “After the crash I eventually began touring again and recorded one solo record, this time with Capitol. Over time I became frustrated and disenchanted with the whole thing.” However, LeBlanc continued to write new songs with his Muscle Shoals friends and he was convinced the next big success was just ahead.
And then the phone rang.
LeBlanc says, “It was one of my friends, a Vietnam vet. This guy had been like a brother to me growing up and by this time he had become a drug smuggler.
He said, “Lenny, I’ve been saved. I’m going to heaven and I want you to be there with me.” His friend’s words shook LeBlanc to his foundation. “I really knew this guy, and I could hear it in his voice. Something profound was going on, and I knew it was going to change me.”
LeBlanc’s friend sent him a Bible. “I knew nothing about God, I didn’t know a Methodist from a Baptist. I didn’t know how to talk to God, but I started asking Him if He was real; and He started revealing himself to me.” LeBlanc says,
“Finding Jesus was like a signpost in my life. Whatever storm comes, I can look back and never refute what happened to me. That’s the Rock I cling to.”
The career engine LeBlanc had built so carefully suddenly came to a full stop. So did his income. He lost nearly everything except his house. He did skilled carpentry work to earn a modest living and along the way began building and designing handmade furniture. Even now, his second art form after music is the creation of high-end pieces he designs, creates and sometimes sells.
While he loved being part of the church he attended, he was still a songwriter at heart. He felt no real connection to much of the church music of that decade. “I had this desire to pen songs that were relevant,” says LeBlanc, “and wanted to write something more vertical than what was being sung in the church during the eighties… that’s where my roots in worship started.
LeBlanc’s name appears on dozens of beloved songs of the church, including the highly successful, “Above All” and “There Is None Like You.” His voice and his compositions are featured on dozens of classic worship recordings for Maranatha and Integrity.
He currently lives in Florence, Alabama with his wife Sherrie and daughter Hanna. Lenny continues to write pop and country songs, including hits like “Treat Her Right” for Sawyer Brown and “You First” with two time CMA Musician of the Year, Mac McAnally. He still travels nationally and internationally as a Christian artist and serves on the worship team at Faith Church in Florence, Alabama.
His newest project, “Love Like No Other,” releasing through in:ciite and Word Distribution includes a newly-recorded version of “Falling,” as well as nine newly penned worship songs.
Looking back over his career and his personal walk, Lenny grins…
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