Leo Rondeau deals in stories candid and honest and plainspoken. Based in Nashville TN, his own story finds root in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota, where Rondeau grew up surrounded by country music listeners and pickers spanning three generations. “It was always around me,” he says.
This aspect of his adolescence bolstered an unwavering sense of self and place in his work that sets Rondeau apart from peer musicians. 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. This is about a type of honesty that means more than simply telling the truth. It’s a voice that either lives within you or does not.
Early on, Rondeau found and dug into such contemporary mainstream artists as Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakam, gleaning from them a penchant for up-tempo numbers geared toward the dance hall. But Leo Rondeau is a country dance band with a folk singer’s heart. If there's a dance floor you'll find it in full swing when Leo's playing, but you’ll also find bar sitters turned on their stools watching the stage.
Rondeau is first and foremost a songwriter. As a boy, he took immediate interest in writing and has maintained a deep respect for studying one’s own life through song. He calls himself a lifelong musician, and to hear him play will take the wind out of anyone who says otherwise. 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.
This is Rondeau’s third visit to Australia, having been invited back to play the incomparable Dashville Skyline Festival in NSW, and will be touring with full band, the East Coast with Melbourne’s Prince of Honky Tonk, James from James Ellis and the Jealous Guys.
So bring your dancing shoes & your twirling partner and show us your finest Texas two step at our festival recovery session.