Leburn comes round the corner of the Salle des Fêtes to the side entrance where I am standing. A big man embracing the persona of a musician on the road, he wears his resistance to ‘the system’ with humour. Dreadlocks past his shoulders, partially covered with a pirate style scarf on his head, African beads, leather pants and nondescript shirt, he walks and speaks softly.
‘Bonsoir, Madame’ he smiles, his tone apologizing for the American accent. ‘Good evening’ I grin in English, extending my hand, ‘I’m looking forward to hearing your blues’. Surprised, he asks where I am from, and the sharing begins. ‘I haven’t been in the US since 1995…’ he chuckles and starts giving up his life, the way travelers do when they know they’ll never meet again. It’s a need of connection, a chance to be more than a ghost in an ever-changing landscape. In less than five minutes he sketches his life on the road as it is now, no home to go back to. ‘Where is home, anyway? I’m a citizen of the world, man! And my guys get me from gig to gig.’ ‘Where were you yesterday?’ ‘I don’t know, somewhere, eight hours of driving to get here; eight hours to the next gig. I’ll sleep.’
It’s all about the music. Music is everything.
On stage, he lives the blues, rocks with it. He makes his guitar sing, scream, weep, flutter and in one number made it whisper soft, sweet, almost not there sounds, like a voice remembered.
He is a blues man, singing life’s loves, losses, ecstasies and injustice, full throttle with a smidgen of anger and self-derision.
At one point he raises his fist high in salute: ‘Power’ he laughs. He hasn’t given up the struggle.
Early in the show, he gave the finger to the would-be God who fated him to a life of longing, the one who does not stop the pain.
Defiance. He has the shoulders to take on whatever is thrown at him.
And the music for the blues.