For most of us, soul music refers to a genre, a groove that swings through blues and R&B on its way to making our hips sway. But for Garrett LeBeau, it’s also about his soul: finding it, understanding it, and redefining its reality after liberating himself from his constricting past. The son of an Irish-American mother and Shoshone Indian father, LeBeau was raised on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming — as a Jehovah’s Witness.
LeBeau’s soul style certainly captures the groove, all right, with a gritty vibe and vocals that might draw comparisons to Boz Scaggs (with whom he’s toured) or even Ray LaMontagne, but it also digs deep, examining the dichotomies of his childhood experiences, the scars inflicted by his indoctrination into what he considers a cult, and the salvation he’s found through music. On his forthcoming EP, he addresses his history head on, as well as the ongoing struggles of Native Americans and our common desire for love and happiness.Read more
LeBeau was attracted to the blues because of its emotional core, which allowed him to pick it up quickly and form a foundation from which he could explore.
The musical isolation he experienced actually lends a purity to his work. Calling himself “a humanist above all else,” LeBeau adds, “humans are at their best when they’re allowed to feel. We create music because it makes us feel something. What’s life worth if you don’t feel?”