• By: Marie Waine

Making Music Magic: James Leclaire

Today marks the opening day of RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest! OLM is ready to groove—and so is James Leclaire!

Leclaire and The Cable 22’s hit the Barney Danson Theatre tonight at 6 p.m. to bring you some of Ottawa’s best musical talent. Compared to the likes of Steve Earle, Leclaire is here to prove hard work and passion is a winning combo.

“I’ve been playing a lot of shows and meeting a lot of people and it just looks like the hard work is starting to pay off,” says Leclaire.

In June, Leclaire released his third album Of What is Left. Backed by The Cable 22’s, friends Michael Hunter on drums and Chris McLean on bass, and produced by Matt Ouimet, Leclaire’s success is spreading like wildfire.

Over 350 acts applied to perform in one of the 32 positions available for local artists at Bluefest. Leclaire won a coveted spot and could not be more eager to take the stage.

“I am very excited. It’s been a long wait of anticipation for it to finally happen,” says Leclaire. “It’s given me some gratification, locally, that I’m being noticed.”

The singer-songwriter from Renfrew looks forward to all of his live performances.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“When you play live, there’s this energy you get from the crowd,” says Leclaire. “People start stomping their feet and chanting along with you. The energy just builds and builds.”

His favourite song to jam out to on stage?

“I have a song on the new album called Back to the Wind. It’s kind of punk-country,” says Leclaire. “It’s the kind of aggressive, foot stomping, table pounding song that really gets people going.”

After putting out three albums in three years, Leclaire has been a busy man. But he says the rewards from performing and connecting with his audience make it all worth it.

“When someone comes and says that a song meant a lot to them or really hit them, that’s the hugest pay off right there,” says Leclaire.

Be sure to check out James Leclaire on July 3 at the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest at 6 p.m. or at Lowertown Brewery for the Bluesfest After Party at 11:30 p.m.

Can’t make it? No problem! Leclaire will also be performing at the official opening of Landsdowne Park on August 16.

Of What is Left is available now on CD and vinyl at local record shops or digitally on iTunes.