Previously on Festival du Bois 2014: Geri, Dara, and I saw Bon Débarras, De Temps Antan, La Famille Léger, and Vishtèn! Poutine and maple syrup on a stick were nommed with great glee! And I discovered that there are fewer things more musically scary than being in the same session room with Yves Lambert!
And now, this post’s installment of Festival du Bois 2014: Sunday!
My belovedest Dara and I have done the trip up to Vancouver quite a few times at this point–but still, it’s a bit rough getting up at stupid-o’clock in the morning in time to get on an early bus, go all the way down to King Street Station, and get on a train to go all the way up to Vancouver. There was quite a bit of yawning involved.
But then, with Festival du Bois waiting on the other end, I was quite willing to spend my Saturday morning snoozing on a train!
As always, our friends Geri and Rob kindly put us up for the weekend at their place. This time around, we brought Rob a bottle of Scotch by way of a “thank you for letting us snooze here!” gift. (That, and I’m sure their dog was happy to have two extra pairs of hands to throw the ball down the stairs.) And, this time around, Geri elected to come to the festival shenanigans with us on Saturday!
My only regret? Realizing only after we were on our way north that I’d totally forgotten to bring Jean-Claude. AUGH. For the best, though, since the weather was wet and cold and let me tell you, Internets, there’s nothing quite as pungent as the smell of wet mammoth.
As I’ve written before, La Bottine Souriante has the distinction of being the first Quebec band I ever saw perform live, and I said a great deal about them on this post over here. Most of what I had to say there still stands, with some notable exceptions.
First and foremost, as of this writing, La Bottine’s discography has become available for digital purchase on both iTunes and Amazon’s MP3 store! So if you’re a US fan of Quebec music like me, your chances of finding a La Bottine album have now improved considerably.
Which of course brings me to the question of what album should you get? The answer to that’s going to depend on what era of La Bottine you want to investigate, since they seem to come in four overall eras to their sound. I tend to break La Bottine down into “Yves Lambert era” and “Eric Beaudry era”, both of which have their massive appeal to me.
Yves’ Lambert’s era is classic La Bottine, and saw the rise of their mighty, mighty horn section. M. Lambert’s era also saw such seriously impressive musicians as André Marchand and Michel Bordeleau being in the lineup. This era is well worth your time, and if you want to sample it, I’d highly recommend La Mistrine as a studio album at the height of the band’s power in that era. Or, En spectacle for a marvelous live performance. Especially the opening “Ouverture” track, which features what’s kind of the canonical La Bottine tune–Sheepskin and Beeswax, one of the ones I’m trying to learn. I LOVE how they fire this one up, with the rumble out of the bass, then layering in the feet and the melody, until at last the horns start punching in with syncopated goddamn glory and oh, it’s wonderful.
The Eric Beaudry era kicked in with the album J’ai jamais tant ri, and at least as of that album, La Bottine also had Pierre-Luc Dupuis singing a lot of the lead, as well as André Brunet’s fiddle firepower and occasional lead singing as well. All three of these boys have gone on to form De Temps Antan, of course–so that particular La Bottine album rather sounds like “De Temps Antan plus a horn section”. This is not a bad thing!
If you want to get an idea of what La Bottine sounded like as of that album, check out this YouTube fan vid. It’s somebody’s almost entire vid of a La Bottine concert, in which you get to see Eric, André, and Pierre-Luc all rocking it the HELL up. There’s a jumbotron. There’s crowdsurfing. It’s AWESOME.
Now, I tend to prefer classic La Bottine over current, but that said, Eric Beaudry IS right up at the top of the list of Quebec musicians for whom I want pretty much every note they ever recorded (he’s fighting it out with Olivier Demers for the top spot on that list!). As I’ve also mentioned before, any band with a Beaudry in it gets my immediate and undivided attention. M. Beaudry’s vocals are splendid, and he is an amazing bouzouki player. In fact, musically speaking, he is my current favorite bouzouki player, and I do not say this lightly–as anyone who knows I’ve been fangirling Alan Doyle for the last 13 years knows! So his contributions to La Bottine are not to be underestimated in the slightest.
So if you go with Beaudry-era La Bottine, get their most recent release, Appellation D’Origine Contrôlée. I have a full review of this album right over here. I am madly, madly I tell you, in love with “Au rang d’aimer”. I’m trying to learn that one on the guitar. And yes, it’s one of the tracks M. Beaudry sings lead on. You may now show me your lack of surprise faces, Internets. 😉
Also, I’ll add that if you want to track what happened to other members of La Bottine who are no longer in the band, the aforementioned Yves Lambert is still doing music, and he’s got excellent albums available here. Michel Bordeleau and André Marchand are both now in Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer, deploying their massive vocal talent, and they’re also doing double duty as two of the members of Les Mononcles, where they’re doing instruments as well as vocals.
(Apologies in advance to people reading the LJ/DW mirror of this post–Bandcamp embeds don’t work on those sites, so I’m directing traffic for it over to my main site. Click over to the original angelahighland.com post to see the embeds rendering properly.)
Well now, this was a lovely surprise!
Being a fan of Genticorum, and in particular of the work of Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand (and his duo work with his wife Mélisande as well), led me over to finding out about La Prûche Libre, a label for Quebec trad. I saw them posting about a new album via their Facebook page last night–and if I read the post correctly it was in connection with Memoire et Racines this weekend. Which got my interest up, so I clicked over to their Bandcamp page to check it out.
This was the first album of theirs that I looked at!
And while I was at it I checked it out this one as well–because the cover art attracted me. The singer totally made me think “HEY, she’s a brunette Shenner!” Those of you who know me from my Star Wars MUSH days may remember that my character Shenner was in fact a redheaded version of Karen Allen in the Star Wars MUSH movie in my brain, so this is really a roundabout way of the singer reminding me of Karen Allen. Regardless, it caught my eye! So then I actually played some of the tracks, and decided yes, her voice is lovely, so I wanted the music too.
Last but not least I had to grab this one by a quartet called La Cantinière. It’s not even out yet but I’m making a point of pre-ordering it, since it’s involving three of the gentlemen previously involved with La Volée d’Castors–who y’all may recall are one of the major Quebec bands I’ve been adoring for a while now. Those guys are in fact the second ones after La Bottine Souriante who got my attention, since they were the ones who, way back in the day, got mentioned on the OKP on one of the recurring “If you like Great Big Sea, you’ll also like…” threads.
Now, though, I just got email from somebody on the La Prûche Libre staff! He wrote to thank me for the support of their music and to offer me download codes for a couple more of their albums, which I gratefully accepted!
The first of the two albums he offered me is this one. As a long-time fan of La Bottine Souriante I absolutely know the name Yves Lambert. That legendary performer is in fact one of my strongest memories of seeing La Bottine back in 2000, because it was his voice I remember sounding rich and round and full. He’s happily still doing music even though he’s not involved with La Bottine anymore, and so I’d already decided to investigate his more recent endeavors. I didn’t, however, have this album yet!
And the second album is this one. As I hope I explained to the nice gentleman from La Prûche Libre, I wasn’t familiar with M. Lepage. The email I got says he unfortunately passed away last year, but I’ll be happy for the opportunity to learn a bit more about some of the longstanding performers of the genre and to see what they’ve contributed to this music I’ve come to love.
So yeah. Mes petites pouvoirs d’écriture en français, activez! Here’s hoping I replied to the nice man from La Prûche Libre coherently! And here’s to what promises to be a lovely expansion of my Quebec trad collection!