Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani
There are moments on Laurent Bourque‘s new album Pieces of Your Past that are reminiscent of Andrew Bird or Danny Michel.
Much like those artists, the Ottawa songwriter conveys his ideas in songs with glimmering vocal idiosyncrasies. Those tics make any artist stand out over every other angsty guy with a guitar and Bourque is quickly becoming a master of subtle lyrical and musical charm. You hear it all over his new 10-song album, which follows his 2010 debut release What We Talk About.
Pieces of Your Past was recorded live to tape in Ottawa at Little Bullhorn Studios with producer Dave Draves and musicians Jamie Kronick (drums) and Phil Charbonneau (bass). They did two or three takes of each song — and that was it.
“It was a great way to make an album,” Bourque says. “It allows for much more feeling to shine through, which is important for my music.”
The album, full of folk and pop tunes, is a narrative about “love that had to end despite knowing the pain it would cause.” All the little things that happen between the “fragments of memories” are documented in song — as in the pieces of one’s past, hence the title.
Stream the album before catching Laurent’s CD release party on Saturday, April 5 at The Black Sheep Inn.
NEW FROM SOUND OF LIONS
Take Me With You by Ottawa quintet Sound of Lions is full of hurt and a lack of sunshine. There’s a pained expression in vocalist Whitney Delion’s soulful croon on the new album. One word song titles such as “Bedrooms,” “Telephone,” and “Goodbye” underscore the album’s sense of despair. Tracks are delicately embellished with a rock touch by guitarist Will Assad, bass player Joel Soucy, and drummer Marco Campagna. Producer and emcee Christian Awad gives the kick-off track “You and Me” a cinematic hip-hop feel that continues throughout the album.
The 11-track stunner was long in the works. Ottawa Magazine checked in with the band two years ago as they were sketching out ideas for the album and trying to juggle their various styles and interests. Soucy used to play in punk bands, Assad knows his classical music, while Awad has a hip-hop background. Those various influences are reflected lightly: an unpredictable structure gives “When” a punky edge; an uptempo beat provides “Bats” that hummable, head-nodding quality; while “Gray” has an orchestral feel to it. The album’s constant presence is vocalist and onetime Ottawa Magazine cover star Whitney Delion. She gets top billing; her Adele-gone-indie voice plays high in the mix.
“Finding a way to transfer that loose, unguarded feeling to live shows or recordings is something I’m still working on,” she says, noting that she practices singing in the shower.
“I write songs about feelings and frustrations and things that have me all twisted up inside. If sadness is more apparent, I hope it means that my songwriting is stronger than before,” Delion says. “I think it’s important to be as honest as possible in songwriting. Everyone is so closed up these days. It’s refreshing to get a dose of honesty in a song.”
Sound of Lions CD release show takes place Saturday, April 5 at Zaphod’s with Flying Horses. $5.
HELLRAISIN’ AND FUNDRAISING
Did you see Greg Harris (aka Lefty McRighty) in the current edition of Ottawa Magazine? He’s featured in The Sex Issue and discusses intimate details about his marriage. (Now rush to the newsstands all!) In the interview, Harris and his spouse Holly are candid about the benefits and challenges of an open marriage. Harris, by nature, is honest and forthright — characteristics that are also causing him a bit of a headache of late.
A while ago Harris posted a blog that was critical of the Capital Hoedown country music festival, which has a similar name to his alt-country/punk/etc. music festival called the O-town Hoedown.
Capital Hoedown organizer Denis Benoit didn’t like what he read and filed a $250,000 lawsuit against Harris for alleged “irreparable harm” along with “emotional harm” and damages to his reputation, according to the statement of claim. Now, Harris is throwing a fundraiser to offset legal costs.
See five bands and eight burlesque performers on Thursday, April 3 at The Rainbow Bistro. There will be a raffle for prizes from Spaceman Music and Vertigo Records among other retailers. Find show details on their Facebook page and more info on this page made by fans of Harris, who is well known in the music community. Someone even made 125 mL jars of candied ginger-pear “Lefty’s Legal Jam” to help with the fundraising. You can pick one up at the show for $4.