Tue, Apr 3, 2012.
Sunday night, while the nabobs and omnipotents of the Canadian music industry were celebrating at the annual Juno Awards, a funny thing was taking place over in the real world. A check of the iTunes store, that newfangled place where people buy music these days, had an interesting entry at the top of the album sales chart. It wasn't Michael Buble, the winner of Album of the Year (of course, it's not Christmas anymore, so no surprise there). Nor was it The Sheepdogs or Feist or Drake or Beiber, other popular names of the night. It wasn't Madonna or Adele either, the artists who held down the #2 and #3 positions on the chart.
I'm willing to bet 95 per cent of the (English) Canadian music industry would not have been able to guess who was number one that night, and that the same amount would never have heard of the artist when they were told. But mention the name in Francophone music circles right now, and she's the hottest thing around. Best of all, she's a New Brunswick homegrown talent, one-of-a-kind, carving out a new music as she goes, and gathering fans with every move. Her highly-anticipated debut disc arrived last week, and, well, as you know, it's already doing great.
Lisa LeBlanc is from the metropolis of Rosaireville, and I'm also willing to bet she's the first of the hamlet's 40 inhabitants to top any chart. Barely out of her teens, she grabbed one of the top prizes in French music in 2010, winning the Granby International Song Contest. With the significant prize money from that in her pocket, she set about recording, making sure it was going to be a strong one.
The first notes you hear on the self-titled debut are purposefully deceiving, some light plucking on the banjo. It's as if to fool you into believing this is some rural Acadian folk album. That notion, and the whole record, explodes a few seconds in, as the banjo and band bring on the volume. LeBlanc is a whirlwind on banjo, guitar and vocals. She's a force, a dynamo, ripping into the songs with gusto, humour and joy. This is big, loud, modern Acadian music, with nods to the folk past but mostly about the fun of today. There's no-one to compare her to, and she'd be alone in her group just playing solo. But on the disc, there's much more. It was produced by Karkwa's Louis-Jean Cormier, an inspired choice, as his Quebecois rock chops fit right in to her rugged style. J'pas un cowboy gets rockabilly twang, Chanson d'une Rouspeteuse is a wild, lyric-spitting novelty number, country-punk via Acadie.
She curses, she rants, she calls her music folk-trash, but as francophone media are swiftly pointing out, she has the soul of a poet, a tragic side and a romantic one. On a night when a Christmas disc won Album Of The Year at the Junos, and grabbing lots of headlines, I have to say the most excitement in the country was really coming from one bright young Acadian, with the sales figures to back it up, too.
For those of you who were excited by David Myles' recent collaboration with hip-hop artist Classified on Inner NInja, the hit single that brought them the 2013 Juno for Rap Recording of the Year, there's good news: In The... more »
Indie music was always supposed to be different from the mainstream, pushing the edge. But for the past couple of decades, ever since Nirvana went ballistic, indie has followed the same pattern: As soon as there's something fresh, there... more »
The Mahones have been carrying the torch for Irish punk music since forming in Kingston, Ontario in 1990. Featuring front man Finny McConnell, born in Dublin and raised on both traditional Irish sounds and classic punk, the group has enjoying... more »
His story is so spectacular, it's enough to draw you into his music, he's led that kind of life. There's no room to tell it all here, drop by jontnet.com for more, but a capsulized version goes like this: Born... more »
Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).