Mon, Jul 30, 2012.
Goodness, if you're anywhere near Moncton Tuesday night, give your ears a treat by heading to the most anticipated disc launch of the year. For the past few months, Moncton's Les Hay Babies have been wowing audiences with their live shows. Now, the group's first proper disc, a six-track EP is being released, with a show at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre at 7 PM. It's called Folio, and features some of the songs that are already favourites with their fans, all original compositions. A bilingual trio, there are four songs in french, and two in english.
The members of Les Hay Babies are all ridiculously young, and already accomplished singers. The three women have a marvelous vocal blend, and superior harmonies, with a sound that's very old and very young at the same time. While there are other female trios around in the roots world, this group has a mix of styles no other can boast, and certainly their Acadian heritage informs a lot of that. They call their music organic indie-folk, and you'll hear everything from old-time melodies to modern blue notes. Sometimes they'll use ancient golden harmonies, like Big Band vocal trios. Other times, they are more high-and-lonesome, like having three Gillian Welch's at once. On the slow On ne reviendra plus en courant, a growling, bluesy lead is echoed by angelic, dreamy high voices behind. Elsewhere, they do matching sighs, add impossibly high notes, and just pretty much thrill with every song.
Everything, apart from a haunting pedal steel on one cut, is acoustic, led by their own guitar, ukelele and banjo, plus bass, some mandolin, and perhaps a dobro or slide. The lyrics, at least on the english side, evoke the old-time as well, with Tumbleweed and Horse On Fire both feeling like they come from a Louis L'Amour story, or a 1940's Western. Except nobody ever sang this good. The trio have already had a busy concert summer, and August sees them in Europe at the huge, influential Interceltique Festival of Lorient, France, and then back home for festival dates here as well, including Moncton's Messtival on August 11th, Dieppe's Acadian Festival on the 15th, Acadie Rock on the 17th, and the Larlee Creek Hullabaloo in Perth-Andover, Aug.18-19.
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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).