Wed, Oct 10, 2012.
Okay, I'm going to be settled in to the Music New Brunswick events for the rest of the week. They kick off Thursday in Moncton with the first showcases, live performances that all can attend. That goes on each evening, and through the day Saturday as well, and then the awards show itself happens Sunday night. I'll be reporting on everything hot and happening, whatever catches my ears, here on the old East Coast Music blog.
Let's take one last look at one of the nominees for this year's awards, one of the big party bands of the region, and veterans too. They've been around since 2001. The band is one of the very favourites of Acadie, called La Viree. This past summer they launched their third album, called Bayous d'Acadie, and it's landed them nominations for Group Recording of the Year, and Roots/Folk Recording of the Year. Now, you'll notice that's not Francophone group recording, or Francophone Roots/folk recording. Music NB doesn't differentiate between English and French for those categories, and I'm glad they don't. There's no need, and as the nominations show, the jury and fans who vote don't have a problem picking the best works from either language group, and making the comparison. After all, group recording can feature folk like this, or the alternative rock of Penny Blacks, the two classical pianos of Edmund Dawe and Lynn Johnson, Edmundston's Franco-folk rockers The Lonesome Line, or the outlaw country of The Divorcees. Now that's diversity.
La Viree play a great blend of modern and traditional folk music, and it takes in influences from all the music of the region, as well as outside. The group is strongly connected to what's best described as the East Coast sound, which the groups calls "upbeat with a tradition of story-telling", and they point out that as Acadians they have roughly the same influences, the same roots as the English community. So you hear fiddle tunes with guitar solos, step-dancing, a little bit of the Irish Washerwoman, some Great Big Sea rock influence on another number, all part of the stew. These guys also have a fondness for mixing in Cajun sounds, hence the title. There are old-school Cajun fiddle workouts, and more modern rock interpretations too. The tune Dance Crash has slicing slide guitar solo that could have come from Sonny Landreth, and that's high praise in Cajun country.
This band just won't stay still in one style though; Cuckoo's Nest/First Flight is a blend of a traditional song into an original by group member Theo Brideau, which starts a a flute number and then becomes a fiddle showcase, a more moody instrumental, and a nice break to catch your breath from all the partying. Oh, and more cross-pollination: the lead cut L'Alexandra brings together two of the province's folk favourites, as La Viree meets up with Miramichi's Connie and Paul, as the group does a grand cover of that duo's nautical number with a Chatham connection.
So, another fine nominee for this Sunday's awards, and you can also see La Viree in performance in Moncton at Music New Brunswick week, as they are doing a showcase at the Tide and Boar, Thursday night at 10 PM.
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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).