Music Review: Julie Doiron - So Many Days

Julie Doiron fans always look forward to her appearances in the province, and they have been plentiful over the years, even during the times when she has lived elsewhere. That's why Saturday's show at Parkingdale Hall in Albert County has taken on extra significance, as it's the only provincial date for the launch tour for her new album, So Many Days. It's Doiron's 13th solo album, plus several with Eric's Trip. Having just hit 40, it's funny to think of her as a mature artist, as she's still a poster-person for the alternative crowd, but hey, I guess we're getting older too.

splash_somanydays.jpg
Like her past two albums, this one is also co-produced by Eric's Trip bandmate Rick White, in his trademark up-close, clean but home-made style. Really, Doiron's vocals have never sounded as present and personable, and her singing so powerful. Part of that no doubt is the increasing amount she's been performing with bands the last couple of years. While solo work continues for some gigs, she's been loving rockin' and rolling with her own groups, or as part of Gord Downie's troupe The Country Of Miracles. Instead of being overwhelmed by the occasional distorted guitar lines from White, she digs a little deeper, rising with the energy. And when things are soft, she's that much more in your head.

When Doiron's songs are at their most powerful, such as the country-folk flavoured The Gambler, she's singing right in your ear, with a story that lets you into her life for that time. No one puts across her emotions better, probably because they are so obviously real and so brutally honest. There seems to be no filter between her mind and her pen, no self-editing, no attempt to hide her fears and frustrations. Song after song, it's like we're right with her late at night, when nothing else but her mind is working.

Many of these cuts have been road-tested over the past year, and White and Doiron have done much to adorn them and improve them with extra touches. There are some excellent harmony moments, multiple Doirons entering the picture as a chorus of angels. There are some droning backgrounds that add to the atmosphere, and nasty buzzing guitar that gives several songs an edge against the natural beauty of her voice and notes. But overall, it's still sparse music, and no more powerful than the penultimate track, Homeless, which features her unaccompanied at times, or joined just by a shuddering, deep bass line. As a reflection of her nomadic life over the years, moving place to place on endless tours, and moving homes almost yearly for family needs, the fear and anguish that hits you from this song is as loud as a Marshall stack.

Doiron has recently been posting Facebook comments that speak of the frustration in her life over this grind she's been on for twenty years, and musing about quitting as a full-time musician, finding a real job and settling down. Of course, that's a reflection of the realities of a musician's life, and could just be a fleeting moment that will pass with a good run of shows and better paydays. However, with such a strong album, only one show in the province for the near future, and such retirement hints, it adds up to a very good reason to make the Parkingdale road trip Saturday, Dec. 1.

more »

Latest East Coast Music Reviews

Tomato/Tomato top the awards nominations for Music NB
Tomato/Tomato top the awards nominations for Music NB
Sep 21, 1:15 PM

Saint John folk duo Tomato/Tomato lead the way in this year's nominations for Music New Brunswick awards. The husband-and-wife team has grabbed six nominations, including those for Album of the Year, Group Recording of the Year and Song of the... more »

 Hot Toddy reunion a Harvest highlight
Hot Toddy reunion a Harvest highlight
Sep 20, 6:05 PM

On stage at Fredericton's Playhouse on Saturday, the members of Hot Toddy had more to share than just music. Bass player Tom Easley had brought along a band tour journal that had been kept in the van from 2001-2003, full... more »

Samantha Martin brings exciting blues-gospel vocals to Harvest Fest
Samantha Martin brings exciting blues-gospel vocals to Harvest Fest
Sep 18, 3:58 PM

The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is well-known for introducing new, exciting acts to the East Coast that wouldn't normally tour in this area.  They might be from Los Angeles or New Orleans, or some of the best Canadian groups... more »

Steve Hill brings Juno-winning, one-man band to Harvest
Steve Hill brings Juno-winning, one-man band to Harvest
Sep 17, 3:58 PM

As the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival celebrates its 25th year, several favourite acts from the past have been invited back, including some that haven't been around for quite awhile. Even though he lives in Montreal, this year's Juno Award-winning... more »

EARTHBOUND TRIO launches new album at Harvest gig
EARTHBOUND TRIO launches new album at Harvest gig
Sep 16, 3:51 PM

How busy is Fredericton during Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival week? It's delaying some Federal government work, that's how busy. A friend of mine, a government employee from another city, e-mailed me a couple of weeks ago to say she... more »

Amy Helm continuing Dad Levon's legacy at Harvest fest
Amy Helm continuing Dad Levon's legacy at Harvest fest
Sep 15, 3:06 PM

It was a Harvest show that went down as a classic for the people crowding in the Blues tent in 2011. Levon Helm and his great big 13-piece band rolled into Fredericton for the jazz and blues festival, and stole... more »

View all reviews for September 2015 »

About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob 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).

Share this review