5 years of making music in Jeff Boudreau's backseat
'Jeff's Musical Car,' the award-winning online series from Moncton, has featured Canadian icons, rising stars
Jeff Boudreau knows there is something magical about singing along to your favourite song in the car, with the windows down.
But the Moncton music-lover took that notion one step further when he created his successful show, "Jeff's Musical Car," which is celebrating its five-year anniversary.
The fun of it is seeing how a band, especially a full band that's used to performing with a lot of instruments, can strip down their music and make it work in this setting.- Jeff Boudreau
Boudreau credits the success of the web series to its simplicity.
Musicians crowd into his back seat for conversation, live acoustic performances and a drive around Moncton.
"I love music and part of the fun thing is I get to meet all these really cool musicians … that a lot of people would never get to meet — let alone have them play music in your backseat," Boudreau said.
"This is the most intimate venue we've ever played," Rankin joked as she performed in Boudreau's backseat in a 2016 episode as the car cruised through downtown Moncton.
Childhood hero in top episodes
Boudreau said his top three episodes to date are Fred Penner, the Trews and Colter Wall.
He met Penner in 2014 when he was performing at a music festival in Hillsborough.
"That was a fun one — a childhood hero," Boudreau said. "Like a lot of people from my generation you had Mr. Dressup, Fred Penner and Sesame Street and since I couldn't get Big Bird in the backseat, he was a little too big, I decided to go with Fred Penner."
Boudreau believes the secret to his show's longevity is the simple formula and the spontaneity. In each episode he talks music, songwriting and touring with his guests, and then they play an acoustic version of a song they choose.
"The fun of it is seeing how a band, especially a full band that's used to performing with a lot of instruments, can strip down their music and make it work in this setting."
Maritime band the Trews is number two on Boudreau's top three list.
Colin MacDonald and John-Angus MacDonald confessed to Boudreau that while on tour they love to play "bad golf" and also enjoy "bad karoke."
"I met [the Trews] at the airport and they were playing at the Casino, so I guess in a way I was their driver and maybe that was kind of the plan," he laughed.
Rounding out Boudreau's top three is a 2015 episode featuring Canadian country singer Colter Wall.
At the time, Wall was a complete unknown but that didn't last, Boudreau said.
"A song of his was shared on Twitter by Stone Cold Steve Austin and his career just skyballed from there. He's my most viewed video, with 50,000 views and I'm pretty sure this kid's going to be a big name in country music. He already is."
It's not carpool karaoke
Boudreau has heard the comparisons between his show and James Corden's popular segment, "Carpool Karaoke" on The Late Late Show.
"A lot of people who are new to my series will think it's kind of a spinoff of his show," he said.
"I've had someone message me asking me why I was ripping him off — like I had no idea this guy existed five years ago ... you kind of just have to take it as a compliment that people are comparing it."
Boudreau, who doesn't get paid for the series, said the biggest surprise so far have been the awards he's received.
In 2015 he won an East Coast Music Award for media person of the year and a second trophy for media outlet of the year. He has since won another ECMA as media outlet of the year and two New Brunswick Music Awards.
"It was amazing," he said of the recognition.
"It feels really great and kind of gives you that boost to keep going and to know that there could be greater things on the horizon."
Boudreau said his show averages about 10,000 views per month on You Tube, a number that has gone up steadily over the years.
"The first couple of years it was 500 a month, then 1,000 a month, so to watch it increase over the years I've been doing this — it's been really rewarding."
On Saturday, Nov. 18, Boudreau will celebrate the five-year anniversary of "Jeff's Musical Car" with some of his favourite past performers. Halifax-based Alert the Medic and Mike Bochoff will perform at Plan b in Moncton.
"It's going to a be a good time. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of familiar faces from previous episodes."