August 15, 2011
Bonnie Ste-Croix launches pan-Canadian recording project Canadian Girl
Including Natalie MacMaster, Catherine MacLellan, Laura Smith, The Once and Stephen Fearing among the guest artists. (see end of release for full list of guest artists)
September 17 – The Company House, Halifax
September 22 – Bistro, Dalhousie (NB)
September 24 – La Petite Eglize, Gaspe
October 6 – Centre Ambroise, Montreal with guest Dale Boyle
October 7 – The Rainbow Bistro, Ottawa with guest TBA
October 8 – The Spill, Peterborough with guest TBA
October 9 – Acoustic Grill, Picton
October 11- L-Lounge, Kitchener
October 12 – London Music Club
October 13 – Bohemian Fridays, Dunnville
October 14 and 15 – OCFF
October 16 – The Pearl Company, Hamilton
October 19 – The Moonshine Café, Oakville
October 22 – Pearl Theatre, Lunenburg (with Ken Whitely)
October 28 – Vintage Bistro, Hampton
November 3-5 – Nova Scotia Music Week
November 11 – WISE Hall, Vancouver with special guest Shari Ulrich for BC Song
November 12 – House Concert
November 13 – House Concert, Ladner
November 16 – Minstrel Café, Kelowna
November 24 – The Rose and Kettle, Dartmouth
November 25 – Evening Primrose B&B-House Concert, North Tryon PEI
November 26 – The Dunk, Breadalbane, PEI
November 27 – Marigold Cultural Centre, Truro, NS
December 3rd – Parkindale Hall, Albert County, NB (tent)
The idea is just so Canadian it’s amazing someone didn’t think of it years ago: travel across the country, record a song in each province, invite guest musicians from each region – like, say, Natalie McMaster, Catherine MacLellan and Stephen Fearing – into the studio with you, and get the Six String Nation guitar in there for good measure.
Well, Bonnie Ste-Croix has just made that quintessential Canadian album.
This fall, Ste-Croix launches Canadian Girl, a collection of 13 timeless-sounding roots songs recorded in 14 different studios in 12 towns with a total of 46 musicians and singers from all corners of the nation.
Canadian Girl was conceived when the Gaspe-born singer-songwriter, whose roots-pop songs have several times crossed over to commercial radio, decided last year to move her family from Vancouver to Halifax to be closer to her ailing mother.
As she contemplated the impending road trip, she realized just how at home she felt in each city of Canada and how much she looked forward to seeing her old friends and visiting her favourite landmarks. She began to see all of Canada as one big home town and decided to make an album to celebrate that idea.
While Ste-Croix and her family cleaned out the old home, packed boxes and filled their trailer with camping gear, she also began making phone calls – booking studio time in each province and inviting artists to join her there. Traveling across the country, she stopped in the Western Provinces and recorded. Then, as soon as she’d settled into Halifax, she went back out on the road, hitting the provinces and territories she missed along the way and recording tracks with some of those regions’ best-known exports.
If there’s such a thing as a timeless, classic, Canadian-sounding roots album, Canadian Girl is it. Ste-Croix’s mellifluous, honeyed vocals are layered over gorgeous harmony tracks and sweet, homespun acoustic roots instrumentation. The players include multiple Juno-winning fiddler MacMaster, WCMA-winning guitarist Joel Fafard, Juno-winning singer-songwriter-guitarist Fearing (on the Six String Nation guitar), and legendary Quebec fiddler Claude Methé – along with his family band, Dentdelion. The voices include ECMA-winner MacLellan, B.C. Entertainment Hall of Famer Shari Ulrich, Juno-winning Yellowknife artist Leela Gilday, two-time CFMA-winning Newfoundland singers The Once, and WCMA-nominated Yukon songwriter Kim Beggs.
Yet despite the fact that Ste-Croix’s ensemble changes almost entirely from song to song – only long-time musical friends, guitarist Robbie Steininger and producer Bill Buckingham perform on the majority of the tracks – the sound is remarkably consistent. Ste-Croix recorded the basic tracks with Buckingham and sent them to the artists ahead of time so they could figure out how to work their way into the sound. She also took over production duties “on location” then worked with Buckingham to mix the final product into a cohesive collection. Most importantly, Ste-Croix eschewed writing pieces that would mimic regional styles, choosing instead to stick with her time-tested blend of story songs and personal narratives with messages as enduring as the album’s sound. Throw in plenty of lyrical references to local landscapes and you get a pure, sweet, joyful-sounding collection of Canadiana.
Ste-Croix was born into a musical family in Gaspe, Quebec and showed promise as a vocalist from the age of six. Her debut album, Flying High, released in 1996, was in heavy rotation on Vancouver’s Z95.3 FM. It was picked up by Sony Music in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and had independent distribution throughout Asia. Her follow-up, 2002’s Summer June, included two songs that ended up in films. “Gravity” was heard in Vic Sarin’s Deluxe Combo Platter, and “Complete Me” was featured in The Party Never Stops. The album received local commercial radio play from both QM FM and Clear FM. Ste-Croix’s most recent album, 2007’s Here I Am, has received airplay from as far away as Montreal’s Mix 96 and Toronto’s EZ Rock, and the title track earned an Honorable Mention in the Billboard World Song Contest. Last year, Ste-Croix performed at Robson Square during the Olympic Games in Vancouver, and one of her songs was chosen for a compilation album honouring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Guests on Canadian Girl Album
Natalie MacMaster (NS) and Laura Smith (NS)
The Once (NL)
Stephen Fearing (Ontario) and Kate Reid (Ontario) and Lynn Hanson (Ontario)
Shari Ulrich and Julia Graff (BC)
The Fates (AB) and Brent Tyler (AB)
Marie-Josée Dandeneau of Oh My Darling (Manitoba) and Carlin Lemon (Manitoba)
Catherine MacLellan (PEI) and Emmanuelle LeBlanc of Vishten (PEI)
Dale Boyle (Quebec) and Dentdelion (Quebec)
Dominique Dupuis (NB) and Jessica Rhaye (NB) and Aaron Currie (NB)
Joel Fafard (Sask) and Farideh (Sask)
The Inuksuk Drum Dancers (Nunavut)
Kim Beggs (Yukon)
Leela Gilday (NWT)
and The Six String Nation Guitar
Additional artists include Bob Hamilton, Robbie Steinenger, Bill Buckingham, Spencer Capier, Graeme Cole and Tim King