Including Natalie MacMaster, Catherine MacLellan, Laura Smith, The Once and Stephen Fearing among the guest artists on Canadian Girl
September 17 – The Company House, Halifax, NS with guest Dylan Guthro
September 22 -Best Western Manoir Adelaide, Dalhousie, NB
September 24 – La Petite Eglize, Gaspe, QC
October 6 – Centre Ambroise, Montreal, QC with guest Dale Boyle
October 7 – The Rainbow Bistro, Ottawa, ON
October 8 – The Spill, Peterborough, ON
October 9 – Acoustic Grill, Picton, ON
October 12 – London Music Club, ON
October 13 – Bohemian Fridays, Dunnville, ON
October 14 – Little Bean Coffee Bar, Kitchener, ON
October 16 – The Pearl Company, Hamilton, ON
October 18 – C’est What, Toronto, ON
October 19 – The Moonshine Café, Oakville, ON
October 22 – Pearl Theatre, Lunenburg (with Ken Whiteley), NS
October 28 – Vintage Bistro, Hampton, NB
October 29 – House Concert, Fredericton, NB
November 7 – Ironwood Stage & Grill, Calgary, AB
November 10 – WISE Hall, Vancouver, BC with special guest
November 11- Duncan Garage, Duncan BC
November 12 – Merlin’s Sun Home Theatre, Victoria, BC
November 13 -House Concert, Ladner, BC
November 15 – Voodoo’s, Penticton, BC
November 16 – Minstrel Café, Kelowna, BC
November 24 – The Rose and Kettle, Dartmouth, NS
November 25 – Evening Primrose B&B-House Concert, North Tryon, PEI
November 26 – The Dunk, Breadalbane, PEI
November 27 – Marigold Cultural Centre, Truro, NS with guest Alycia Putnam
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
The Six String Nation Guitar
Aaron Currie (NB)
Brent Tyler (AB)
Carlin Lemon (Manitoba)
Catherine MacLellan (PEI)
Dale Boyle (Quebec)
Dominique Dupuis (NB)
Emmanuelle LeBlanc of Vishten (PEI)
The Fates (AB)
The Inuksuk Drum Dancers (Nunavut)
Jessica Rhaye (NB)
Joel Fafard (Sask)
Kate Reid (Ontario)
Kim Beggs (Yukon)
Laura Smith (NS)
Leela Gilday (NWT)
Lynn Hanson (Ontario)
Marie-Josée Dandeneau of Oh My Darling (Manitoba)
Natalie MacMaster (NS)
The Once (NL)
Shari Ulrich and Julia Graff (BC)
Stephen Fearing (Ontario)
Additional artists include Bob Hamilton, Robbie Steinenger, Bill Buckingham, Spencer Capier, Graeme Cole and Tim King