If you were to draw broad strokes, you could say that the music contained on this CD is classic old-time mountain music.
The “primer coat” of this CD may be old-time mountain music, but to leave the description there, would be grossly simplistic and leave a false impression of what is contained within these tracks.
I think the self-titled CD, by Annie Lou, is a study in balance.
The music that is created here is a child of that most interesting of forms, the English folk tradition.
Filtered through generations of talented musicians and performed with soul here in the Yukon, Anne Louise Genest and her sisters in song, with the exception of one brother, have gotten to the nub, the Zen, the existential core of the genre.
Tall words, five-dollar words some might reckon, for some simple-sounding music. Perhaps, but let me follow through.
Genest wrote nine of the 14 songs on this CD. Of the others, Kim Barlow wrote two, and the remaining three are classic traditional interpretations.
Some of the saddest songs I’ve heard this year are on this album. This is not a bad thing, but displays the fact that Genest has a real handle on the blues. She can write and sing a real sad song.
Are You Sure, Lord? and Emmaline are fine, sad tunes worthy of much airplay. Living in Caroline has a haunting refrain and even has, within its heartbreaking construct, a great hook.
However, let’s look past the sadness to what makes this album such a great listen.
If you are looking for some good sawing and plucking, you need not look further than any of the traditional tunes they cover. Check out Kitchen Girl/Tater Patch for one that shifts gears back and forth.
Spit and Polish would be the feel-good single on the album. A real toe tapper, you can see a live performance of it on their MySpace page.
Trouble and Strife and The Whippoorwill both ask the universal question: What more could possibly make my day extra special?
I Wish I Felt This Good Without the Whiskey comes to the realization that, in the sober light of day, “If I did, I would leave the whiskey alone.” Sound advice.
Kim Barlow’s Chicken Bone, which, apart from being a classic Barlow tune, had the added reality of being on the CD player while CBC radio was talking about the possibility of people raising chickens in the city.
An unexpected coincidence or a cosmic conspiracy?
Lindy Jones, playing upright bass, and Keitha Clark on fiddle, round out the live band with brother Sammy Lind playing fiddle on many of the tracks of the CD. All in all, some of the best singer/songwriters in the Yukon today.
Check out their website at www.annielou.ca, which is linked to www.myspace.com/annielouyukon where you can hear some songs from the Annie Lou CD and check out live dates in your area.
The self-titled CD, Annie Lou, is available at your favourite local CD shop.