Album Review - Yves Lambert Trio / Trio

I've got a huge love for the music of Québécois folk legend Yves Lambert. To me, he is one of the two great voices of Québec (the other being his former bandmate from La Bottine Souriante, André Marchand), with a voice that embodies the truly Québécois lust-for-life. Thankfully Yves has been getting his due as an iconic figure of Québécois traditional music. His last album, Bal à l'Huile, featured him dueting with famous Canadian musicians like popular French-Canadian rock musicians Éric LaPointe, Canadian roots band The Duhks, and First Nations musical legend Florent Vollant. The highlight was his epic duet with LaPointe on the truly great medieval French song, "L'ivrogne et le pénitent" (The Drunkard and the Pilgrim). It's a lengthy conversation that beautifully and poetically highlights the divide between the religious life and the street life.

In contrast to the size of Yves' last album, which featured his Bébert Orchestra, the new album is strictly a trio affair. Just Yves on one-row button accordion and vocals with longtime collaborators fiddler Tommy Gauthier and guitarist Olivier Rondeau. Both Gauthier and Rondeau have a strong background in jazz studies (as do many young traditional artists in Québec, the result of an extensive system of music education in the schools), but they've also got the taste to subvert the traditions rather than overwhelm them with new sounds. That's what makes this album so delicious. You can hear it in the way they approach the set "Suite pour Johnny Connolly" (three Irish tunes): they play through them in a traditional manner, but flip the rhythms around enough to make it sound new, and play with the rhythms, alternating slow and fast. All in order to really get at the joyful heart of the tunes.

Yves Lambert TrioTrio.
2012. La Prûche Libre.

(Click album cover below to listen to the album on Bandcamp)




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