Tay River Gallery
Linda Grenier, accomplished folks/blues singer from Lanark County has recently released her latest CD “Asphalt Ramblings” which is now available for sale in the gallery. Linda calls her music “county” music not “country” and not really folk, with a bit of blue grass feel to it. Lanark County is home to some of Canada’s finest bluegrass fiddlers, pickers and step dancers. Don’t be surprised if you hear yours truly humming along to Linda’s catchy tunes as the CD plays in the gallery.
Contemplate County Life with Linda Grenier
The “Life along the Rideau” Music Series continues this Friday with a performer whose musical lyrics have been said to find you chuckling and contemplating county life.
On Friday, May 31st, the Rideau Canal Museum welcomes McDonalds Corners’ Linda Grenier as the next feature musician of the popular monthly music series. Linda is an accomplished Lanark County singer/songwriter who released her first CD in November 2000 and is currently working on another.
“I want my audience to experience the music that I have created and hopefully they will connect with the words and the music and leave feeling comfortable, relaxed and ready to face another day in this crazy fast paced world.” says Grenier. www.lindagrenier.htmlplanet.com/
Her folk/blues style recently caught the interest of Martyn Rennick, whose amazing acoustic lead guitar progressions combined with Linda’s sultry voice, rhythm guitar and harmonica make for a duo that can smooth the blues out of any venue.
In its charming 80 seat auditorium, the Rideau Canal Museum hosts, in the early evening, a family-oriented concert on the last Friday of each month. The setting provides, for performers and audience alike, a uniquely intimate experience in a smoke-free, alcohol-free environment. This event is made in partnership with The Damn Musicians’ FUNd and Rob Roy’s Pub.
The Rideau Canal Museum concert starts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 31st. Tickets are for adults and for children under 12 and may be reserved by calling (613) 284-0505. The Rideau Canal Museum is located at 34 Beckwith St. South, Smiths Falls.
Full Spectrum Review 4 Stars out of 5!
Folk singer Linda Grenier releases her debut CD with Asphalt Ramblings. Although her name is the only one that appears on the front cover, Kevin Sullivan and Keith Glass should receive equal congratulations for putting out this gem of a CD.
Linda sang and wrote the lyrics and played the occasional harmonica with Kevin and Keith arranging and playing the other musical instruments (except drums adeptly played by Steve Foley).
The music is well played and the arrangements are remembered long after the CD stops and Keith and Kevin should be congratulated. But as this is a folk album, and with folk albums, it’s not the music (it is only there to compliment the singer), it’s not the voice (listen to Bob Dylan or Neil Young’s pipes to understand), but the lyrics and through them the meaning of the song, that makes or breaks an album of this sort.
Linda’s talent as a lyricist is sporadic. She can create a catchy tune (as “Train Wreck” and “Find the Kitchen” are) or come up with a brilliant idea for an original folksong (as “You’ll Get Through” demonstrates) but then tarnishes them somewhat with either a sub par rhyme or loss of focus.
There are two mistakes that even the greatest songwriters will invariably commit. It is not easy to write a superb song.
The first mistake is attempting to rhyme two lines of a song with the same word. Linda commits this poetical error on her first song “Train Wreck”. She attempts to rhyme “locomotive” with “motive”. This type of mistake makes the lyricist look amateurish as if her vocabulary is limited and she couldn’t find the right word. On this song it occurs in the chorus, which makes it even more noticeable with the added repetition.
The second mistake a songwriter can make and it becomes even more glaring than the first as it is easier to avoid (no rhyming involved) is the use of the same word twice in the same proximity. It makes the lyricist appear lazy as if the search for a different word; with a similar meaning is too much of a burden. Linda blunders in this way on “Carry On” with “time” or “times”, on “Find the Kitchen” with “kid”, and on “You’ll Get Through” repeatedly with “hard”.
When speaking of a lack of focus (I mentioned it earlier) we can look to “You’ll Get Through” for a good example. Where Gordon Lightfoot reached it with “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and Bob Dylan did the same with “Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts”, this song, if it was discovered by someone with more influence than yours truly, might of reached the pinnacle of folk idolatry if not for its schizophrenia. The song begins by telling the story of a woman who leaves Ireland (“Isle of Green”) to come to Canada with her nine kids and husband. The husband leaves her with the children. The song moves forward to speak of the oldest son, who at seven years of age, becomes the man of the house. At this point, the story loses its momentum and speaks of four kids (instead of the previous nine) and then mentions the father going off to war and a daughter who feels unloved. How the father re-entered the picture is beyond the inkling of this reviewer unless the story has changed to a different family, and if so, it is even more disjointed.
If we forget that a farm cannot be found “down the lane” (a line in the song), as a farm is located in the country, and fail to point out once more the repeated use of the word “hand”, we can easily realize the potential for greatness that this song could attain. You assume that it will relate the story of the mass emigrations of the Irish (to Canada) during the potato famine of 1845-1850 through the eyes of one family. This is a great subject for a Canadian folk song and it is a disappointment that it didn’t reach fruition with “You’ll Get Through”.
With the negativity that your reviewer has thus far extolled you might conclude that he has a dislike for Asphalt Ramblings. If you made this assumption you would be incorrect. Folk is a favourite genre of this reviewer and he has a tendency to become overcritical. For every flaw this CD occasionally displays, it has four other reasons to love it. Even with the minor flubs, all the songs so far mentioned have their charm and merits. With “Train Wreck” it’s the melody, with “Find the Kitchen” it’s the humour, and with “Carry On” it’s the shear force of will to get through hard times. There is a reason that these three songs have received radio play.
It is almost criminal that other songs off the album (especially “Plain Old Me” and “Way Down”) did not receive the same consideration. “Plain Old Me” is brilliant for its simplicity. Great folk songs either have a great story to tell or have a positive message to extol. “Plain Old Me” is of the latter category. To be comfortable in one’s own skin is the starting point on the journey toward happiness. “Plain Old Me” points out this truth.
“Way Down” (this reviewers favourite song of the CD) has Linda’s best lyrical writing. I will repeat a section below:
“But way down, way low down
Where only you can go
There is a place, there is a place
That nobody else knows
You must go there and find yourself
Feel the strength to go on
You will need to return there when
Everyone else is gone.”
If that is not lyrical beauty of the highest degree, your humble reviewer does not know what is!
You can purchase this CD, through Linda’s website at: www.lindagrenier.com. This listener (and now fan) highly suggests you do.
BY SCOTT BROWN