I am not going to apologize for the many optimistic statements I have thrown out for most of this year – and certainly not for how often have I included lines such as “2022 has been a great year for new music” and/or “it is so good to catch live artists in concert once more” in my musings. For us live-music junkies, 2021 offered very few (if any) opportunities to travel and enjoy in-person events – a blot on the timeline that has fortunately been erased by the near-return-to-normal nature that this current year has provided us.
When it comes to Montreal, QC singer-songwriter Geneviève Racette, I know that I am not alone in sharing such sentiments about 2022 being a much better year. Back in March, Geneviève released her third full-length studio album, “Satellite,” which was very much welcomed by GDW’s Richard Clark, who stated that this was a collection of songs that “spreads like warm butter on hot toast, and takes you way down into the chill-out zone – so soothing, I can almost feel the world becoming an infinitely better place as I listen.” For Geneviève, performing these new tunes at album release parties in both QC and ON would follow, as would an invitation to the prestigious NERFA conference earlier this month, and with it, an opportunity to add a few dates for her debut US tour. New music – check! Live music – check! Geneviève Racette visiting our part of the continent – perfect! Just like I said, no apologies from this peanut gallery.
“Good evening, everyone. Bonsoir mon,” Geneviève offered to a full room of patrons at Severeid House in Alexandria, VA last Friday evening – for us, a highly-anticipated date on her small tour. Performing in this architecturally stunning mid-century modern home on the outskirts of Washington DC, Geneviève quickly discovered an engaged crowd who were eager to enjoy and learn about her music – sparking an evening of perfect synergy between audience and artist. “This is my first-time playing shows in the United States, and this one is going to be hard to beat,” she stated following a pair of tunes taken from her 2019 “No Water, No Flowers” album. “You know when you tour sometimes, and you play somewhere, and there’s like five people. And now, look at you all. [It’s] my first time here and I can’t believe it, thank you very much.”
Several tunes from “Satellite” would naturally be performed, including fabulous versions of “Hostage,” “Maybe,” and “Change My Mind,” with frequent tales offered behind the songs – from constantly bumping into an ex-partner in the unlikeliest of places around her home city, to meeting her current partner when least expected during Folk Music Alliance in Kansas City. And, with the incredible success of her Canadian radio (and SXM radio) hit “Someone” earlier this year, we very much enjoyed Geneviève’s recollection about turning this original song into a popular duet.
“There is a song on Satellite that will ever be extremely special, because I collaborated with a singer-songwriter from Canada called Dallas Green. He’s in a band called City & Colour, he’s also in a rock band called Alexisonfire, and he also has a duet with Pink. So, he sings with Pink, and with Geneviève Racette – I don’t know what he was thinking. He was, and still is, an idol of mine,” she reminisced. “So, during Covid, we had a conversation about music and songwriting, and he sent me some of his demos, and I sent him some of my demos. He wrote back to me and said there was a song called Someone – he said ‘I love that song, and would you be cool with me doing a feature on that on your record?’.”
Geneviève was frequently encouraged to perform some tunes in her native French language by the Severeid House audience, and happily obliged. “I grew up in a family of five. I have a big sister and a little brother, and we grew up in a small bungalow [with] one bathroom. It’s actually a generational house, I was raised there, my mother was also raised there,” she offered prior to a performance of “Maison d’oiseaux.” “I realize how special it was to have that place I could go back to. It’s always home, and this is an old song, and I rarely sing it, but I felt a little homesick today, so I thought it was a good occasion to sing it.”
Adding “Sans Toi,” from her 2019 album, Geneviève conversed with the room some more. “This one translates to Without You, and it’s funny, because when I wrote this song – I like slow sad songs – I thought it was not the most popular type of song,” she commenced. “But apparently it is, because it is my most streamed song on Spotify. Almost a million streams* on this slow sad song, so I’m not the only one.” (*802,960 streams, at time of writing). And as we approached a full hour of music from this talented artist, for her finale, Geneviève set aside her plans for a “singalong song” to instead satisfy the cravings of her audience, and calls for one more French song. “Actually, today, I released a new version of this song, it’s an acoustic version where I play the piano,” she stated, prior to closing with “Les adieux,” the only French track from her “Satellite” album. “Thank you so much again, I am so happy about being here. This made the whole tour, thank you so much.”
- No Water, No Flowers
- Miles Away
- Maison d’oiseaux
- Sans Toi
- Magnetic Love
- Change My Mind
- Les adieux