Review: Coco Love Alcorn, “Rebirth”

Coco Love Alcorn - Rebirth

As a performer, Coco Love Alcorn combines diverse musical influences including jazz, R&B, pop, folk, and Gospel. Her love of improvising, and willingness to engage with the audience has made her an established presence on the Canadian music scene.

Born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and now based in Owen Sound, Ontario, her career has spanned more than 20 years, 12 (9 solo) albums, cross-Canada tours, collaborations, festival appearances, award nominations, and notable success in TV and film licensing.

I heard Coco Love perform a couple of years ago and was blown away by her use of a loop machine utilizing her vocal prowess to create amazing rhythms, when the latest release from her came through the door, just last week, I was intrigued to see whether that might have been incorporated in some way onto this album, I was not prepared for what I was about to listen to. If I was to describe this release to you in just one word, that word would be ‘Astounding’!

There are so many layers to some of these amazing tracks that it is without doubt one of the best releases I have heard this year. Exquisite harmonies and a spectacular array of instrumentation have been used throughout, ranging from snaps and claps to brushes on a bodhran, Violin, Viola, Cello, Trombone, organ, clavinet, Piano, Ukelele and that’s just a cross section, include of course the amazing vocal loops (listen to track 2 to get an idea) which I had so eagerly anticipated, and that’s all before the main vocal hits you with beautifully crafted songs and delivery from start to finish.

It takes a great mind to think ahead about a track and what it requires before entering the recording studio, it takes a genius to produce the ideas onto an album like this, it abounds with creativity on song after song, in this case make that two genius minds, as the album was co produced by Coco Love and Corwin Fox at Hidden Well Studio in Cumberland, British Columbia. They have come up with a masterpiece in ‘Rebirth”, vocally Coco Love is on fire pulling out all the stops from the outset on the title track ‘Rebirth’, to ‘Save Me’ and the spectacular and anthemic ‘Noughatty Centre’, I have visions of her performing this song in particular at stadiums across the country, I can also see many of these tracks lending themselves to performances that include choirs, such depth to many of them.

Not only does Alcorn pull it off with the upbeats, she so tenderly alludes to the loss of love in tracks like ‘Beautiful Mess’ and ‘I Forgive Myself’, so beautiful, yet, so very sad. I feel as though I have been on a very emotional journey listening to ‘Rebirth’, I have emerged on the other side having witnessed a strong character pull together a symphony of great beauty, it could not have finished any better than with the two tracks chosen, ‘The Keeper’ is a song written by Alcorn, one which conveys a remarkable message and reminds me to love myself from within first before anything else,  it ends with a track penned by Harry Dixon Loes in 1920, one that we all know so well called ‘Let It Shine’, this track is taken to incredible heights by Alcorn and sends me out into the world letting everyone see that I do have value and I’m not afraid to let anyone see it.

There is no one in this country that sings like Coco Love Alcorn, she has such command of her immense vocal range, add to that her compositional skills, her fearless approach to performing what her heart sings to her, and the deep beauty that lies within her soul that we glimpse in each and ever line she delivers with such power and grace, ‘Rebirth’ is an astounding body of work.

An award winning piper, composer and singer / songwriter from Edinburgh, Scotland now based in Ontario, Canada, Stevie is the founder of Blues and Roots Radio, a multi award winning media platform established in 2012, based just outside of Toronto, with a hub in Melbourne, Australia. He has been recognized in 2014 and 2017 by the Mississauga Board Of Trade and Legislature of Ontario for his work in support and promotion of independent artists across Canada and around the world. He has in the past been honoured to sit on national music award panels.

He is currently head of programming and music director at Blues and Roots Radio where he oversees the running of two online radio channels and reviews the many releases sent to the station for airplay consideration.

He is passionate about the Canadian independent music scene and covers as many live events as time will allow.

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