“I give my hand to you with all my heart / I can’t wait to live my life with you / I can’t wait to start / You and I will never be apart / My dreams came true because of you.”
Just last week, Montreal, QC artist Geneviève Racette released her latest single to celebrate (and coincide with) her birthday – and OH BOY, when the advance copy arrived in my email prior to her latest trip around the sun, Geneviève was not the only one with something to celebrate here. Lest I get sidetracked with a lengthy off-topic missive of why this choice in song provoked so many fond memories for me, I’ll keep it brief. Honest.
Taking her own journey down memory lane, Geneviève recalls “Come On Over” being the first record she purchased for herself as a kid, the genre-breaking and successful commercial-crossover album from 90s Canadian country music legend Shania Twain. Recognized as the biggest-selling studio album by a female solo artist, per Guinness World Records (as of December 2021), Geneviève opted to cover “From This Moment On” (performed by Twain as a duet with US country artist Bryan White) – a song she learned simply by reading the lyrics printed within the CD booklet. Everybody must have heard this song at some point since its 1998 release, but if not, trust me when I state that Geneviève’s warm, honey-laced vocals and graceful acoustic guitar certainly puts an alluring spin on this critically acclaimed classic track.
As for my own memory lane excursion, I have often referenced my re-discovery of country music back in the early 1990s, an almost-decade-long journey that subsided once mainstream country morphed into Nashville pop, and genuine country music became more aligned with the folk-roots and Americana music communities. For those of us riding that 90s revival train, however, just bearing witness to the arrival of a little-known artist out of Timmins, ON, and watching her transition into a bona-fide country music icon over just a few short years was truly an unforgettable experience. Not only did Shania Twain raise awareness of country music on a global scale, she legitimized the acceptance of such music into other mass music markets and cultures too.
Naturally, with such rapid success, Twain earned her share of negative ire also, with critics calling on her initial reluctance to tour to justify convoluted claims of being nothing more than a studio creation (oh, and don’t forget that Mutt Lange relationship too, right?). Clearly, for such naysayers, the measurement of success was predicated by ticket sales and live music revenue, and not from record sales alone. For Shania Twain, this constant rhetoric and the love/hate relationship from an industry that thrust her into the spotlight eventually reached a breaking point, and with a massive North American (and international) tour that followed, many critics were very quickly silenced once the world discovered her high-energy and explosive live performances. I still fondly recall such a show on July 7th, 1999 at the NEC Arena in the UK – with many of my family in tow – where the light effects and pyrotechnics were momentarily halted, the band still playing during a blackout, before the arena lights returned and Twain was standing out amongst the crowd. Standing adjacent to the aisle in which we were seated, perhaps a dozen heads away from us, Shania glanced our way with a huge smile on her face, the crowd erupting into a frenzy, as she continued the final chorus of the song being performed at the time.
Using nothing more than just her voice, her acoustic guitar, and some secondary instrumentation from collaborator Justin Saladino, Geneviève Racette delivers a hauntingly beautiful take on this classic Twain ballad. I applaud not only her decision to record and release her interpretation of the song, but also wholly credit her for unlocking and extracting such fond personal music experiences that have been long tucked away in the confines of my own temporal lobe. Happy belated birthday to you Geneviève – thank you for sharing your gift with us all on your special day.
“From this moment / As long as I live / I will love you / I promise you this / There is nothing / I wouldn’t give / From this moment on.”
Photo Credits: Annie Diotte (cover) / Éva-Maude TC