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I Hear Sparks: Véronneau – Joie de Vivre

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Sweetly simple and sensual, Véronneau’s Joie de Vivre is a smooth record ideal for summer listening outside with a glass of wine or four, and some candlelight.

Véronneau is the band of the marvellous French-Canadian singer Lynn Véronneau. With Ken Avis (guitar, vocals, percussion), David Rosenblatt (guitar, percussion) and Pete Walby (drums), Lynn’s outfit is sharp and dedicated to exploring the passion of music and life. The recording also features the violin of Dave Kline and the blistering, bluesy saxophone of Canadian Jeff Antoniuk.

Joie de Vivre is a compilation of sorts, but it’s also a freshly original work.

Véronneau presents their favourite music, delivering a selection of songs ranging from the Beatles to Rodgers and Hart. Brazilian samba, gypsy jazz and French music also reveal the band’s deep sensibilities to sampling from the jubilant palette of creativity.

More than simply singing covers and slinking away elsewhere, Lynn takes ownership of each individual piece and delivers an emotional, passionate performance every time. Her work on Lennon and McCartney’s haunting and gorgeous “For No One” takes on spectacular new meaning as Lynn emotes and phrases things elegantly. Backed by simple guitar, it’s one of my favourite tracks on the record.

The music of Antonio Carlos Jobim is given two opportunities to shine. “Corcovado” and “One Note Samba” embody the spirit of the Brazilian songwriter and composer. Lynn sails through the Gene Lees English lyrics on the former, guided all the while by Avis and Rosenblatt’s lovely playing.

Whether she’s tackling the nuances of classic tunes (“La Mer”) or drawing on the pageantry of My Fair Lady (“The Street Where You Live”), Lynn is a consummate performer. Her voice packs a wallop, sure, but most importantly she sings with heart. As she pulls back on the big notes and enters into subtle patterns of expert phrasing, it feels as though she’s singing to one person at a time.

Even with this intimate vibe, it’s clear that the music of Joie de Vivre is designed for big crowds and bright lights. The musical experience rendered by Lynn and co. is satisfying and bewitching, engaging in the tales it tells and the stories it leaves to mystery. The liner notes aren’t bad, either.

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