There's no place like home. We've all heard that one before. And that's exactly what Ottawa's sultry bilingual accordionist Marie-Josée Houle will be saying once she hits the stage at the Black Sheep Inn (Wakefield, QC) on Sunday, March 28, 8 p.m. Backed by a full band, she promises two sets of old favourites sprinkled with a few new songs she will record in the fall with Bob Wiseman at the helm as producer.
This show will be Marie-Josée's first public performance in the Ottawa area since playing Ottawa Bluesfest in July 2009 after which she focused a lot of her touring on Alberta and BC exposing the great Canadian West to her own brand of French Café/Gypsy Jazz/Dark Cabaret. She's seen a lot of highway, met a ton of people, saw breath-taking sights and had a lot of fun, but it's time to go home to reconnect with her friends, her Ottawa arts community and her band (Derek Loewen on drums, Chris Breitner on string bass and Steve Tippet on piano) before taking a few trips to Europe and heading into studio. There is no place like home, indeed!
Born in Val d‘Or, Quebec, and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Marie-Josée Houle celebrates her dual cultural roots through music. Singing and writing in both English and French, she brings the Townships to the Prairies and beyond. No polkas or foxtrots for this accordion diva; instead, she combines her classical, punk rock, and French cabaret sensibilities into one sultry stew of sound.
Her musical history is as varied as her hair colour. Classically trained on the accordion at age five, she chose other instruments as the medium to first deliver music to the masses. In 2000, she took up the electric bass and saxophone in order to form two very eclectic projects in Edmonton. Her reconnection with the accordion coincided with a move to Ottawa in 2003 and culminated in the world music collaboration whose success served as a springboard for her solo work.
Her solo debut, Our Lady of Broken Souls (2007), and her sophomore album, Monsters (2008), received much critical acclaim, including nominations for Best Folk Album of 2007 and of 2008 by the Ottawa Xpress. Both albums charted and received solid airplay on local college and community radio stations across the country.
Two-thousand-and-seven saw her play the main stage of festivals in Canada, a few European dates, embark on her first successful cross-country tour and share a stage with other celebrated female artists for a CBC Radio 1 broadcast. In 2008, Marie-Josée Houle continued to journey across Canada and to Europe.
Two-thousand-and-nine proved to be another great year with multiple tours and festivals in Canada and Europe including the 10th Annual Accordion Festival in Vienna (for which she played with local musicians), NXNE, la Fete de l'été in Toronto and the prestigious Ottawa Bluesfest.
For Houle, 2010 looks like another promising year as she is currently working on a new CD to be recorded in the fall, will embark on a tour of BC in March, as well as a couple of European tours in May and October, and will be seen on the Canadian festival circuit over the summer months.
Marie-Josée Houle Homecoming Show
Sunday, March 28, 8pm start
Black Sheep Inn, Wakefield, QC
Tickets $7 advance / $10 door