Roxanne Potvin -Play (Black Hen Music)
Taking a step back and reassessing one’s life and career and changing course is never easy, but it can be fun. Play from Roxanne Potvin shows an artist doing just that, making a change and having fun. In 2009 after a decade of hard work in the Toronto blues scene, three successful albums and a Juno award nomination, Potvin moved back home to Montreal, took a break, then decided to shift gears and follow her heart. She teamed up with Black Hen Music director and guitarist Steve Dawson and a crew of Vancouver studio musicians and recorded an album of new songs in five days. Potvin explains “I came in. The songs had never been performed as a band and we just went into the studio and played. It wasn’t a struggle. More than anything else I wanted to have fun,” and the sound is exactly that.
“Barricades” the CD’s first track is a declaration of war on convention delivered with torch and twang. Potvin then follows this new indie rock and quirky pop format on a dozen easy going songs that her blues fans will either love or hate. The radio ready “You told Me” has a great sing along hook complete with “sha la la lah.” The mournful “Born to Win” shows off the clear ringing vocals that got her noticed to begin with, but it is the song’s Lennon-like imagery that draws you in. Potvin does some fine snarling on the punky “Let Me Go,” and the jabbing rocker “Pretty Girls.” No one can resist a smile during the brilliant cover of Right Said Fred’s “I’m too Sexy,” done up with reverb soaked guitars, vintage synth sounds and straight faced swagger.
Potvin acknowledges the financial support she received from the Canada Music Fund to make this album which allowed her to expand her style and grow as an artist. Now the test will be if her fans will follow suit and press “Play” to listen.
originally published in Innocent Words July 2011.
Rick J Bowen