Heart is a… complicated thing

So I’ve been making a CD, Heart is a Tower,  for over a year. And it’s been quite a journey.


It started in fall 2017 as a small, intimate (and inexpensive) project to take some “B” side songs and throw together a CD which I wouldn’t necessarily promote very much. I knew I wanted to do a full production album in late fall 2018 and I was saving some of my better songs for that. My friend Tanya offered to record it and we got started, with guitar and vocals. But then I wanted harmony. And then fiddle. And then percussion….and then…. it was more of an album.

Around February I sent a friend request to some guy I’d never heard of but who I had heard was the music teacher at the school where my oldest son was about to start in the fall. I had heard that there was a state of the art recording studio and a hot shot Seattle based engineer (Steve Smith) there. So why not become buddies I thought??

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That guy, Jack Connolly, turned out to be a singer-songwriter and had had his own successful career. He was also really into recording. We hit it off right away and soon I was sending him a track from the album I was making. Well, he loved the song but was concerned about the recording quality (and then later, some of the songs I was including- or not including). Why put out an album of B sides that you don’t want to promote at this point in your career?  he asked. Why put out a CD that’s not as good as your first two?

Well the next thing you know, we’re re-recording the whole thing at the new studio, swapping out songs for the stronger ones and pulling in full drum kit, cello and fiddle and bass along with a bit of mando and banjo.

It sounds amazing.

And so I will DEFINITELY be promoting this one. It’s full of songs that reflect a very personal (and prolific) time of my life, with songs of family (including a cowrite with my dad and a song of his!) and love and change.

The other thing that happened is that Jack asked me to produce HIS next album, which is exciting and a little scary. I get to choose the songs, help arrange and choose instrumentation. It’s been amazing so far (if a little scattering, what with working on my own album so much!).

And the fall out from all this working together is that we have begun to learn each others songs and even played a couple open mics last week. Kelly Nakasuka called us “Cowichan Valleys Hottest New Duo” lol. It certainly is easier to work with someone who lives in the valley, is such an exceptional musician and who loves my music so much. And oh, did I mention the AMAZING vocal blend we have??? So now we have some “duo’ shows scheduled before my CD release tour. Official release date is March 1 so stay tuned to shows near you!!

Blue Wood


Ireland 2018

So it happens that I am here on the day before embarking on my first International tour. Or rather perhaps it’ll be more about networking and showcasing than really making money. But anyways, it’s IRELAND and I’ve never been and I’m very excited! ireland

Two and a half weeks in Ireland followed by a short jaunt to Barcelona for fun. This trip has been months and months in the making but has been plagued by strange communication difficulties and so has been the source of quite a bit of stress. At this point though it’s all system’s go. The idea is to make enough connections to go back for future tours and festivals. Regardless of what happens, I am guaranteed to meet tons of great people, hear tons of great music and play my heart out. Stay tuned!

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Looking back on 2017

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So the scraps of Christmas paper are slowly being picked up, the chocolate consumed and the new toys finding their way into the playroom. We had a lovely white Christmas this year- all 8 of us were even healthy. Now in this lull between Christmas and New Years I can reflect on this year and what it brought me and my writing.

This summer I decided to work less at the winery in order to take more music gigs, and that was a mixed blessing- I had more time and weekends for music and family, but I made less money overall. I would say I had more fun for sure though! We had great gigs at Coombs Bluegrass Fest, Islands Folk Fest, Cortes Island, Beacon Hill, Spirit 150 etc…

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Ivonne and I had a couple shows as a duo, which was cool- it’s clear that we can pull off quite a lot of songs, with Ivonne singing harmony as well as lending her amazing fiddling chops. We spent a week at Nimblefingers where I learned a lot from the great guitar-picker and crooner Greg Blake. IMG_1753I went too hard there though- I ended up extremely sleep deprived, dependent on sugar and alcohol and totally crashed on my return, with insomnia and anxiety. It was a scary experience that I do not want to repeat. During that strange mental state though I had a kind of lucid creative experience that continued for months- I pumped out probably 10 songs or so with many more incomplete song starts. IMG_1862 (2)

I had been feeling like it was time for another album… and I planned a recording session with Joby Baker in November 2018. That seemed like a long time away though so when my friend Tanya Gillespie suggested I record some songs with her I figured why not make a simpler, pared down album with her before the album with Joby. More on that process can be found in my indigogo campaign:

Heart is a Tower- new cd

This fall I also made another video with Chris Wilson- a live video of the trio, which is necessary for getting bookings. We also started creating a doc-style video that will showcase the band live, interviews and fun footage of us working together. Hopefully that will come out in the spring (if I can find the money to finish it!!)


This fall I also started taking Kung Fu with the kids. It has shocked me how much I love it- I’ve never done any martial art but my dance background makes it pretty easy for me to catch on and I LOVE the work out I get. IMG_1959 (1)When I started I could do 3 push ups and now I can do 20, or more if I take breaks! The staff are great, the vibe is so positive and I love the discipline it requires.

Another highlight of the past year includes some recognition: I won the BC Musician Songwriting competition which includes a songwriting intensive in Wells, BC. I supposed to do it this past summer but had a conflict so I will participate in 2018, which I am very much looking forward to. “Down Down Down” was also a finalist in the International Songwriting competition. Wynn Gogol won a 2017 Vancouver Island Music Award for Producer of the Year for our Fine Line album and the album had 2 other nominations including Album of the Year and Folk/Roots Recording of the Year.

So onward to 2018. I hope that the state of things in this crazy world improves as it really is disheartening to see so many awful things unfolding. In the meantime, I hope to pump more love and joy into my own small world and hope some if it trickles out beyond.





Mother’s Day

So this Sunday marks my 11th mid-May celebration of being a mother. I am so lucky to have 3 beautiful, precocious sons who are smart, capable, loving and creative. This Sunday also is the second weekend of “Genevieve and the Wild Sundays” CD Release tour- we will be on Salt Spring and Pender Islands. So I guess that means that I will be away for most of Mothers Day- the day I “should” be with my children. Do I feel guilty?? Of course!!! I wouldn’t be a Mother if I didn’t!! I especially felt guilty when my littlest, Joah, today in the car said “I have your Mother’s Day present… do you want it today??” and I said “No, sweetie, wait till Mother’s Day”. When, of course, today would have been a much better day for me to receive said gift, for us to get sentimental and for me to shower him with gratitude for being such an amazing son.

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But somehow, I deferred the gift to the Hallmark Sunday when I won’t be seeing him until after he’s has a weekend with dad and brothers, late nights and grandparents (which all usually equal extra sugar). Whoa is me.

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Right now, it’s mid-week, before Mother’s Day, and I’m in the throw’s of my life that ISN’T music- working at the winery, prepping kids lunches, doing dishes and laundry, hoping to get into the garden, and preparing my hubby’s birthday party tomorrow. I live such a (quazi-) normal, domestic life you’d never know that my band had a such a glowing review in the latest BC Musician Magazine, or that we’re embarking on our CD release concert series next weekend.  But then, I highly suspect that many of those so called “normal domestic” mom’s are also living out crazy, creative, and (like me) slightly deluded lives.

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Just to make myself feel better here is what Dave O Rama had to say about our CD “Fine Line:

Singer-songwriter Genevieve Charbonneau steps up front to lead her trio of Wild Sundays through twelve acoustic original treats filled with shimmering harmonies and polished musicianship.

An active musical collaborator and trainer dancer hailing from the Cowichan Valley, Charbonneau has played in several music projects, including the Twisted Vine String Band, and the award winning Balkan Babes.

Backed by fellow Balkan Babe, Kelly Sherwin (Ain’t Dead Yet, Flash in the Pan) on upright bass, percussion and vocalist Laura Carleton (kivaBEAT), and multi-instrumentalist Chandra Crowe holding it down on mandolin, Charbonneau’s Wild Sundays float through your ears like bluegrass angels.

All the musicians here have collaborated with one another in a variety of Vancouver Island bands and choirs, bringing with them a love for old timey string music, West African rhythms, and flavors from the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle-East.

The playing on Fine Line is accomplished, the production by Wynn Gogol at One Ton Studios is highly polished, and the harmonies are glorious and truly inspiring. More sweet than salty, much more whimsical than jaded, the songs on Fine Line go  down like cold iced tea in a sun kissed garden on a lazy hazy afternoon.

So yes, I feel blessed! So lucky that I can do what I love, feel supported in that and that I have the freedom to write whatever I want in this blog (and in songs!) Thank-you!!

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New CD!!

Happy belated Halloween and Dia de Los Muertes. We had a fun and spooky dance party at our place, complete with light-effects, smoke machine and fireworks. It’s the first year in ages that I felt like putting effort into my costume. It was a pretty fun night- and my mom had the kids!! This is me, as Freida Kahlo.

Freida Kahlo, visionary artist

Freida Kahlo, visionary artist









Very exciting news! My band has been in the studio the past couple weeks recording a new album and it is so thrilling watch it unfold and come to life. Wynn Gogol is awesome to work with- patient, complementary (but of course, ha!) and fast on his equipment. I am particularly excited about the new songs- Consequences, You Could Never Be and Long Way to Go. Maybe just because they’re new. But also I guess I feel they are representative of my evolving songwriting. And the vocal harmonies on You Could Never Be are really exciting….

La la la

La la la

Anyways, we’ve launched a crowd-funding campaign in the hopes of raising a bit of cash for the project. There’s a part of me that feels a little freaked, like “ack- I only JUST released my last album, what’s the rush???” but the rush was all me- I wanted an album that represents the Wild Sundays. I wanted the girls to feel invested in our project. Also, it will help us get gigs and festivals (hopefully). I can tell it’s going to be a great album already and feel so excited to have it underway. If you feel like checking out our campaign, there are lots of great perks (like dinner made by MOI, or a private house concert, or stay at my farm!):

So also spending some time applying to festivals and updating websites (um, obviously). Tis the season (despite summer feeling like it just happened!) I really should go out and plant the garlic…. especially during these lovely sunny days…. ok here I go…



Well……. I did it- finally launched my own website, with the encouragement of my girls in the Wild Sundays. It’s a pretty easy procedure, it seemed a little silly not to do it! So here we go with yet another website to keep on top of! Oy ve!!

Photo by Devon Gillot

Photo by Devon Gillot

I am happy and excited to say that the Wilds are going to record a whole new album this October with Wynn Gogol! I am really looking forward to seeing these songs take on new life through the recording project. We will probably add a little fiddle or banjo too- watch for the new album sometime next year! We will be launching an indigogo campaign as well as applying for a Canada Council Grant- my first time going through that process. Hopefully it’s not too daunting!

So September brings some fresh starts- a new album on the horizon, new songs being penned (I’m really on a roll right now), and my youngest son has just gone into kindergarten! Wow- how the time flies!

Opening for Pharis and Jason Romero