HEART IS A TOWER:
CANADIAN RELEASE: MARCH 1, 2019
INTERNATIONAL RELEASE: MAY 23, 2019
Sometimes it seems like making a CD is like birthing a child- fun to conceive, seems to take forever in incubation and the actual birthing is freakin hard. But then, LO, you have this amazing creation that you get to share with the world!
I am so grateful to so many who supported me through this process: my amazing family, community, Shawnigan Lake School, Tanya Gillespie, Wendy Wall, Zena Green, Steve Smith, Yaz Yamaguchi, and all the amazing players: Brian Horwitz, Alex Rempel, Daniel Lapp, Ivonne Hernandez, Kelly Sherwin, Chandra Crowe, Laura Carleton, Eli Bender and Jessica Blakney. And Jack Connolly who did an unbelievable amount of work helping create this amazing collection of heartfelt songs. THANK -YOU ALL!
The journey to completing Vancouver Island-based singer-songwriter Genevieve Charbonneau’s third album; Heart Is A Tower (US Release: May 23rd, 2019) was both circuitous and a bit providential. Armed with a passel of songs written during an emotional yet extremely prolific period in her life, she originally set out to record simply, plainly, just herself and her guitar at a friend’s home studio. Meanwhile, serendipitously this homesteading busy mother of three sons became friendly with Jack Connolly, a singer-songwriter and music teacher at the Shawnigan Lake School her son was soon to attend. Connolly gave her a tour of the school’s recently built state-of-the-art recording studio, a jam session between the pair followed, and a fast friendship was born. Putting his ears to Charbonneau’s rough mixes, the project soon took an unexpected turn. Connolly felt the songs called out for more, and jumped in with gusto as producer, and soon the album was being completely re-recorded. As Charbonneau relates: “Sometimes it seems like making a CD is like birthing a child – fun to conceive, seems to take forever in incubation and the actual birthing is actually freaking hard. But then, LO, you have this amazing creation that you get to share with the world!”
Utilizing the school’s studio, Heart Is A Tower became a true community affair. In exchange for studio time, students sat in on sessions, and Charbonneau led songwriting workshops with the kids. Charbonneau, already a mainstay on the British Columbia music scene (Balkan Babes, Genevieve and the Wild Sundays) and award-winning songwriter (Winner 2017 BC Musicians Songwriters Contest, Vancouver Island Producer of the Year Award) invited in some of British Columbia’s finest musicians. Charbonneau (vocals, guitar) was joined by Jack Connolly (guitar, electric guitar, keyboard, vocals) Brian Horwitz (percussion) Alex Rempel (upright bass), Ivonne Hernandez (fiddle), Daniel Lapp (fiddle), Eli Bender (cello) Pete Reid (banjo) Chandra Crowe (mandolin), Kelly Sherwin (vocals) Laura Carleton (vocals) and Jessica Blakney (vocals). The album was mixed by Grammy-winning engineer Steve Smith (D.C. Talk, Steve Curtis-Chapman) the director of the Shawnigan Lake School’s recording arts program.
Charbonneau’s warm vocal atop an amiable folk and old-time country feel carries the album through myriad themes of love, and family, with a sprinkling of feminism and politics. The title track, Heart Is A Tower is a clever allegorical tale of being trapped then breaking free from an unhealthy relationship, while Yesterday speaks to the power of falling in love. No Other Time blissfully recalls a camping trip, asking, “How much more can a moment hold?” The jaunty bluegrass Queen of Hearts is homage to a beloved family elder who enjoyed the camaraderie of a good card game. Wilderness speaks to the longing for connection with nature. Empty Dresses references The Red Dress Project, an art installation that brought national attention to the issue of murdered and missing indigenous women in Canada, while Not Enough Love laments how often the personal and political intersect. A co-write with her father, Here’s to Hereafter, features a poem Charbonneau’s father wrote about his Grandfather set to music she composed, while another from her father’s pen is Lonesome City the only cover on the album. The up-tempo Hit a Wall lightheartedly looks at the downside of going too hard too fast. The album closer is Thank You, a song of gratitude for Charbonneau’s ex-partner, and the father of her children.
For the rest of 2019, Charbonneau will be recording and touring with her new duo Heartwood with Jack Connolly, as well as taking her turn at the wheel in producing Connolly’s upcoming solo album Move Me.