Winding into Fall

So summer comes to an end, with lots of wonderful memories already simmering on the back burner. The stove pumps quart after quart of salsa out of the water bath, the deydrator spits out chewy dried apple, the home ejects bored kids back to school and the natural musican rhythm brings a turning to the autmn efforts of gathering new material for EPK’s, festival applications and gig booking.

Here is an interview that came out in Beyond a Song in August. I had a wonderful interview with Rick Reardin and it’s all here:

IMG_1375Except for the odd show here and there, this fall is pretty quiet music-wise. I still feel extremely busy though- the winery  (Blue Grouse) is scheduling me a lot, I’m back to kung fu and kids are needing shuttling to and fro.


But, dear reader, the summer has thrown illumination on a certain fact. Heartwood is the way of my future I think, at least for the time being. There has been so much momentum and we are both so energized from the project. We did two wonderful shows with full band this summer and we were lucky to get live recordings from them so will be releasing a Heartwood Live album this fall. Plus we are both going to New Orleans for Folk Alliance in January!! Stay tuned for more on us at: Heartwood


New video! On tour!

It was great to have my new video picked up by Americana Highways and it premiered on July 6th!2929FC8A-7FEF-4C34-B007-B240F3EA8084


Americana Highways brings you this video premiere of “Heart is a Tower,” the title track of the album produced and recorded by Jack Connolly at SLS Studios, released last May. “Heart is a Tower” is Genevieve Charbonneau on vocals and acoustic guitar, Jack Connolly on electric guitar, Brian Horwitz on percussion, Alex Rempel on upright bass, Daniel Lapp on fiddle, Eli Bender on cello and Laura Carleton on b/g vocals.

The video was produced by Sam Van Hell at Arcas Media, with animation by Fernando Gio and Magnus Scott at Shawnigan Lake School, under the guidance of Tracy Lewis.  Shot in a woodland setting that lends visual support to the song, Charbonneau’s vocals blend perfectly with the acoustic interplay like the story is floating downstream on a river of hope.  Like Rapunzel in her tower, Heart is a Tower is an inspiration and a testament to the strength behind myths and narratives.

“Heart is a Tower” is a feminist look at power in relationships using a mythical allegory, particularly the Rapunzel fairy-tale. It was inspired by some personal dynamics that I was observing both in my own life and in my community of women friends. I wrote the song within an hour of its inception and found myself compelled to play it repeatedly for weeks. It seemed natural for it to become the title track of my 3rd album with its theme’s of love, relationships, family and feminism.

So Heartwood is currently on tour in the Interior of BC and it’s been a marvellous tour so far, with gorgeous drives, great audiences and perfect weather (ok, some showers, but it’s NEEDED and lovely nonetheless).

We’ve done some wine tasting (I’m doing my darndest to turn Jack into a wine-lover), nature walks and have been going for a run every day (I know, I can hardly believe it myself). It’s been a welcome little break from my regular life of kids and cooking and working. We’re working on new songs for an upcoming Heartwood EP, which has been SUPER fun…. I love working out harmonies and arrangements. So summer 2019 is so far so good.

Life as a songwriter

So the other day Jack and I got interviewed for a local “what’s on” magazine. We were supposed to talk about our upcoming tour, my recent album release and the local festival we’re playing at this summer. But somehow we got swept into a detailed description of our personal-life journeys. Or maybe it was just me- I guess I needed to talk to someone and explain EVERYTHING, the whole long and sordid tale of my recently-split relationship and what’s happened to me since. The past few years have been earth-quaking, life-changing and it’s not my nature to be frugal with my honesty, especially when there’s an open and receptive ear. Andrew had a pen in his hand but he didn’t write a thing down; “That’s not for this publication” he said. But he was intrigued enough to want to write a full-length “human interest” piece on my/our story…

So now I wonder about the nature of being a public figure, especially a songwriter, whose tales and truthes are so visible/audible: do we tell EVERYONE EVERYTHING in the interest of human truth? Or do we protect those beloved people in our lives who might not want the attention, interest or judgement of strangers? Where is the line and how do we judge? Is it my duty to protect or is it other’s to prevent? I am by nature so open and honest and it just feels right to me to be so. But not everyone feels that way. Is there someway to balance the two? It’s been one of the major struggles of my life…

Still grappling.


In the meantime, I am happy to have had a wonderful CD release tour, despite the book-ending of BROKEN GUITAR (dropped onto concrete, first show) and STITCHES IN THE FINGER (kitchen knife accident, second to last show). Songs from the album have now been played on many folk DJ playlists across North America and I just had an interview for a PRX syndicated show called “Beyond a Song“. It’s been cool to see how many people have added me to their playlist in the past couple weeks.


To support my Heart is a Tower project, and create a video that might be seen and shared, I hired Arcas Media to help me make a video for the title track “Heart is a Tower”. It combines the animation made by Shawnigan Lake School students with live footage to make something compelling, expressive and that captures that mythical element.


On the set for the video

So the next major thing is that Jack and I head off to the interior for a Heartwood tour. It’s partially to promote my new album and partially to promote the new duo, which I feel super-excited about. I hope to catch you and meet you at a tour. And I promise, I’ll be honest.


Heart is a Tower





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!

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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.

New single, CD Release shows!

My new single, the title track from my album “Heart is a Tower” is out! And just in time to enter it in the CBC Searchlight contest! You can listen watch and vote here:


The video, which was created by grade 9 Shawnigan students Magnus Scott and Fernando Gio, is super sweet… I’ve watched it a bunch of times and every time I like it more and more. It’s like this antidote to today’s crazy fast-paced world. And I love how it complements the song. Some folks I showed it to said they understood the song better after watching it.

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I also have my album release tour solidified and I hope that you can make it out to a show. We had our first rehearsal with drum kit and wowee is it ever fun to have that kind of big energy. I’m REALLY looking forward to hearing it with the whole band and recreating the magic that is captured on the album.

March 1- Victoria- St. Matthias Church, doors 7:30, show 8pm

March 2- Duncan- Providence Farm Chapel, doors 7pm, show 7:30pm

March 8- Deep Cove- St. John’s United Church, open stage 8pm, show 9:15pm

March 21- Nanaimo- The Vault, doors 8pm, show 9pm

March 22- Pt. Alberni- Char’s Landing, doors 7pm, show 7:30pm

March 29- Parksville- Ground Zero Acoustic Lounge, doors 7:30, show 8pm

March 30- Pender Island- Gather Teahouse, doors 6:30, show 7pm


CD RELEASE, at long last

Here it is, finally. Upon me. This journey, which has been so long and drawn out, is finally culminating in my album release and island tour. The great thing is, it is so worth the wait. I heard my first master this weekend and holy cow does it sound fantastic. Jack spent a ridiculous amount of hours recording and editing to get everything just right, Steve did a fabulous job on the mixes and the mastering is the icing on the cake. I’ve just sitting on the side mostly, throwing in my two cents and biting my nails as the release date creeps closer (oh yeah, and writing grants, and booking shows, and applying to festivals, and organizing rehearsals, etc etc).


So here is the list of concerts as I have them so far:


March 1- Victoria- St. Matthias Church, doors 7:30, show 8pm

March 2- Duncan- Providence Farm Chapel, doors 7pm, show 7:30pm

March 8- Deep Cove- St. John’s United Church, open stage 8pm, show 9:15pm

March 21- Nanaimo- The Vault, doors 8pm, show 9pm

March 29- Parksville- Ground Zero Acoustic Lounge, doors 7:30, show 8pm

March 30- Pender Island- Gather Teahouse, doors 6:30, show 7pm

Hopefully I will see you, dear reader, at one of these shows.


Me and Steve in SLS Studios


Maestro Daniel Lapp lays fiddle down on the title track


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!!

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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:

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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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