HEART IS A TOWER
Award-winning Island singer-songwriter Genevieve Charbonneau has released her third album entitled “Heart is a Tower”. It is the first album recorded at SLS Studios, the new state-of-the-art recording studio at Shawnigan School, run by Grammy-winning engineer Steve Smith out of Seattle. Charbonneau, who won the 2017 BC songwriting competition, spent months in the studio fine-tuning the love and family-themed songs with producer and fellow songwriter Jack Connolly. The result is a stunning album with firm folk roots but high production values which reached number 15 on the Folk Radio Charts.
Singer-songwriter Genevieve Charbonneau, who won the BC Songwriting Competition in 2017, has had quite a journey to complete this album of 11 original songs. What started in the fall of 2017 as a “B-sides” album recorded in a friend’s basement studio, ended up being the first album recorded and produced at Shawnigan Lake School’s new state-of-the-art recording facility, SLS Studios.
“It started when I sent a Facebook friend request to Jack Connolly, who I didn’t know but had heard was the instrumental music teacher at the school where my son was heading the following fall” says Charbonneau. He quickly became enamored with her music, and interested in the recording project she had nearly completed. “It was clear though that he was worried that putting out a ‘b-sides’ album at this point in my career was the wrong move.” The next thing she knew, she was re-recording the entire album, swapping out weaker songs for ones she had been saving for the next “real” album. Connolly, himself an award-winning songwriter, put his heart, soul and countless hours into producing an exceptional album that both Genevieve, and the school, would be proud of.
SLS Studios is run by Grammy-winning Seattle-based engineer Steve Smith who did the mixing of the album. “When I went in to listen to the first mixes, Steve told me he cried twice while mixing the title track ‘Heart is a Tower’. He said it made him think of his daughter and grand-daughter” says Charbonneau. And that’s appropriate, since family is a major theme of the album. She includes on the album two songs about grandparents, one of which is a co-write, her first, with her father Gerry Auger. The theme of love, in its many forms, is central to the album. “It’s been a crazy year for me” she says, “I am so grateful for my family through many big changes.”
Not only did Charbonneau benefit from recording in the studio, the sound engineering students at the school had the opportunity to observe a professional process from start to finish. They were involved in everything from setting up mics to helping run the board and mix the songs.
The album, which is released March 1, is being toured to key locations on Vancouver Island. She brings her band, The Wild Sundays (fiddler Ivonne Hernandez, bass player Kelly Sherwin, mandolin Chandra Crowe and singer Laura Carleton) as well as Jack Connolly on acoustic and electric guitars and drummer Brian Horwitz.
Genevieve “breathes life into this form (songwriting) with the flair and fire of far too few other writers” (Chris Powers, WORT FM)
An “unexpected pleasure of this album is Genevieve’s flair for writing lyrics which are both perceptive and laced with a dry wit… and her well-observed, incisive social commentary” (Folk Radio UK).
“Genevieve is a talented artist who brings a genuine freshness to the roots and folk and bluegrass music she creates. She writes great songs, engages audiences with ease, and is the kind of community-minded artist and human being that we could frankly, use a lot more of.” (Kelly Nakasuka, AD IFF)
“Jack and Genevieve cast a spell upon the attentive audience. Their voices and instruments blended effortlessly, and there was a feeling in the air that something special was happening.” (Doug Picard, Ground Zero Acoustic Lounge, Parksville)
“Genevieve’s voice is at once reedy, full, playful, caressing and honest, simple and complex and tells a story that draws one in. It is impossible when listening to this album (Updraft) to not be moved in some way across a broad spectrum of emotions.” (Joe Chauncy, Boxwood)
Genevieve is a Cowichan Valley based singer-songwriter crafting tales of love, loss and rural living in between raising her three sons, harvesting veggies and hauling firewood. Her music is rooted in folk and old-time country and is at once timely and timeless. At the 2015 Vancouver Island Music Awards, Genevieve’s debut solo album “Updraft” garnered a 2014 Producer of the Year Award for Marc Atkinson, and was nominated for Country Recording of the Year. Her song “Down Down Down” won the 2017 BC Musician Songwriting Competition and was a finalist for the International Acoustic Music Awards in 2017. Her third album “Heart is a Tower” reached number 15 on the Folk Radio Charts.
Genevieve is a Cowichan Valley based singer-songwriter, crafting tales of love, loss and rural living in between raising her three sons, harvesting veggies from the garden and hauling firewood to fuel her earthen home. Her music is rooted in folk and old-time country but incorporates bluegrass rhythms, Americana and pop into her style. As a trained actress and dancer and long-time member of the multi-award-winning Balkan Babes, she is an experienced singer and performer, bringing a lively stage presence and charisma to the stage.
Genevieve performs most often with her Victoria-based all-female quartet “Genevieve and the Wild Sundays” which bring her songs to life with beautiful harmonies and instrumentation. Most recently she has paired up with fellow singer-songwriter Jack Connolly to create the power folk duo “Heartwood”. At the 2015 Vancouver Island Music Awards, Genevieve’s debut solo album “Updraft” garnered a 2014 Producer of the Year Award for Marc Atkinson, and was nominated for Country Recording of the Year. Her song “Down Down Down” won the 2017 BC Musician Songwriting Competition and was a finalist for the International Acoustic Music Awards in 2017. Her third album, released in 2019 reached number 15 on the Folk Radio Charts.