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Gabrielle Papillon


Gabrielle Papillon - The Tempest of Old

The Tempest of Old
(independent) - 2015


Michael Panontin
Gabrielle Papillon has been at it since 2001, when she recorded her debut record Songs for a Rainy Day. The transplanted Haligonian, who has been hailed as "one of the finest new songwriters in Canada" by the CBC's Tom Power, ended up shelving her promising musical career for nearly a decade while she pursued undergrad and graduate degrees in English Literature and History. It really wasn't until 2010 that her records started to come out with any sense of regularity. Here on her fifth full-length, the independently released The Tempest of Old, she teams up with the unfathomably versatile Daniel Ledwell, who in addition to pedal steel, horns, keyboards "and all other strange and wonderful sounds anywhere and everywhere", handles the production, mixing, arranging, engineering and even the colourful cover art.

The normally affable Papillon, who truth be told admits to living a relatively happy life, seems to be curiously drawn towards gloomier themes these days. "I do tend towards the melancholy," she confided to Joe Reilly on Ottawa's CKCU-FM. "I grew up listening to Bjork and Radiohead. I mean, I have a penchant for drama and melodrama." And those darker pursuits are nowhere more evident than on tracks like the opening 'Got You Well', where Papillon's wistful acoustic guitar and hurt vocal are punctuated with frightening slabs of distorted electric guitar. The Tempest of Old is not all doom and gloom, though. Shafts of light do poke through in places, as on the strangely cathartic 'Idling' and, especially, on the fetching 'With Our Trouble' and its bucolic mix of acoustic and pedal steel guitars.
         


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     Gabrielle Papillon


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