Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review -- ANNABELLE CHVOSTEK -- Resilience

Annabelle Chvostek
Borealis Records
When your resume includes being a member of the Wailin Jennys, an amazing group in it's own right, you should expect a great CD. Well then, welcome to Resilience by Montreal's Annabelle Chvostek.This is a CD that is interesting in how smoothly Chvostek blends genres. There are hints of bluegrass, a solid base in roots, and an overlay of modern pop realities. On her website her bio describes the sound “as contemporary urban roots, a style in which acoustic instruments are front and centre, but in which strategically placed programmed beats and electro-acoustic elements wrap themselves gently and tastefully around the strings.”Whatever label and definition you put on it, it works musically.Chvostek has also brought along some friends to help her on her solo debut, highlighted by a collaboration with Bruce Cockburn on the song Driving Away. It is an interesting cut on the CD in the sense it's far from the best, but the male voice's presence is a nice change of pace as a counterpoint to the entire album.Other guests include alternative country artist Mary Gauthier on backing vocals, Ani DiFranco alumnus Julie Wolf on keyboard and accordion and multiple Juno nominee Michael Jerome Browne on assorted strings. The real strength here isn't the guests though, it's Chovstek's ability to so easily handle subtly different music and keep it together as a complete package. There are musical shifts in the nuances of every song that impress from start to finish.My favourite cut is the bluegrass, alternative pop piece I Left My Brain, a song that just catches the listener and holds them in its spell. Firewalker is also a hauntingly beautiful song.This is a fantastic solo debut that deserves to be heard. Grab it.You can check it out at

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Dec. 10, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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