Samantha Robichaud

New Music: Samantha Robichaud’s ‘Simplicity’

I’m a sucker for a good jig. On the east coast, it’s just an inherent part of the musical landscape that is above criticism. It may be somewhat anachronistic, but such a staple in our culture that there’s no questioning it. It’s like Thanksgiving Dinner. Do you like cranberries? Don’t like cranberries? Doesn’t matter. You’re getting cranberries. It works the same way if you’re going to be soaking up any east coast tunes. Fortunately, Samantha Robichaud’s new album, ‘Simplicity’, is much less likely to make your face pucker.

Robichaud has been at this a while, fiddling for twenty-years, and establishing herself as a vocalist, step-dancer, and an all-round entertainer. She’s mastered a traditional genre, but has the chops to carry it forward, and has worked with some big names. Her last album in particular, ‘In The Green Room’, featured artists like Matt Andersen, Ashley MacIsaac, and Chris Colepaugh.

Robichaud explains that despite working in such a well established genre, there’s still plenty of wiggle room to grow in, and it’s more diverse than you might think. Fiddle music is more than just your celtic brand of fife and drum. “There are three different styles that meld together in New Brunswick,” says Robichaud, “Don Messer’s style was more Old Time with guitar and piano, [it’s a] very different feel, and Natalie MacMaster is more bodhran and fife. I’m a mixture of the two styles with a bit of ‘Acadian’ feel.”

‘Simplicity’, as you might have concluded, is a more humbled version of Robichaud’s songs. She’s done away with the ‘big band’ sound of her past albums, and stripped away any drums, piano, bass, and electric guitar, the hallmarks of a bigger production. “A lot of festivals I was playing at and Home Routes Tours, was just me and a guitar and I really liked how simple, but musical, it was. You got to really hear the fiddle and the tunes. I didn’t have anything like that recorded, so we decided to record ‘Simplicity’.”

“It’s really not that deep, I just wanted to do a stripped down acoustic album.”

Robichaud says that while her past albums have been consistently, upbeat, she admits that some of the lyrics were really about break ups, something she’s left in the past. ‘Simplicity’ is practically an ode to contentment. “It’s really easy to write ‘break up’ songs, but I’m in such a great place in my life: newly married, with a baby on the way. I wanted to write a happy more uplifting song.” 

“I didn’t want to do another ‘break up’ song this album, plus the song ‘I Don’t Need Much’ really fits into the theme of ‘Simplicity’. Each album has a bit of a theme: ‘Vivacious’ was a really up beat and lively album with lots going on. ‘A New Stage’ was more rock with electric guitar and drums, something very different than what everyone was use to hearing in the “old time” community. Then ‘Collected’ was a collection of traditional songs. ‘In the Green Room’ was a sneak peak of collaborations with other artists; something you would kinda hear and see at festival, little magical moments that often happen at jams or off stage.”

Simplicity’ is perfect in its straightforward performance. It may be stripped down, but it’s not lonesome. Lively and full of confidence, the result is something you can kick up your heels to, and no one is going to say much about it, because they’re probably doing the same, and two drinks ahead of you.

‘Simplicity’ is out June 19th, 2016. For more information visit www.samantharobichaud.ca 

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