Friday, September 16, 2011

Je pensè il ya des la bellefleur

Sad news today as local Trois-Rivierès cultural icon Jean-Pierre Bellefleur has been reported as missing in today's edition of local newspaper Le Nouvelliste.

Mr. Bellefleur was last seen heading east up the St. Lawrence seaway in his antique cedar-strip canoe, singing Voyageur tunes, shirtless and wearing his trademark denim shorts and red bandana, using a case of Laurentide as ballast for the front of the canoe.  He was reported as being "extremely agitate, him" by local sources who witnessed Mr. Bellefleur walking down Boulevard Sainte Madeleine smoking, drinking, cursing, yelling and looking for a fight with anyone English-speaking.  His ex-girlfriend of five years, Huguette Lafreniere-Willis, was approached for her reaction Thursday but the notoriously publicity-shy Lafreniere appeared to be rather intent upon finishing her jumbo poutine while simultaneously smoking and drinking three different kinds of beer to offer any intelligible comment.

Mr. Bellefleur was apparently upset over his recent decline as the city's unofficial mascot and good-luck charm after staging a graphic and widely publicized protest against "repressiveness and old-world values" in 2006 that earned him nationwide attention and legions of internet fans.  He had been upstaged lately by Puanter (Stinky) - a smoking, hard-drinking, one-eyed poker-playing bear with a penchant for dropping loose change on the floor near pretty girls.  Bellefleur, who had not been seen in public wearing a shirt since his story went viral, had recently spent his life savings to purchase a large quantity of stock in RIM, convinced it was going to, as he put it, "frickin' shoot to da moon".

There will be a candlelight vigil held this evening near the site of Mr. Bellefleur's disappearance.  There is plenty of free parking - jus' go at the Bière Store lot, you.

Pat Travers - Fidelis

Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up  

As anyone who knows me can tell you, I'm one of Pat Travers' biggest fans from way back, and yet somehow I missed this album when it came out over a year ago...  That's what getting older does to you.
After listening for a few weeks, it has become very apparent that this is his best effort since 1982's Black Pearl.  The man is 57, has been recording since 1976, and still has the energy, conviction and drive of someone decades younger. He also seems to have regained his writing touch. Eleven original PT-penned(!) songs with some genuine surprises and lots of smokin' guitar work as always.
Standout tracks include "Edge of Darkness", "Then I'll Fall", "Save Me" and "Josephine" which features an out-of-nowhere reggae-style break that hasn't been heard since his early-80s heyday. There are no duds sprinkled in among the running order, but some "funny voices" threaten to spoil a couple of the songs.

There's a great story on the recording and writing of this album that I'll try to link to when I find it.  The name "Fidelis" alludes to several things including keeping the faith, also the longevity and loyalty of many of his fans.  His lovely wife Monica sings backup on several of the tracks and does a bangup job.

Overall, PT's vocals are among the best he's ever recorded and are finally a match for the power and passion of his guitar work.  Never the strong suit of his early recordings, his voice has matured and has become a powerful instrument on its own and acquired a gritty, soulful feel that perfectly suits his style.

Highly f#$!ing recommended, not the least of which is the fact that it was recorded at an undisclosed remote location in Northern Ontario, which is also name-dropped on the cut "Then I'll Fall". The verse in question never fails to raise the hair on my arms. Always the sign of a good piece of music in my book. Comeback album of the year, even if that year was 2010.

Get it now...  and for God's sake if you get the chance, see him live.

R.I.P. Radio
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