Country : Canada (Quebec) Label : Chivi Chivi Genres and styles : Alt Folk / Folk Year : 2024

Myriam Gendron – Mayday

· by Michel Labrecque

This album is infinitely sad. But there is also light. Sad or not, we want to listen again to this folk record, which immerses and fills us totally.

Mayday is Myriam Gendron’s third opus, following Ma Délire (2021) and Not So Deep As a Well (2014). She draws mainly on the American folk tradition, as well as on French folklore. Her guitar playing is sometimes reminiscent of John Fahey or Joan Baez. She’s no great virtuoso, but her arrangements are meticulously crafted and full of emotion.

In my humble opinion, Mayday is Myriam Gendron’s most personal creation. Most of the pieces are original compositions. The arrangements are freer, especially when accompanied by Marisa Anderson (electric guitar) and Jim White (drums). There’s a flirtation with improvisation and explosive rhythms, notably on Lully Lullay and Terres Brûlées. And what can we say about Berceuse, the ultimate piece, where, all of a sudden, an almost free saxophone is curiously added to a vaporous electric guitar. 

And yes, many of the songs are sad. In particular, La Belle Françoise, a folk song that Myriam Gendron rewrote to dedicate to her mother, who died of cancer. I defy you not to cry listening to this. I saw her sing this song in front of a small audience on International Record Store Day. Everyone was looking for Kleenex;

This sadness would be unbearable if we didn’t find so much beauty and truth in the songs. And then there are small, luminous moments, as in the very pretty instrumental piece La Luz

Myriam Gendron doesn’t have a perfect voice, but this unique voice pierces us in a special way.

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