Selected New Releases: March 24, 2017, Batch 2/2

We begin Batch 2 of our two-parter with La palabra by Zal Sissokho & Buntalo. Zal, based in Montreal, is from the African country of Senegal which has a rich tradition of music, and a style that is quite possibly the continent’s most savory. This is a beautifully arranged album of world music.

The best-selling album among all new Canadian releases this week, according to iTunes, belongs to Geneviève Leclerc. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, the House of Leclerc reigns supreme in the field of making music. Geneviève is from the Gatineau and was a finalist in Season 4 of The Voice Canada. Her album Portfolio is adult contemporary with a mixture of covers and originals showcasing her earthy vocals.

Toronto is the origin of guitarist Matthew Stevens, a craftsman of alternative jazz and very good at it which his new album Preverbal confirms. We have quite a cinematic delicacy with this disc; very enjoyable.

Montreal group Blood and Glass examines Punk Shadows in its new album. Don’t let the title mislead you; it is an alternative album. The group has a sound it can call its own, as juices from various fruits are creatively mixed together offering a rich cocktail that is both spacious and focussed.

Michèle Losier & Olivier Godin contribute classical vocal album Temps nouveau performing songs by Charles Gounod, Jules Massenet, César Franck, Georges Bizet, and Camille Saint-Saëns. Expertly arranged and professionally done, enthusiasts of the genre should find themselves a little spellbound by this.

Guy Bélanger is … a harmonicist! As such, he assembles a band of musicians to spin out impressive blues album, Traces & Scars. The musicianship is top notch, and the atmospheric and lighter presentation of the genre should give it a more universal appeal. Mostly instrumental, he brings in a couple of singers for the vocal tracks. All in all, a really beautiful album.

Moving onto the EPs, we have three to discuss.

Montreal’s Angee Wings does a nice job on her self-titled disc; it’s punchy and fun pop. What You See from Ghostly Kisses is a very pleasant alternative EP; things move along at a comfortable, measured pace with airy vocals and dreamy vibes. Finally, Calgary country star Lindsay Ell releases an EP that was … Worth the Wait. She’s a Billboard Hot 100 charting artist, has scored five Top 25 hits at Canadian country radio, and three Top 50s in the States. Need we say more?

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