Maxime Landry won the 2009 season of Star Academy, became a multiplatinum recording artist, and has been nominated for a JUNO. While some artists have been Swift-ly crossing over from country into pop, Maxime does the opposite with his fourth career album, 3e rue Sud. Maxime is from Saint-Gédéon-de-Beauce, QC and became an accomplished horseman. On this fine album, he touches base with his roots by saddling up in the country music arena. He is joined by guests Paul Daraîche, Renée Martel, and Laurence Jalbert. iTunes
Here are the latest certifications from Music Canada. Congratulations to the artists and a big thank you to Canadians for continuing to support them by buying their music. To date, five 2013 Christmas albums have received gold/platinum certifications, the latest being Gord Bamford’s Christmas in Canada (platinum), Maxime Landry’s Noël Blanc (gold), and Paul Daraïche’s Ces Noëls d’autrefois (gold). The other two recently certified are Johnny Reid’s A Christmas Gift to You (platinum) and Noël à deux by Janvier & Breau (gold). Two Canadian country singles have struck gold: Dallas Smith’s “Tippin’ Point” and Gord Bamford’s “When Your Lips Are So Close”. “3 Foot Tall” by rapper Classified has made platinum.
For both albums and digital singles, current definitions are: Gold = 40,000 units sold. Platinum = 80,000, 2x Platinum = 160,000, 3x Platinum = 240,000, 4x Platinum = 320,000, etc.
Below is a selection of some of the new Christmas albums that have been recently released. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of Suzie McNeil’sThis Is Christmas from last year, we highly recommend it. It is quite possibly the best pop/rock Christmas record ever to come out of Canada. Michael Bublé’sChristmas is an absolute must for those of you desiring more traditional vibes. As not everyone celebrates Christmas, we have thrown in some albums showcasing a wintry spirit of sorts. We have represented each album by a flavour of the season.
2013 Canadian Christmas Single
“A Country Boy For Christmas” by Kira Isabella. Ottawa’s fresh, young starlet blessed with the voice of an angel nabbed the coveted Female Vocalist of the Year award at this year’s Canadian Country Music Association gala. She also won a Canadian Radio Music Award and was nominated for a JUNO. Her awards and the success of her singles have recently led to a signing in Nashville to release her music in the United States. Kira’s Christmas single is a beautiful song well worth the purchase. iTunes
2013 Canadian Christmas Albums
The Gingerbread Album: A Christmas Gift to Youby Johnny Reid. This is the second Christmas album from the husky voiced import from Scotland and recently debuted at #6 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. Although Johnny normally records country music, this album is more generic. The tunes (mostly covers) are very intense and emotionally powerful. Johnny is backed by a choir on most tracks, and the album was produced by Bob Ezrin. Peter Frampton appears on one of the songs, and Isabelle Boulay joins Johnny on a bilingual version of “Silent Night”. iTunes
The Cinnamon Album: Noël Blancby Maxime Landry. Even if the Canadian education system failed to bilingualize you by high school graduation, Maxime’s mesmerizing voice will win you over to the Francophone side. In fact, it comes as no surprise that he was declared champion of the 2009 season of Star Académie, was nominated for a JUNO Fan Choice Award, and has scored a multiplatinum album. Noël Blanc debuted at #9 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. The (Canadian) Tenors are featured on “L’enfant au tambour” (i.e. “The Little Drummer Boy”). iTunes
The Cranberry Album: Ces Noëls d’autrefoisby Paul Daraîche. Paul is a country artist, and this is a country style Christmas album which features a few guests including Charles Aznavour, members of the Daraîche family, Shawn Barker, Marie-Michèle Desrosiers, Michel Rivard, and Tex Lecor. Paul’s studio album last year was certified platinum, and it sounds like he had fun making this Christmas record. He sounds great including on the lone Anglo track, “Blue Christmas”, and this album will fill the room with warmth and cheer especially to rural dwellers. iTunes
The Eggnog Album: Christmas in Canadaby Gord Bamford. Gord sure is working hard. He just recently released his sixth studio album, has topped the country radio charts, donated $100,000 to children’s hospitals across the country, and now he launches his first Christmas album. Albertans will adore the opening track and all Canadians will love the seventh. Like many country artists, Gord pens delightful lyrics on the album’s original tracks. This is a playful work that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Anna Maria Kaufmann joins him on “The Christmas Song”. iTunes
The Mint Album: Get Back to Christmasby 604 Records. The Vancouver record label has established somewhat of a tradition by releasing Christmas albums every year with tracks by their signed artists. The latest Christmas record contains six tracks, plus a bonus radio version of one of them, by Cassica, Paige Morgan, Kieran Mercer, AJ Woodworth, Kate Kurdyak, and Autumns Cannon. All the tracks appear to be original songs and sound fantastic. You can check out all the label’s Christmas albums with the search term “604 Records” in iTunes Canada. iTunes
The Plum Pudding Album:Noël à deuxbyMarie-Eve Janvier and Jean-François Breau.She is from small town Québec (Roxton Pond), and he is from big city Ontario (Hamilton). This sweet duo has scored two gold albums. Their new Francophone Christmas album is mostly covers delightfully reworked into 1950s doo-wop, boogie-woogie, and vintage rock n’ roll and sung in duet. The album seems to have struck a chord, as it is currently among the iTunes Top 20 albums. Chuck Berry would be impressed. iTunes
2013 Canadian Classical Albums For the Season
Panettone and Struffoli: Serata d’amoreby Gino Quilico, OC. Gino is a Canadian baritone of Italian descent who was born in New York. He is the son of world-famous Louis Quilico and pianist Carolina Pizzolongo. Gino released a Christmas album back in 2002 that went gold. This new album is a collection of famous Italian love songs. Italian really is the ideal language to sing songs in any genre. His exquisite voice is backed by the musicians of TrioSphère (piano, cello, and violin) as well as a guitarist and accordionist. The album received a feature on CBC Music. iTunes
The Chocolate Fondue: Vie et souvenirsby Nelson Page. This is not a Christmas album but one that can certainly be enjoyed during the season. Nelson Page is a classically trained pianist, singer, author, composer and arranger straight from the Conservatory of Music and Laval University. Beautiful and passionate instrumental music abounds on this disc. All tracks are original compositions from this talented artist showcasing a piano and string quartet and feature prestigious Australian artist James Morrison. iTunes
As the title suggests, this is a Christmas album by the 14 stellar 2012 finalists of Montréal hit TV reality series Star Académie. In just 17 days, it was certified platinum. Season’s greetings classics were arranged under the artistic direction of multiplatinum recording artist Gregory Charles in a variety of genres: gospel, folk, pop, traditional vocal, AC, jazz, and blues. Hearing these holiday tunes confirms that Leclerc, Bédard, Lachance, Audet, May, Malette, Lee, Couture, Benoit, Morin, Dion, Lafond, Guerrette, and Pelletier are among the best young vocalists in the country.
Mes amours, mes amis by Paul Daraîche
This platinum album contains 15 sumptuous tunes of quintessential country singer Paul Daraîche, all performed in duets with some of Canada’s biggest superstars: Lynda Lemay, Daniel Lavoie, Richard Desjardins, Isabelle Boulay, Roch Voisine, Isabelle Boulay, Mario Pelchat, Yves Lambert, Édith Butler, Maxime Landry, Laurence Jalbert, Patrick Norman, Luce Dufault, Cindy Daniel, and Marc Hervieux. Onboard as well are French stars Dick Rivers and Hugues Aufray. Paul has a music career spanning 45 years and has sold 1.7 million albums. This is his 27th.
Sans Attendre by Céline Dion
A triple-platinum release at home with worldwide sales in excess of 1.3 million, the most successful Canadian recording artist of all-time remains a force to be reckoned with. The album contains “Parler à mon père” which peaked at #53 on the Canadian Hot 100 and was the 77th biggest song of 2012 in France. It is a dedication to Céline’s father (and #1 fan) who passed away several years ago. The disc also has three duets: with legendary Canadian Jean-Pierre Ferland, Johnny Hallyday (best-selling French recording artist of all-time), and virtual duet with Caribbean singer Henri Salvador.
Le Québec est mort, Vive le Québec! by Loco Locass
Around since 1995, Loco Locass perform Franco rap music of a highly political nature. They are a trio with nicknames Biz, Batlam, and Chafiik augmented by several musicians. In the past, the group’s album Amour Oral was certified gold and won a pair of Félix awards. This album of theirs landed on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart at #4, was nominated for Recording Package of the Year JUNO, and funky track “Le mémoire de Loco Locass” finished in the year-end CKOI Top 50 chart. With their sophisticated brand of rap, they have been recognized for their strong compositional skills.
Miroir by Marie-Mai
Upon release, Marie-Mai’s 4th studio album topped the iTunes albums chart. Recently, it has been certified platinum. It contains her smash hits “Sans cri ni haine”, a Franco cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” and “C.O.B.R.A.” both of which made the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. The album presents a thoughtful blend of Marie-Mai’s signature high-energy tunes like “Toujours là”, delicate ballads like “Différents”, heartland guitar tracks like “Je rêve de nous”, and piano-driven melodies like “Si les mots”. The English tracks were taken from 2010 recordings of an unreleased Anglo EP.
The latest Canadian-artist albums and singles to receive domestic gold/platinum certifications include country crooner Paul Daraiche’s Mes amours mes amis which made it to #3 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart last October. Classified’s “Inner Ninja” which features David Myles has become the first Canuck tune of 2013 to achieve platinum sales. Saskatoon’s boogie rockers The Sheepdogs have a pair of certifications. Their single “I Don’t Know” which managed to win the JUNO for Single of the Year in 2012 has gone gold. Their album Learn & Burn from 2010 has attained platinum sales. Serena Ryder’s Harmony album which contains her Top 10 hit “Stompa” has gone gold. A pair of Top 40 singles from last year have also made gold: Emerson Drive’s “She’s My Kind of Crazy” and Rosette’s collaborative song with Ian Carey, “Amnesia”.