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Brishen brews up a musical storm at The Old Church Theatre

21-year old Quinn Bachand

That slight drop in air pressure means another storm’s on the horizon as 21-year old Quinn Bachand’s band, Brishen (Romany for “bringer of the storm”) releases its sophomore album, Blue Verdun.

Belying his tender years, Quinn’s seasoned artistry has already earned him a tidal wave of recognition and the band is showcasing their music at a bevy of clubs, jazz and folk festivals across the country this summer – including a stop at the Old Church Theatre, 940 Bonisteel Road in Trenton for their CD release Wednesday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m. (Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door).

You may recall the gale force success of Brishen’s debut which resulted in a tempest of industry recognition, earning the project a quintet of Canadian Folk Music Award nominations, a Saga Djangofest Award, a Western Canada Music Award nomination, an “Emerging Artist” spot with the RBC Canada’s Walk of Fame, a triple nomination at the Vancouver Island Music Awards, not to mention a full-ride four-year Slaight Family scholarship to Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music.

With a tight grasp on the music that embraces the swing tradition, the Victoria B.C. native steers Brishen on an inventive quest which, through its technical virtuosity, brings together a spellbinding range of musical history to reinvent the categories of gypsy jazz, swing, pop and country that celebrates the music of the ‘30s, up to and including the ‘60s.

Their playful twists on old school pop artists like Bobby Vinton and Brenda Lee are given new life through the musical sophistication of seasoned players like Bob Wills, Joe Venuti, Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt. Quite the time travel for this old soul visionary.

Acclaimed American jazz and bluegrass violinist and roots music expert, Matt Glaser, claims Blue Verdun offers a glimpse into a “psychedelic, kaleidoscopic musical world that you’ve never heard before”, unearthing “various epochs of pop music, film music, gypsy jazz, western swing”, while demonstrating Quinn’s “instrumental virtuosity on guitar and violin, storytelling, songs, amazing arrangements, and a dance band sensibility that almost sounds like it came from another planet”.

Written, recorded, arranged and produced in an echo-friendly apartment hidden away in the Verdun region of Montréal, Blue Verdun also showcases Quinn’s prodigious fellow Brisheners – Maude Bastien (drums), Paul Van Dyke (bass), Connor Stewart (horns) and Béatrix Méthé (harmony vocals).

Opening with a string-laden and a spoken-word intro, “Cheyenne (Quit Your Talking)” quickly establishes Bachand’s stake in the ground. Leaning heavily on strummed guitar/banjo chords, a full string backdrop and meaty clarinet solo, one gets the feeling they’re on a riverboat on a hot day, following some lazy river into the past.

Bachand’s smooth, half-whispered voice plays like a cross between a hushed version of Jack Teagarden and Kenny Rankin, as visions of Sidney Bechet swirl in the backdrop.

The bowed acoustic bass of the perky “Swing ‘96” more than percolates with strings, fluid acoustic guitar, violin and select horns, as Bachand’s guitar solo reveals his complete mastery over his key instrument. Mexican composer Manuel Ponce’s “Estrellita” represents the lone cover, its acoustic guitar, strings and clarinet creating a dreamy feel that’s distinctly more French than its Latin beginnings. Or, consider Bachand’s take on “Lonely Star”, where his staccato approach to the string-drenched love song coaxes a vocal recalling Bobby Vinton in “Blue Velvet” prime.

Brishen takes the inventive homage of Blue Verdun to a host of music clubs, folk and jazz festivals this summer, from Vancouver Island right across to Nova Scotia.

More on Brishen at www.brishenmusic.com
Visit the Old Church Theatre at www.oldchurch.ca, or get tickets by calling 613-848-1411.

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