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23 Jun 2012
Take one part folk, one part country-roots, one part catchy melody-driven pop, add in some thoughtful and heartfelt lyrics and a heap of artistic spice then slather with smooth yet powerful vocals and voila! You have Collette Savard!
Collette Savard is a multi-instrumentalist whose songs effortlessly blend traditional folk-music instrumentation with a modern pop sensibility. She is a prolific and talented songwriter whose songs have been featured in animation and sketch comedy productions, and were recently featured in a documentary (“We’re Not Broke”) that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this January. Her lyrics are equal parts wry observation and emotional honesty, and the intricate and interweaving musical arrangements of her partner, multi-instrumentalist/producer John Zytaruk (Buck 65, Jenn Grant…) create a musical world that draws in everyone from the discerning folk-music enthusiast to the hippest indie-pop devotee. She prepares to release her much-anticipated third independent CD on April 21 2012, which was expertly recorded in a small Toronto church (St. Matthias) and will reflect the warmth and intimacy of this setting. Her albums have featured many top Canadian players, such as Juno award winners Guido Basso and Richard Underhill, and this next release entitled Best Dress, will include accompaniment by acclaimed artist/composer/producer Bob Wiseman. The ingenuity and complexity of her songs which she creates without the confines of a classically trained ear are reason enough to see her perform but add to this her witty and captivating stage presence and the interplay of instrumentation between her and John and you will wonder where she has been all your life.
Those who have seen a performance know that Collette Savard, like other artists such as Gillian Welch, is really a two-piece band featuring the combined talents of singer-songwriter Collette Savard and multi-instrumentalist John Zytaruk. Partners in life and music, their work together has evolved into a unique musical presence. Collette's powerful voice and highly melodic songs are at the core of their sound. She is equally at home writing and performing on dulcimer, ukulele, clawhammer banjo and guitar while John, a professional side-man and producer backs her up on dobro, lap-steel, mandolin, banjo and guitar, as well as background vocals. Together they sound like a full band on stage, despite being only two in number. The intricate arrangements and constantly shifting sonic textures revolve around Collette's original material but also include choice covers of everything from Dock Boggs and George Gershwin to Robert Johnson, Warren Zevon and even the Jackson Five rendered on dulcimer and guitar. The other crucial component of their live shows, which can only really be experienced in concert, is Collette's bold humour and entertaining stage presence and the honesty she brings to her performances. (Collette and John both believe that performing is very much about entertaining the audience and not just playing a bunch of songs one after the other!)
Collette and John are both natives of North Bay, Ontario. Growing up Collette was influenced by her traditional Franco-Ontarian family and the folk and bluegrass music they played. Although she started writing her own songs in her early teens she has never had formal musical training: she was gifted with the ability to just pick up an instrument, and be able to make up her own chords, melodies and songs. (John on the other hand did study classical guitar formally, although he is self-taught on his other instruments with the exception of banjo, which he studied with clawhammer master Chris Coole.) Teaming up together, they quickly realized that their talents matched each other perfectly. This resulted in Collette's critically-acclaimed debut CD 2005's "Most-Improved Cheerleader" produced by John and which featured a guest appearance by Canadian jazz legend, Juno award winning flugehorn player Guido Basso who raved: "I listened and I listened and I fell in love. Collette's voice is my favorite voice." Fellow North Bay-ite cartoonist Lynn Johnston (For Better Or For Worse) became an avid fan and describes Collette's music as "truly worth listening to. A unique, bluesy folk sound with soul-searching lyrics."
A second CD "Zen Boyfriend" was released in 2008. Featuring a more stripped down approach that reflected Collette's live sound it once again included a guest appearance by a Juno winning Canadian jazz legend-this time saxophonist Richard Underhill (Shuffle Demons, Blue Rodeo.) Robert Reid of the Kitchener Record wrote: "she's a captivating songwriter who paints with a broad acoustic palette, there's a little bit of Sarah Harmer in Savard, but comparisons are superfluous. She and Zytaruk make their own, sweet music together."
Collette Savard, Best Dress
CD release April 21, 2012 at Toronto’s Tranzac Club
contact: John Zytaruk (416) 505-4686 email@example.com
In today's world of digitally sterile, over-produced, and auto-tuned productions, isn't it refreshing to know that there are still talented people playing all together in great sounding spaces with real instruments, and recording exceptional songs? Collette Savard’s third independent release “Best Dress” is a shining example of this type of “traditional” record making. Expertly recorded on location at St. Matthias Church in Toronto and produced by John Zytaruk (Buck 65), Collette's new CD features some of the city’s top players including keyboardist Bob Wiseman (Blue Rodeo) drummer Adam Warner (Jill Barber, Royal Wood) and bassist Brian Kobayakawa (Creaking Tree String Quartet.) The recording was mastered by Peter Moore (Joni Mitchell, Neko Case) who was an appropriate choice since he was the sonic mastermind behind the Cowboy Junkie's classic “Trinity Session” which also utilized church acoustics to great effect. “Best Dress” is a collection of twelve of Collette's best songs yet and in it we hear Collette’s gorgeous voice, strong and sure as she accompanies herself not only with guitar but dulcimer, banjo, and ukulele. Her songs are like nothing you’ve ever heard, yet still contain the pop appeal that will keep them playing in your head long after you’ve stopped listening...that is if you can stop listening.
Collette Savard, a Franco-Ontarian from North Bay Ontario, moved to Toronto with her partner John Zytaruk in 2001 and has since released two CDs of original material. Her debut “Most Improved Cheerleader” (2005) was a wry and witty collection of original folk-pop songs and featured the breathtaking flugel-horn and harmonica playing of Canadian jazz legend and Juno award winner Guido Basso (who’s fee for recording in their small Toronto apartment was a batch of homemade cookies!) Her second recording “Zen Boyfriend” (2008) also had a Juno award winning jazz player Richard Underhill, and again displayed the expert songwriting that is the trademark of Collette's prolific and talented artistry. A song from this album “Quarter-Life Crisis” as well as another original composition, were recently featured in the documentary “We’re Not Broke” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2012.
In the live setting Collette and accompanist John create a captivating audience experience together. Both multi-instrumentalists, they bring traditional roots instruments like dobro, dulcimer, ukulele, banjo and mandolin into the modern era. Her music has been featured on several CBC radio shows such as Fresh Air and Toronto’s Metro Morning, as well as others throughout Canada and around the world. She has made appearances on television and radio in both official languages and you can see her in action for yourself at her current monthly residency at Toronto’s Tranzac Club. There she takes audience participation to a new level with activities such as having them make drawings based on themes and rewarding them with C.R.A.P. (Collette’s Really Awesome Prizes) which consist of the most absurd items she can find at Value Village or in China-Town. These gimmicks serve only to amuse herself however, as her fans are all too happy to just sit back and be carried away by the melodic and heartfelt music she and John weave together. She continues to expand her audience with performances throughout Ontario and Quebec. Please join her for her special CD release concert with an all star band on April 21st at the Tranzac Club’s Main Hall starting at 8:30 PM.
For more information, bio, photos, press reviews, concert calender, or to arrange bookings go to:
or contact John Zytaruk at
(416) 505-4686 firstname.lastname@example.org
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