A seeming contradiction, the French-Canadian country singer. At first glance, he sings prairie songs, wide open but anchored in a francophone sensibility, a challenge to the western hallmarks that limit country music. At the heart of the songs is a dialogue, an open channel for communication between the west and the east, between English and French — apparent in the strange technology that hangs over the stanzas. Walkie-talkies or antennas seem out of place over rhythm-keeping percussion, over gentle, ecclesiastical organ. But technology is the great bridge between distances: cultural, geographical, amorous or musical.
And yet the solidity of these songs, as compositions, as lyrical exercises, transcends their own rhetoric. “J’embrasse mieux que je parle” (I kiss better than I speak) sings Stéphane Lafleur in the eponymous track — indeed, these songs compel long before they speak, but it is their depth that will keep you listening.