I’m nowhere near the fist to tell you that this album from Myriam Gendron should be holding court on your speakers, but to be fair, it takes a bit of time to fully absorb the beauty laid out here. Built on an idea inspired as much by Leonard Cohen’s cover of a Quebecois folk tune as it is by the deep roots of the songs themselves, Gendron mused to herself about Catholicism’s erasure of traditional Quebecois songwriting and folk ballads, pushing them aside for their lack of canonical hubris. She’d pondered Cohen’s take years earlier but was brought back to it when she came upon Dominique Tremblay and Philippe Gagnon’s “Au Coeur de ma Délire.” The song stirred similar feelings and she was drawn to it with a visceral magnetism. The collection here takes its name, as well as its direction from the song.
Like Cohen before her in his recording of “The Lost Canadian,” she strips away some of the parts that don’t age well, folds in newer songs that resonate along the same channel, and intertwines some of her own sentiments with the traditional tunes. Gendron weaves instrumentals between her bouts with grey-streaked parlor folk, building out a quasi-jazz contingent of sound at times, that’s as often swooning on the rug as it its picking strings in the open air. More often than not, though, she’s in tune with her guitar and picking out a somber Her delivery and deconstruction of the songs creates a songbook for the society of leaden hearts — an inlet of calm that hides a strong undertow. Gendron’s voice is anchor and arrow of the album, keeping the themes tied and giving the instruments a hand hold to grasp, but it winds up piercing the heart with each new song in the set. Her previous album set a high bar to clear, but Ma délire – Songs of love, lost & found, leaps over it again and again while as it unfolds.
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