Danny Boudreau is on a mission

As his latest record Mes Legendes marks the first anniversary of its release, Acadian singer-songwriter Danny Boudreau is a man on a mission.

The mission, you wonder? To help spread the voices of many of our region’s Acadian singers and songwriters throughout the world with the songs featured on his latest record. And judging by his tour dates of the past, present and future, he is finding more than a moderate degree of success with his mission.

Of course Boudreau is no stranger to audiences in New Brunswick. Since his 1994 debut record Sans Detour and through subsequent records Odyssee (2000), Coeur Variable (2003) and J’Aime Le Vent (2007), Boudreau is merely striving to do his best to follow in the footsteps of those very heroes that he is paying tribute to with his latest CD.

Among the 40 dates that Boudreau has scheduled to promote Mes Legendes, Boudreau has a run of shows in the Maritimes coming up starting on tomorrow in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

He then returns to his home province for shows in Miscou and Caraquet to name but a couple. Boudreau’s show in Charlottetown is a co-production between The Charlottetown Festival and Le Carrefour de l’Isle-Saint-Jean. The show is taking place at the Carrefour Theatre with a show time of 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to the show are $12 and are available at the Confederation Centre box office, by telephone toll free at 1-800-565-0278 or online at www.charlottetownfestival.com. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.

His tour in support of Mes Legendes will see the New Brunswick native visiting both sides of the Atlantic Ocean from now through his tour’s conclusion in June 2011. Having recently returned from a series of shows in Switzerland, Boudreau will visit dozens of communities in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario and Quebec over the next 10 months. Boudreau is a highly feted and highly regarded artist both inside and outside of New Brunswick’s borders. His song “Tant d’Histoires” was chosen to be the official theme song to the Province of Quebec’s 400th Anniversary celebrations, emerging victorious from the more than 300 entries that were also competing for the honor.

At the 2001 “Gala des Etoiles”, Boudreau walked home with five of the seven awards he was nominated for, including Male Artist Of The Year, Pop Artist Of The Year and Pop Album Of The year. He also earned the Radio Canada “Acadian Song Of The Year” for his song “Melanie” (from his Odyssee record).

Boudreau’s roots in music date back to the time he was seven years old, playing shows with his father in various clubs throughout the province.

Citing popular French musician Francis Cabrel as a huge influence upon his work, he jokingly says that he believes he was born “10 years too late,” finding abundant inspiration in the works of Cabrel, Bob Dylan and James Taylor and other such artists from the 70s. Boudreau’s writing style would emulate these legendary artists and help play a major role in his own American-folk, Acadian and Quebecois influenced music.

With a mix of both old and new Acadian singer-songwriters covered on Mes Legendes, the 43-year-old Boudreau is flattered by the attention that the disc has received to date. Himself a poet and proud Acadian, Boudreau maintains that he has always been attracted to the richness of words, especially those which songwriters such as Zachary Richard and Gerald Leblanc have offered before him.

He says that the richness of the lyrical content found in the songs on Mes Legendes has gone over particularly well with crowds in Europe.

“That is one difference between North American and European audiences,” Boudreau says. “The crowds in Europe are more in tune and focused on what the lyrics of the songs are saying. Mes Legendes is a great record to be touring through Europe for that exact reason: I wanted to show the beauty of those poets with this record. ”

It is not only the “old guard” of Acadian songwriters that Boudreau is looking to showcase to audiences however. Songs by Pascal Lejeune and Joseph Edgar, two up and coming Acadian songwriters in their own right, are also included among the 10 tracks on Mes Legendes.

“I really wanted to bridge the two generations of Acadian poets with this record. I wanted to create something that would appeal to both the younger and the older generations.”

Rather than opting for a straight note-for-note song reproduction of the songs he is covering on Mes Legendes, Boudreau says that he wanted to create something entirely original with this batch of songs, choosing to “own” the material and play the songs in the manner he wanted.

“For this collection, I specifically chose songs that touched me or affected me in some way. One of the most important things to me was to get the core of the song and to try to get its true essence,” Boudreau says.

“When re-creating the songs, I intentionally set out to make a very stark, bare sounding record. There are only keyboards, some accordion and acoustic guitar in addition to my voice on these songs; I wanted to primarily showcase these poets’ words with this record.”

For what is certain to be an unforgettable evening of music, be sure to catch Danny Boudreau live this coming Saturday in Charlottetown or at one of his many upcoming performances in New Brunswick.

Article published in August 6, 2010 edition of the Times & Transcript