As one-third of acclaimed New Brunswick folk band Les Hay Babies, Julie Aubé is no stranger to the concert stage or to the notion of releasing music. Since forming in 2011, the group has released one EP and a pair of critically-acclaimed full-length albums as it has travelled the world, performing in virtually all corners of Canada, in addition to undertaking multiple successful tours of Europe.
But now, Aubé is stepping out from Les Hay Babies spotlight with Joie de Vivre, her first solo effort that was released in mid-September. Rather than mining the same musical territory travelled by the band, Aubé takes a decidedly more rock and psychedelic approach – think Joe Walsh and Jefferson Airplane – to her music.
Interestingly, the songwriter says the pursuit of a solo endeavour wasn’t necessarily high on her priority list until a musical figure from her past planted the seed last year.
“Around seven years ago, I struck up a friendship with one of the guys that ended up starting Les Disques de la Cordonnerie, the label that is releasing my album,” she begins. “A couple of years back, I got a call from him out of the blue and asked if I’d be interested in releasing a solo record. It wasn’t something I had necessarily thought of, but also realized it could be something different and fun to pursue outside of the Hay Babies umbrella.”
After striking an agreement with the label in which Aubé would be granted full creative control of the project, she set about assembling a group that included acclaimed guitarist Garrett Mason, drummer Marc Doucet, and guitarist Mike Trask, and began pulling together the 11 songs that would make up Joie de Vivre.
Aubé and her group set up shop at Memramcook’s MRC Recording and completed the record in approximately one month last year.
“We hadn’t completely fleshed out the songs before going into the studio, which was one of a few different reasons why I wanted to book a full month of recording,” she says. “It kept things pretty lively and exciting, though, as we’d be constantly engaged in discussions on what would best complement the material and then go about implementing those ideas.”
Being able to call the shots in the studio was somewhat of an interesting revelation to the singer, who co-produced Joie de Vivre. Where in previous studio experiences she had her Hay Babies bandmates or others to bounce ideas off, she says that calling the shots was not something that she was typically used to.
“Making this album, I didn’t have the usual suspects to bounce my ideas off, so it was left to me to decide what was a good vocal take and whether the lyrics fit the song. It was different for me, but it was ultimately another way to be creative. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t exercise your mind and try new things, you’re going to lose that creative edge.”
What: Julie Aubé album release show for Joie de Vivre
When: Tuesday Oct. 10, 6 p.m.
Where: The Caveau, Downing St., Moncton
Admission is free