Quebec band born again

resp.jpgIf you have been anywhere near a radio in the past few weeks, there is a very good chance you’ve already had a chance to hear Quebec band The Respectables ever-growing hit “Sugar”. The song is spreading like wildfire, combining a distinct Black Crowes style of southern rock n roll with the swagger of the Rolling Stones which makes many think that bigger success might not be far off in the distance for the group.

The Respectables were formed in 1991 in Quebec City. In 1993, they released their first record No Dogs, No Bands, followed by Full Regalia in 1997. Then from 2002 through 2008, the group released three French language albums in addition to a live CD recorded at Montreal’s Bell Centre as well as a “Best Of” compilation.

That brings us around to Sweet Mama; their latest record and the band’s first for Universal Music Canada. According to affable vocalist and rhythm guitarist Sebastien Plante, the new record feels like a rebirth in some ways even though the group is approaching 20 years together.

“Sweet Mama is our first truly produced effort as well as being our first record for Universal. To be completely honest with you, it is the record we have wanted to make for years. We’re also very lucky that we’re getting such a great response so far; it is such a great feeling at this point in our career. It is great to have another shot at success.”

Helping the group work towards achieving their vision was producer Gordie Johnson, formerly of Big Sugar and current leader of Grady. Plante has nothing but the highest regard for Johnson:

“We have become really great friends with Gordie. He brought a lot of great ideas to the table while we were making the record and he also helped ensure that my lyrics were proper since English it is my second language,” Plante says.

Sweet Mama was recorded partially in Montreal before the band relocated the proceedings to Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studios in Texas. While in Texas, a very special guest stopped by the studio to lend his chops to the record.

And no, it wasn’t Nelson himself who dropped in, although Plante admits that the band would have loved to have met the legend.

It turned out to be former Small Faces member Ian McLagan who added piano and organ to four of the tracks on Sweet Mama, including “Sugar”. Plante’s enthusiasm at the mere mention of McLagan’s name has him buzzing down the phone line from Montreal.

“We were talking one day about who we could get to come in and play the keys on short notice. At one point, Gordie casually says ‘Let me make a call’ and a short time later Ian comes in. It was so amazing!”

Don’t miss your chance to catch The Respectables at one of their two upcoming shows in the province. They will be performing at the newly opened Moncton Ale House at 841 Main Street, Moncton on Thursday June 18. They are also playing in Fredericton, taking the stage at the FredRock Festival at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday June 20.

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