This young and very engaging Gatineau, Quebec singer/songwriter and guitarist has exploded onto the Canadian blues scene in the last couple of years, as her poise and talent has brought delight and generated appreciative nods from those been privileged to see and hear her. Roxanne Potvin has surefire musical instincts that enable her to latch onto any musical style or genre make it all sound as convincing as it gets. Her debut Careless Loving on the Northernblues label (www.northernblues.com) was one of the most impressive debuts heard in these climes in a long, long time. Yet its follow-up, The Way It Feels --produced by roots gurul Colin Linden---is even more ambitious in scope than her acclaimed debut, meaning it goes beyond its predecessor's reliance on 50’s & 60’s R&B/Soul.
There are a host of well-known guests that set it apart as well, including John Hiatt, Daniel Lanois, and Bruce Cockburn, but what affords this enterprise real artistic heft is the way it draws one into the introspective and sensitive nature of this engaging chanteuse. The songs are subtler, the melodies more enchanting, and the lyrics more profound. There's a lot more to absorb, so it might two, or even three, listens before it all sinks in. Be patient, and you will be rewarded. Guaranteed!
Roxanne shines on a couple of past treasures. She borrows from the Joe Tex soul songbook and delivers a convincing interpretation of I Want To (Do Everything For You), while also doing a splendid interpretation on Lowman Pauling’s Say It. And from where I sit, any release that figures in both Joe Tex and the Five Royales is indicative of impeccable taste.
Potvin’s own compositions are of the highest quality, but three selections stand out for special commendation. Hurtin’ Child is the essence of heartfelt poignancy, a gentle lullaby that peers at the world through the prism of the most innocent. Potvins’ wistful vocals are perfect for the sensitive nature of this tune. Your Love Keeps Working On Me is another highlight that just keeps working on you. Sweet Thoughts Of You is an original that sounds like one of those jazz-tinged standards that Mama Cass Elliott did under her own name.
The Way It Feels is a very strong effort that Roxanne should feel very proud of. It can be ordered at her website: www.roxannepotvin.com or through Alert Music. (www.alertmusic.com).