Just like our closest loved ones, music is a dedicated companion. It will always be there for us as a savior, a confidant and a provider of solace and comfort. Multi-honoured Canadian blues singer-songwriter and guitarist André Bisson knows this truth as well as anyone and built his latest release around that premise of providing safe harbour. “Shake”, the soulful lead single from Bisson’s forthcoming 10th album, is available now.
André Bisson certainly puts the ‘pro’ in prolific as he prepares to release his 10th album of original material since 2009, “Latchford”, later this year. That’s 10 albums over a span of just 14 years! Leading the charge of singles ahead of the new full-length collection, “Shake” sets the groove around some gutsy subject matter for the Hamilton-based, Bruce Mines, Ontario-born artist.
“Shake” is about protecting the ones we love from the emotional dangers of the outside world,” explains Bisson. “The title refers to when we see our loved ones in such a state of fear and turmoil that they physically cannot stop shaking.”
With its energetic, chugging guitar groove, heavenly sweet strings and Memphis-style horn section, “Shake” has a mile-wide grin that belies but also helps deliver the song’s strong emotional message.
When you shake, let me wrap my arms around you
And I promise that I’ll never let go
When you shake, I’m here to calm the fire
Melt the worry and soothe your soul
When the song’s groove-setting guitar and piano intro lifts into an interplay of strings and horns, that’s everyone’s cue to hit the button, put the top down and set sail down a sun-dappled highway, propelled by the happy sounds that surround a pretty serious storyline.
“The instrumentation is intentionally used to help create the sound of happiness, optimism, and joy by creating layers of sound (horns, violins, and backing vocals) to wrap around the listener to give an added sense of protection,” notes Bisson.
Fresh from winning the 2022 Blues & Roots Radio International Song of the Year Contest and recently being nominated for the 2023 Creator Award for the Hamilton Arts Awards, Bisson is obviously turning more and more of the heads he’s worked very hard to reach throughout his very busy, 20-plus-year career. He confidently and joyfully leads a band that can range in size from 6 to 20 members and has toured Canada, the US, the UK and Europe to many sold out audiences and acclaim.
However, when it comes to songwriting and arranging, Bisson is largely DIY. Once again with his upcoming album “Latchford”, Bisson has written and arranged all eleven songs, which all follow a more philosophical and broad-minded thread than your typical bunch of blues songs.
“The one-word description for the new album is perspective,” offers the five-time Hamilton Arts Awards nominee. “Sometimes it’s not about changing the situation but how we view it.”
With this new collection, Bisson is admirably mining deeper blues and the lead single “Shake” ties right into that overall theme of ‘perspective’. “Realizing that we are not alone and have people who are there for us,” he notes. “The situation may not change but our perspective of it does, which in turn, alters our reality of the situation.”
It’s rhythm and blues for the thinking man and woman who also love to groove.
As with his previous albums including 2022’s “The Ballad of Lucy Stone”, Bisson is the sole songwriter, arranger and producer for “Latchford” but, when it comes to interpreting the tunes and playing most of the wide variety of instruments that bring them to life, it took a talented village. Bisson sings all lead vocals, plays all the electric and acoustic guitars, as well as some percussion and harmonica on the new album but, joining him are Jesse O’Brien on piano and organ, Mike Rowell on bass guitar, Keagan Early on drums, Pat Carey on tenor and bari saxophone, Shawn Moody on trumpet/flugelhorn, Loretta Hale on trumpet and cello, Rob Somerville on trombone, Paul Barna on violin/viola, Quisha Wint and Selena Evangeline on backing vocals and Dan Rodrigues on additional piano. The new album was recorded at Mississauga’s Metalworks Studios with engineering and mixing by Wayne Cochrane Sound and mastering by Chris Crerar Mastering.
Overall, André Bisson says that his forthcoming album is about “holding ourselves accountable for our own destiny” and that’s also a personal credo that continues to carry him to new heights in his artistry.