French Music Will Save Us

Or should I say — French music will save me? My local shows, including a debut full band show at the Bluebird here in Nashville, have been postponed. Now the weather is getting colder and there’s less and less fishing. What is a country singer with a fishing career to do?

I’ve been delving deeply into French singer-songwriters, especially Quebec’s Gilles Vigneault. A few years ago, at a music conference in Montreal, I heard the lead singer of the band, Jabbour, sing one of Vignault’s songs, “J’ai Pour Toi, Un Lac” (“I have for you a lake”). It struck me hard, right in the solar plexus. I couldn’t believe it. A song that expressed a love of lakes and the great outdoors and used it to speak about love. And not just any love, the head-over-heels joy of abandoning yourself completely. Most genres (cf Indie Rock) are too cool to express themselves in this manner. French music is not big on detached irony.

It was a pleasure to learn it. And even more fun to play it while in a kayak this summer on an obscure Tennessee lake. I would have done the third verse – my favorite – but I was starting to worry about my guitar falling in the water. You may need to turn up the volume on this one.

I also recently did a version of a deeper Vignault cut, “On Ne Sait Jamais” (“You Never Know”). I recorded it in the car with my dog, Pichenotte, for company. Does it seem odd to play and sing in the car? It shouldn’t. In times of COVID, it’s one of the few places in one’s home where you have privacy. Enjoy and stay safe. Covid lockdowns are a head game and the challenge is to keep yourself smiling and singing.

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