Chvostek is a versatile multi-instrumentalist who was born and raised in Toronto, and who made her professional debut with the Canadian Opera Company at just seven years old. She earned a degree in interdisciplinary fine arts at Concordia University and stayed on in Montreal after graduation. There, unencumbered by the expectations of the Anglo roots world and surrounded by Montreal's avant-garde arts scene, she began composing for dance and film, playing in bands and performing solo shows on the Montreal-Ontario-New York circuit.
Between 1997 and 2004, she released three independent albums and an EP, toured Europe with a new-media performance piece called the Automatic Prayer Machine, a collaboration with Anna Friz, and performed across North America with artists like Po'Girl, Rae Spoon and Barlywick.
In 2004, she was selected to replace Cara Luft in the Juno-winning Wailin' Jennys, a gig that took her from obscurity to international acclaim. Chvostek's songs were repeatedly singled out by critics as highlights of the Jennys' Juno-nominated CD, Firecracker. "Devil's Paintbrush Road" was the most downloaded song from the album on iTunes for months. It was also the #1 Canadian song at U.S. folk radio in 2006, and it remained at #3 in 2007. During her two and a half years with the Jennys, Chvostek toured Europe, performed on A Prairie Home Companion, sang on the Juno Awards telecast and earned a Juno nomination for Best Roots and Traditional Album ? Group.
Then, in 2007, she left the Jennys and reprised her solo career, signing to Borealis Records and releasing what many see as her solo debut: Resilience.
It was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Album of the Year and became the second most-played Canadian album at U.S. folk radio at the start of 2009. Since the album's release, Chvostek has done yearly tours of the U.K., criss-crossed Canada and the U.S. and completed a 2009 tour through Poland and Slovakia. She also released a Live from Folk Alley live album in 2010. And last year, her two co-written duets with Bruce Cockburn were released on his Juno-winning album Small Source of Comfort.
"The Wailin' Jennys' loss is the world's gain", declared the Saskatoon Star Phoenix in response to Chvostek's post-Jenny debut, adding, "her original compositions are full of aching desire dressed in poetry and rendered with a musical imagination that seems to know no bounds".
That same musical imagination is in evidence on Rise, for Chvostek has managed to take a decades-old art form, the protest song, and completely reimagines it for a new era of activism.
Currently touring solo and trio.
Annabelle Chvostek, voice, violin, mandolin, guitar
Contra Bass: Jérémie Jones
Drums: Tony Spina
2006 Firecracker with The Wailin' Jennys
2006 What Is Indie? Compilation
2004 Burned my Ass
2004 Pop Montreal Compilation/ SOPREF
2000 Full Stop
1997 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Annabelle Chvostek, Resilience ****
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A truly awesome listening experience provided by Wailin' Jennys' member Annabelle Chvostek and her f...A truly awesome listening experience provided by Wailin' Jennys' member Annabelle Chvostek and her fantastic band.
Canadian Annabelle Chvostek made her professional debut at the tender age of seven with the Canadian Opera Company and hasn't stopped performing since. She has earned a degree in interdisciplinary fine arts at Concordia University, played in bands ranging from old-time to electronica and has travelled India and Japan as a journalist, camera girl and multimedia technician, all the while writing and performing. In 2004, Annabelle joined the Wailin' Jennys. Their Juno-nominated and much loved song Devil's Paintbrush Road can actually be found on her EP released in 2004 titled BURNED MY ASS, before it was taken to the Jennys.
Two and a half years after continuous touring with the Jennys and huge successes with them, Annabelle's solo album has been an anticipated release. Ten of the twelve songs on this album are self-penned and delve deep into the theme of resilience in human relationships – whether that be friends, lovers or merely a state of being and its impact on the surroundings.
Described in the press release as 'contemporary urban roots'; I couldn't agree more. The structure of this collection of songs, and the overall album, is fluid in content and rigid in idea and production. It doesn't stand alone to include acoustic solely but has branched out to encompass electronica ideas, incorporating programmed beats and at times electro-acoustic sounds. It comes across warm and live but is secretly something a lot deeper.
You can tell an ideas has been followed through and through – it's well structured and immediately comes across as a professional release. The songs, however, are variations on a theme – they come full circle and they are so very pleasing to the ear. The title track opens the album and discovers the human process of recovering from heartache, this continues to find songs that explore relationships and tracks such as Wait for It delve into the misreading of a relationship whilst Piece of You unearths one person's craving for another, all the while knowing they'll be gone in the morning.
Following this is Racing With the Sun written by Ella Jenkins and then The Sioux about 'the stories I heard from a passenger heading on up the line to Sioux Lookout . . . I listened deep to the hardships left in the wale of colonial occupation . . .'
This album provides a wakening of the senses, a truly awesome listening experience with fantastic musicianship, professionalism and talent. LB.
IN CONCERT : Tale of the newcomer vs. the veteran, at Tavern
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JOSEF WOODARD, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT November 22, 2008 8:54 AM At the double-header Tales fro...JOSEF WOODARD, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT
November 22, 2008 8:54 AM
At the double-header Tales from the Tavern show Wednesday, in the cool and rustic Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, the evening amounted to a study in the familiar and the untested. Chuck Prophet and Annabelle Chvostek put in impressive sets, if moving in different stylistic directions, and from different junctures in their respective careers.
Mr. Prophet, veteran songman and bandleader hailing from San Francisco, is fairly well known and loved in these parts, having performed in the Tales series in 2005 and more recently at Lobero Theatre, courtesy of Sings Like Hell. He fits the bill for both series, with his literate and irreverent ways, mixed with underlying emotional warmth as a musician and an entertainer.
In some way, though, Wednesday's show was stolen by the newcomer, Montreal-based Annabelle Chvostek. In this, her area debut, Ms. Chvostek won our hearts and minds. She busily is making a name for herself as part of the progressive roots band Wailin' Jenny and also as a solo artist worth taking note of. Her Maverick show was one of those magical, chemistry-connected sets, with a sense of discovery attached.
Singing with pluck and precision (while backing herself up beautifully on guitar, mandolin and fiddle), Ms. Chvostek exudes organic musicality, whether when digging into folky roots music or art-pop turf, whether with original songs or the old Ella Jenkins' tune "Rising with the Sun." She served up a bit more carbonated comic relief than she needed to here -- with a singalong Slovak drinking song from her pre-Canadian root system and a throwaway confection called "Motels of America," back to back.
But she also got down to more serious business with the compelling "Resilience," the title track to her fine new album. With a sinuous melody line recalling the early work of fellow Canadian chanteuse Jane Siberry, this song drew the strongest response of the night, and rightly so.
Mr. Prophet sings with a kind of curled upper lip, and a similar attitude comes through in his lyrics, fueled by a ripe, punk-ish wit that might go back to his early days in the new-wave band Green on Red. But his tough surface sometimes disguises the underlying sentimental goo of his closet romantic self.
His between-song banter frequently was hilarious and, we assume, revealing. After playing the haunting "Would you Love Me" -- from last year's album "Soap and Water," he launched into confessional testimony, and said, in a breathless blur of words, "I spent my entire adult life in a state of perpetual adolescence, in a Ford Econoline van, sitting on a Twin Reverb and trying to read an Elmore Leonard book with a flashlight in the dark."
That compounded image says much about his frame of reference -- a smart rocker who has found a latter-day life as a solo singer-songwriter. His songs are invested with emotion, borrowed emotions and pop cultural references galore.
Among the highlights of his set, "New Year's Day" deals with the brief time he was forced by circumstance to move back in with his parents, and his tunes ranged from sweet to snarly, from "Long Shot Lullaby" to "Run Primo Run." The romantic within emerged with the penultimate waltz "The Heart Breaks Just Like the Dawn."
Next, Mr. Prophet stirred up a giddy rocking party favor, to close an altogether enjoyable evening in the song-enriched saloon.
All Content Copyright © 2008 Santa Barbara News-Press / Ampersand Publishing, LLC unless otherwise specified.
IN CONCERT : Canadian creative firepower, cont'd - Inventive singer-songwriter Annabelle Chvostek has made it her business to explore everything from roots to art-pop to her Slavic heritage
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By Josef Woodard, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT November 14, 2008 ANNABELLE CHVOSTEK, with CHUCK PROPH...By Josef Woodard, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT
November 14, 2008
ANNABELLE CHVOSTEK, with CHUCK PROPHET
"Grassroots" is a buzzword that won't quit in certain musical circles, and that's not such a bad thing. The term has multiple and revealing meanings when it comes to the intriguing and blissfully hard-to-classify Canadian singer-songwriter Annabelle Chvostek, who appears in the rustic splendor of the Maverick Saloon on Wednesday, as part of the "Tales from the Tavern" series.
Yes, the mandolin-handy Chvostek, a Montrealer by way of Toronto, has been a part of the adventurous "prog-grass" (progressive bluegrass) scene, as a player in the band Wailin' Jennys — with whom she recorded her popular tune "Devil's Paintbrush Road" — and on her own solo work. To boot, she has followed the currently fashionable and functional path of the grassroots-y artist, making her way at least partly on her own indie will and networking means. But the "roots" part of the equation also includes Chvostek's investigations into her pre-North American Slovak roots.
On her new album, "Resilience," Chvostek works her way artfully from genre to genre, and to places in between. Among other musical tools, she plays mandolin, guitar, accordion, violin and sings with gutsy boldness and emotional vulnerability. She moves easily and without apology between the bittersweet folk-pop air of the title song and the swampy humor of "I Left My Brain" (key line, "I left my brain by the side of the road").
In a recent interview, Chvostek explained that "the concept for the album evolved out of the songs that I happened to be writing. The title track, 'Resilience,' came out of this state of complete gratitude for the place I lived and the community in which I have grown. It's about love, sure, loving again, healing from being broken and thriving. But it also wells up from a sense of appreciation of the desire to make things happen.
"If I look at each song individually, whether the content is social or personal, there is a general working through of something, an arrival at some state, some understanding that releases or transforms challenge into celebration. At least, that's what I hope. Because that's the thing that moves me the most about this whole world —?the way hardship can inspire change, can bring us together, can transform pain into profound joy.
"Of course, I don't want to be too grandiose. My tunes are one little expression within a very big world. While I believe in a massive shift towards a global consciousness based on compassion and love instead of greed and fear, in reality, sometimes I'm still just singing about the joys and pains of getting it on."
While she spends time in her hometown of Toronto and in New York City, where part of the new album was recorded, she happily calls Montreal home these days, when home. "I love Montreal," she says. "Culturally, it's such a fantastic mix, both in its tensions and its unifications. The French, the English, the many other world cultures that retain identity yet mix together.
"It's a North American city with a strong European flavor. There's a lot going on. Creativity is free and experimental. I live in little Italy, a foodies dream, five minutes from the Jean-Talon market, one minute from the most fantastic cappuccino ever."
A prodigy, Chvostek, now 35, launched her musical career as an 8-year old in "La Boheme." Although she migrated to Montreal to get a degree in interdisciplinary fine art from Concordia University, her life as a multi-talented performer was beckoning. She launched her solo career with a debut album in 1997 and went on to a bigger spotlight as part of the Wailin' Jennys in the early 2000s.
In terms of influences and interests in music, she admits, "I'm a total sponge, I listen to a lot of music, pick things up, get inspired and I generally write music from a very unconscious, or subconscious place. What tends to come out is this great diversity of stuff, which makes it hard to actually try to articulate what kind of music I'm making.
"My roots are in there for sure —?the Slovak heritage from my dad's side, complete with the passion and melancholy, as well as the Scottish/Irish influence from my mom, who also carries a line of British loyalists via the states, who all got together with the Mohawks as North America shifted. So I feel very connected to my land, drawn to all these roots, and all these movements and historical struggles.
"The trick of putting it together? I just have to listen and practice. If it absolutely must come out, it does, and it does it the way it wants to. I get obsessed, and the puzzle starts to emerge, and then I piece it together."
Canada has long been a primary source for interesting twists on pop and folk music. The flow continues, from Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young through artists such as Bruce Cockburn (who makes a cameo on her new album), Jane Siberry and k.d. lang, and now bands on the bent "roots" music scene, including Po' Girl, The Duhks and, yes, the Wailin' Jennys. Does Chvostek have a theory for the creative vitality from the northern reaches of the continent?
"I guess there is a lot of support for non-mainstream music in Canada," she ventures. "There are funding sources provided by our government —though our current government is horrible and doing its best to wreck the whole thing. Our festivals up here really foster collaboration.
"Maybe there's just something about mandolins and fiddles that strikes some chord in peoples' hearts. It's an intimate musical communication, less of an assault. A party can be had, but it doesn't require a Marshal stack and an electrical generator."
Looking a bit further and deeper into the musical paradigm, Chvostek comments, "maybe we're preparing for the big shift. If things break down for a while, we'll keep right on singin' and playin' and dancin' no matter what. The margins of culture are what define the center, and vice versa. I think being in the margins is just more fun, more human."
Chvostek Sensational Solo
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The Wailin' Jennys' loss is the world's gain. Annabelle Chvostek, who replaced Cara Luft in that fab...The Wailin' Jennys' loss is the world's gain. Annabelle Chvostek, who replaced Cara Luft in that fabulous roots-folk trio, has struck out on her own and created a sensational solo album.
Chvostek is a ridiculously talented musician from Montreal by way of Toronto who plays guitar, mandolin, violin, organ, accordion and who knows what else. Vocally, she's up to any task, from pop highs to gritty blues lows.
On Resilience, Chvostek's original compositions are full of aching desire dressed in poetry and rendered with a musical imagination that seems to know no bounds. Her balalaika-like mandolin gives an exotic flavour to the heart-on-sleeve love song Piece of You, which has a melody that you simply melt into. More edgy is a thing called I Left My Brain that you assume is an ancient field holler or a cover of an obscure blues-gospel number that Chvostek discovered on a flea-market 78. Not so, it's original. It's awe-inspiring that the same mind can conceive both this song and its polar opposite, the irresistible, bright and sunny mandolin-strummer Wait for It. The Sioux, meanwhile, is an easy to listen to but incredibly sophisticated old time fiddle song with a geopolitical theme.
Even solo albums are group efforts, of course, and Chvostek had help here from a couple of folk legends. She co-wrote the duet Driving Away with Bruce Cockburn while Mary Gautier and Michael Jerome Brown are musical guests. Grammy-nominated Canadian Roma Baron and Vivian Stoll produced the album, which was recorded in New York and Montreal. There are at least a dozen musicians contributing to the project, making the achievement of the producers in directing all that talent even more impressive.
Resilience ends with a catchy, languid, twangy country tune called Nashville which asks "what would you do for the love inside a song?'' The answer is this album. -- FULLER
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Toronto born and raised, Annabelle Chvostek has a recording career dating back to 1997. Resilience ...Toronto born and raised, Annabelle Chvostek has a recording career dating back to 1997. Resilience (Borealis Records) has an acoustic dominance and takes in a variety of musical themes from traditional fiddle led roots to lazy jazz and maintains a modern, contemporary edge throughout. Chvostek's impassioned vocals are a constant high on a fine, eclectic album
Annabelle Chvostek, Resilience
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She was briefly a Wailin' Jenny, which is good cred. She's also Canadian, which is good too - more ...She was briefly a Wailin' Jenny, which is good cred. She's also Canadian, which is good too - more likeable roots music is coming out of that joint than ever. This is actually her fourth solo album, although you can be forgiven for not hearing the first three. Her thing is ultra musical balladry. She's a bit artily oblique. The sound, though, is delicious. Chvostek has a beautiful burry contralto and a natural lilt that bends and clips her melodies into lovely shapes over meticulous semi-acoustic art-folk arrangements. Resilient music.
Life After the Wailin' Jennys: Chatting with Annabelle Chvostek
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An interview with Annabelle Chvostek, a Montréal-based folk singer and songwriter. She is currently ...An interview with Annabelle Chvostek, a Montréal-based folk singer and songwriter. She is currently working on her new solo album after recently leaving the popular Canadian band, The Wailin' Jennys. Her career has taken her across the ocean and back; her roster is filled with road songs attesting to her journey, as well as political pleas and tales of love. I had the pleasure of interviewing Annabelle after her show at Casa Del Popolo earlier this month.
[By Mél Hogan for Art Threat]
Art Threat: Hi Annabelle. You're show on Thursday night was amazing—great vibe and high energy. You played quite a few upbeat songs in a row—is this a new direction for your music?
Annabelle Chvostek: Thanks! Well, I’m certainly having fun with the more upbeat stuff. I’ve been fairly gentle in the music I’ve been putting out there for the last few years, so there’s part of me that has been dying to bust out and get a bit crazier or heavier, or louder. I still love the intimate contemplative beautiful stuff, but I also am liking the grooving and the catharsis.
AT: You played a lot of "road songs"—is this a sign that you are happy to stay put for awhile or will you be touring a lot this year?
AC: Well, I seem to be still moving around a fair bit, but not with the full speed ahead tour schedule that I had with the Wailin’ Jennys. The idea right now is to lay low until I have another record out, enjoy building my little home nest again, get some living happening, get to some universals and some basics that seem to disappear with road life. I love the road, but I hate it too. It’s a mix of feeling completely ungrounded and like life is constantly on hold or uprooted, and being elated by contact with audiences, new people and new scenery.
The road songs come out of that struggle, figuring out how to live within the flux, the shifts, the always being gone. I am actually very happy to be staying put for a while though, doing short trips out for shows and coming home again. I am loving soaking up Montreal. And visiting places for more than a day. It’s pretty luxurious actually, but something I’m letting myself indulge in. Who knows, maybe I’ll start writing songs about tulips and tomatoes soon. It’s the first summer in a while where I’m getting to garden. You write what you know. In nine months, when I have a record, I’ll hopefully start touring a lot again, but I will always incorporate more home time, and/or work towards sharing the road life with people I love.
AT: Having recently stopped playing with the WJ, how does it feel to be an independent solo artist again?
AC: It feels wonderful and a bit scary too. I am so happy to have the freedom to work on whatever the heck I feel like, to really dive into creation and development again, to take the time I want to soak up the world around me, to get strong and healthy. I’m also making my own schedule all of a sudden, which is tricky, and having to deal with all the business of things again, making my own machine to drive, instead of riding around on one that is already built. I love it. It feels very real.
I also feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. But I think that’s life. You just have to make it up as you go along. Ultimately, the creative part is very fulfilling, and there is a more personal connection for me to the community that comes with my audiences and collaborators. I feel like a learned a ton from working with the Jennys, and it was such a fantastic and beautiful experience in so many ways, so coming back to my solo work, I have a better sense of how to make it work, how I want to do things, how I want to interact with people, and who I want to reach out to.
AT: What I really love about your songs is that they are fun, traditional in one sense but quirky if you pay attention to the lyrics. I love that a few of your songs are explicitly about love, and about women... which is still rare, especially in folk-genre of music. Does being "out" in your song matter or are you just writing what you know?
AC: Being out in my songs always feels a little nerve wracking, but is just a risk I need to take, and when I do, I am rewarded by the connections that happen. It is still pretty exciting to be identified. I don’t want to lie about anything. While I want to be able to speak to anyone without discriminating, I also know how much I myself need to see lesbian identity reflected in culture. So while I don’t make and perform music to be a big dyke, I still want it to be visible, and want to be a part of queer culture. Really though, the songs come from needing to express an experience or a story that I care about or fall in love with… and so there are girls in there, all mixed in with your basic being human.
AT: Some of your songs carry a political, social and environmental message—can you talk about these songs?
AC: In 2003 I put out an album called Water. While it was a mix of heart/body/mind songs and social reflection, it was unified by themes of water—from beautiful rivers to flowing girl-cum (it’s subtle) to ice-melting relationship illusions. All part of life. And in the artwork I used the space to write about water issues. The title track was the most politicized song, using some actual text from the Cochabamba Declaration which came out of that Bolivian peoples struggle against privatization of water. I had initially written the song after an experience of getting sick from a water-born virus while traveling in India, losing most of the water in my body while hanging out in Varanassi which is all about the river Ganges that runs through it. The song got amended after swallowing teargas at the FTAA rallies in Quebec City, where I went as part of a group called The Living River.
More recently, on the album I put out with the Jennys I contributed a song called Apocolypse Lullaby. It’s less specific in a way, more about choosing to face the hardships in the world while envisioning and realizing the connections on this planet between everyone and everything. It’s kind of a prayer towards a massive shift in conciousness that I like to believe is in motion and unstoppable, despite the destruction everywhere. It’s a peace song.
Sometimes now I find myself writing about love stuff and within that embedding some kind of social reflection, just observation of the details of life and mixing up the metaphors. Like for example, the impulse of wanting to get to some kind of romantic intrigue while being on the road driving through mountains dug out by mining. I think the personal integration can be a gentle and enjoyable, yet powerful way to say something.
AT: MySpace is a website that a lot of musicians use to promote their work—do you use it? What kind of feedback do you get? What are some of the talents you've discovered on the site?
AC: I do use it. I just did a show in Ottawa with Mélissa Laveaux and Blue Venus, and it is through myspace that I first heard their music. In fact I’d never met Mélissa, but her tunes really struck me as presented on MySpace. Sometimes I look up random things like electronic country, just to see what happens. There’s always something interesting out there. One thing it has made clear to me is the sheer volume of people making music.
AT: Who are your musical influences?
AC: I have so many influences, I don’t know where to start and I know I’ll miss something important. So firstly, ma and pa, in true folkie style, passing on songs and showing me how to play instruments. Singing in the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus as a kid informed my sense of harmony and drama… There are songwriters I like, there is groove based electronic music I love, there are big ‘ol rock bands, there are little old men from the Balkans who scratch at fiddles, there is sitting in kitchens and jamming with new and old friends… Dance really influences my music. Etc, etc…
AT: How has your music changed throughout your career? What was Water about?
AC: My first album , Full Stop, was this very strange mix of acoustic music and electronic experimentation. Then I decided to get serious and produce some CBC friendly Can Con, place some of the songs I’d been singing for years, and that was Water, pulling in all the cool jazz cats I’d been hanging around. Then I just wanted to Go nuts and be raw with Burned My Ass, and enjoy some of my Slovak heritage at the same time. With the Jennys I’d already started getting into “Americana” and got to have my tunes placed and produced in a super glossy professional way. I think the next thing I make might pull from all these moments.
AT: Burned my Ass has a much more humorous feel to it—What inspired the switch?
AC: Burned My Ass came after the biggest break-up of my life… It’s the initial sense of freedom and abandon before the loss actually hits. It’s that sensation of being slightly crazy and fully alive, ready for anything in a way, ready to throw yourself into the world after sitting in stasis. Musically I was getting into all kinds of roots in a big way, kind-of left behind the jazz influences of Water and got into something more raw and raucous. I wasn’t careful or meticulous, I just wanted to make something, and that’s what happened. I suppose that window allowed me to take myself less seriously, just have some fun with things.
AT: You said you were producing a new album, due out in 9 months or so. What can you tell us about it? How will it be different from the other three?
AC: Well, I am hoping it will be my best album yet, and something that travels well. I want to make it gorgeous and professional, but also leave room for sonic experimentation. All of a sudden I have more options in terms of getting it out there – a record label that should be putting it out if all goes well, and a production team I can bounce ideas off of and who will make sure that the sound quality is amazing. I think my songwriting has been refining itself, really evolving. There’s a clarity and simplicity I’ve been enjoying. I’ve started to learn how to say a lot in a few words and notes. I’ve got more musical tools, I’m playing more mandolin and violin, and I think I’ll bring back some subtle electronics. I think the emotion is perhaps closer to the surface, my voice has gotten such an amazing work-out over the last few years and it’s ready to let it rip, to express with abandon and clarity.
Some Lovely Quotes on Annabelle
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“A powerful solo artist … gorgeous lead vocal and deft guitar playing … her new recording is a fanta...“A powerful solo artist … gorgeous lead vocal and deft guitar playing … her new recording is a fantastic piece of work. Despite being acoustic, it rocks fiercely.”
Anna Maria Stjärnell, Collected Sounds, Sweden
"Just gorgeous … so musical … oh my."
Jane Siberry/Issa, Canada
“A contemporary urban folk alchemist … a persuasive vocalist and multiinstrumentalist, with a natural style unpolluted by attention seeking postures.”
“These are spiritual depths paired with beautiful vocals.”
Alooga Media, Germany
"...a unique blend of weathered character and lilting ebb and flow."
Deanna Radford, Herizons
"Fiercely talented... Chvostek has a sultry voice you can't and won't forget." Suzy Malik, Xtra, Toronto
"Chvosteks songs are a deep drink. Her vocal range is spectacular, and her playfulness is very evident. ...the melodic splendour of Jane Siberry or a jazzy Ani Difranco." Fish Piss, Montreal
"Annabelle doesnt fake the folk. She freaks it." Tcha Dunlevy, The Montreal Gazette
"Annabelle made the hair on the back of my neck stand up." "stunning free form folk..." "she can do everything, and does." The Hour, Montreal
“Sensuelle, surprenante, de l’émotion qui swing, une voix de velour. Guitariste hors pair, ses compositions
sont hypnotisantes: sorte de folk-jazz chevauchant le folk-punk. Une présence de scène et un magnètisme qui séduit partout où elle passe.” Folquébec
Review: Burned My Ass
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“A powerful solo artist … gorgeous lead vocal and deft guitar playing … her new recording is a fanta...“A powerful solo artist … gorgeous lead vocal and deft guitar playing … her new recording is a fantastic piece of work. Despite being acoustic, it rocks fiercely.”
Chvostek is wailin’ without the Jennys
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EDEN MUNRO / email@example.com In 2004, Annabelle Chvostek joined folk trio the Wailin’ Jennys aft...EDEN MUNRO / firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2004, Annabelle Chvostek joined folk trio the Wailin’ Jennys after the departure of original member Cara Luft. Chvostek recorded one album, Firecracker, with the Jennys, bringing her skills as a singer and instrumentalist to the band; during her tenure, she also introduced four of her own songs into the trio’s repertoire.
While Chvostek’s songs were often singled out by critics as highlights of the group’s material, the songwriter says that she wrote more than four tunes during those years, and she felt that she needed a outlet for them. So, as much as Chvostek says that she enjoyed traveling the world with the Jennys, she knew that the time had come for her to return to the solo career she had begun with several records that she had released prior to joining the band.
“It was a really amazing experience, but at the same time I’m pretty passionate about my songwriting and within that band I did have a chance to play some of the songs that I’ve written in that context which was rewarding and exciting, but at the same time, over the two and a half years it was four of my songs within that show,” Chvostek explains of her decision to leave the Jennys and resume her solo career on her new record, Resilience. “And the band itself was pretty much a super full time commitment and I kind of thought I was going to be able to balance out my solo stuff with it and it didn’t end up being possible.
“As a crazy, obsessive artist or something I just sort of threw all sense to the wind in favour of giving more time to the creative side and being able to get more into my songs and my other work as a composer,” she adds, noting that in addition to her solo work, she has also composed for both dance and film. “If I don’t do it I start getting depressed and that started to happen, so I just needed to do it more and that was the choice.”
One major difference between Chvostek’s work with the Jennys and on her own is the level of collaboration involved. She says that within the band, each member took the lead when shaping direction of the songs that they brought to the table.
“My role in that was to do everything I could to support the others’ songs as well, as an instrumentalist and also as a singer,” she says. “But coming into [Resilience] the palette was wide—I could do whatever I wanted ... so I could really just explore in a very exciting way and not have to worry about what anyone else thought ... That was a really gratifying kind of process, and very freeing and enjoyable.”
On Resilience, Chvostek brings some of her earlier influences—she studied electro-acoustic composition in university and has manipulated sound for compostions she’s done for dance—back to the table, integrating them with the predominantly acoustic sound of the disc. There’s nothing obvious there, but if you listen enough times, turning over the musical stones, the atmosphere is altered by the barely-there sounds; it’s the sort of addition that can give an album a little more depth, offering up hidden treasures for repeated listens.
“For me that’s one of the arts of it and the joys of production,” Chvostek admits. “I mean, ultimately all those things are to support the song, and when I’m playing live I’m playing the song pretty much acoustically—at least I will be this time in Edmonton; I won’t bring a band, it’s just me and the tune—but when you get into the studio it just opens up this whole realm of possibility, of just subtle support, and I love that process and I find it incredibly creative. Diving into sonic possibilities, it just opens up a whole landscape that may be incredibly subtle, but I think makes it into more of a magical experience.”
2 x 45 minute sets
This will include material from Annabelle's solo releases as well as the songs she released with The Wailin' Jennys in Firecracker. She also is known to throw in raucous versions of old time fiddle song-tunes, covers from obscure songwriters, occasional acoustic takes on reggae classics, dance hits and rock songs... depending on the crowd.