Collette Savard

Collette Savard

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN

Collette Savard's growing reputation as a highly entertaining performer is based on her exceptional voice, multi-instrumental skills, melodic song-writing, and engaging storytelling. Add in the unique humour and chemistry with partner John Zytaruk's multi-instrumental wizardry: a must-see act!


Toronto’s Collette Savard is a natural-born singer, her smooth, slightly husky voice equally at home on Gillian Welch-esque ballads, Warren Zevon tunes and old blues covers by Howlin Wolf and Robert Johnson, as well as jazz standards such as Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose.”

Years ago, music drew Savard south from her home in North Bay, and since then she’s been incubating musically at songwriter spots like Tranzac Club, the Cameron House and Freetimes Café. “I’ve been in the oven long enough now,” she jokes, “I’m well-done.”

Savard is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, often switching over the course of a set between guitar, dulcimer, banjo and ukulele. But despite the uber-folkiness of her instrumentation, Savard describes her music as “jazzish pop”: “I play folk instruments, but actually I’m a pop artist with jazz and blues and country sensibilities,” she says.

 If you want to know what she means, have a listen to the catchy and jangly “Are You Coming Along” off her latest album, 2012’s Best Dress, which was recorded at St. Matthias Church in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods with guests Bob Wiseman (Blue Rodeo), Adam Warner (Jill Barber) and Brian Kobayakawa (Serina Ryder, Catherine MacLellan, Justin Rutledge). Savard’s song “Nicer Things,” a moving ode to dreaming of escaping city life, and also on that album, was nominated for Folk Music Ontario’s Colleen Peterson Award.

 This year marks a new beginning for Savard, who over the course of three albums collaborated in a duo with her husband and musical partner John Zytaruk (Buck 65, Jenn Grant). John’s influence as a skilled multi-instrumentalist as well as his scholarly knowledge of all things music has left an indelible mark on Collette’s musicality.  The two have recently parted ways, leaving Savard with room to re-discover herself musically, begin to form a new band and forge new collaborations, such as her recent work with pianist/producer Asher Ettinger. “This is about me taking back my music,” she says.

 Helping Savard on this mission is backup singer and multi-instrumentalist Rebecca Campbell (Porkbelly Futures, Jane Siberry). The two women’s vocal collaboration began in a serendipitous, magical way during an Australia Day celebration at Tranzac Club, where Savard helps foster an artistic community through her role as president of the board.

“I was singing “How Deep Is Your Love?,” says Savard, “and from behind the bar [where Campbell was serving up vegemite on toast] Campbell started harmonizing. She’s like my saviour in so many ways: gives me the validation when I need it and, when I don’t, tells me to plough through. When Rebecca is on stage everyone has a good time, me, the band and especially the audience.”

Although Savard’s Franco-Ontarian roots have so far resulted in only one original French song,"Cert-Volant", she sees it as an important facet of who she is as a songwriter. “The melodic sensibilities of those old folk songs are ingrained,” she says, explaining that she grew up with traditional songs that were originally brought over from France.

She’s also been heavily influenced by popular folksingers who make songs out of their lives: folks like Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Lucinda Williams. Savard’s new songs are often topical and reflect where she’s at in her life: “Last Cigarette,” is about always repeating the same mistakes; “Check” addresses mental illness; “Up Late Talking” is a song about temptation; while “Right Here, Right Now” is about being in the moment. “Hardest Part” is sort of a breakup song, but it’s also about empowerment. “It’s about what I’m dealing with now,” Savard says. “I’m on my own now and I’m going to go out there and face my fears and follow my passions.”  


Nicer Things

Written By: Collette Savard

Nicer Things

Underground again

Waiting for the train

To take me to a place that I don’t want to keep going to again and again

I used to kick and scream

Saying what does it all mean

Yelling indignation, spewing my frustration ‘til I ran out of steam

I ran out of steam

I want to live out in the country

I guess that someday I will go

I only tell you to remind me

There’s nicer things that I know

Come this time of year

It happens every time

Darkness comes and swallows up the daylight and I start to lose my mind

I start to lose my mind

I want to learn to play piano

Someday I hope I find the time

I only tell you so that other things

Might not weigh upon my mind

How fast it seems to go
This train down here below

Wishhh and it goes past not a minute does it last

But then a year or two or three has gone

A year or three has gone

I want to live out in the country

I guess that someday I will go

I only tell you to remind me

There’s nicer things that I know

Thousands Of Days

Written By: Collette Savard

Thousands Of Days

Thousands of days ago, how was I supposed to know

That you walking away, would leave me alone, for thousands of days

Thousands of days from here, I walk on though I fear

I’ll be alone, though I pray, for thousands of days

I can’t sleep all by myself

But I can’t seem to find nobody else

Thousands of days ago I should have planned for the snow

I should have stored love away for these cold thousands of days

Now I shiver in the storm, there’s no one to keep me warm

There’s nobody here to say, you’ll make it through these thousands of days

I can’t sleep all by myself

But I can’t seem to find nobody else

I don’t know how many more I can take

Of these thousands of nights I lie awake

Thousands of days ago, I was younger I didn’t know

That just to give my love away, I’d have wait for thousands and thousands and

Thousands of days ago, I was full of joy and hope

Now in bitterness I wait for thousands of days

Are You Coming Along?

Written By: Collette Savard

Are You Coming Along?

You say stop but I can’t slow down

Life moves too fast to look behind you

I know we’ve been moving, we’ve been moving along

But I can’t carry on with this weighton my shoulder

They say to be free you must leap so

What are you afraid of?

You know what they say’s often true so

I’m asking you

Are you coming along with me?

Two thousand five hundred fifty-five days is the time it takes to come to your senses

Your worry baby is taking up space so throw it over board

The boat will go faster

We’re all out to sea can’t you see

We can’t control it

Fate keeps us safe or we drown

There’s no way around it

So are you come along

I hate to leave you alone

Are you coming along with me

You know we’ve been dragging our feet on the ground

The clock is ticking we must go now

What are we missing while spend our time

To add all the figures and dot all the I’s

There’s no time but now

Darling please take my hand

We’ll figure it out

In time you’ll see there’s no way out

Are you coming along? Are you coming along? Are you coming along with me?

Holy Water

Written By: Collette Savard

Holy Water

Time you're a friend of mine
I once was blind but now I see
Wine you're a friend of mine
Except for the time
I could not see

Holy water flows
From your head down to your toes

Friend you're a child of mine
I'm going to spend some time
To make your flower grow
Shine! I'm going to drink this wine
Like weeds entwined
The seeds I'll sow

Holy water flows
From me into you and off it goes

Divine you were almost mine
I watched you pass by
I don't know where you go
But there's time to sit and drink this wine
Sometimes to be blind
Sometimes to know

Holy water flows
Like air we breath and wind that blows
Holy water flows
From you me into you and off it goes

I Still Do

Written By: Collette Savard

I used to write songs about
Making love in the summer light
I used to write songs about
How you make me feel safe at night
It’s true, I still do

I used to write pretty cards
Smelled of roses and the I’s had hearts
I used to like dancing slow
In the living room by the TV’s glow
With you, I still do

When you stole my heart
I flew up to the clouds
Though we’ve come so far
I can’t get down
I can’t get down

We used to fight, not so nice
Screaming, yelling ‘til the morning light
In the quiet of the night
You told me everything would be alright
It’s true, I still do, love you



CD: "Most Improved Chearleader" released June 2005. Second CD "Zen Boyfriend" released May 2008. Collette's third CD "Best Dress" will be released April 21 2012.

Set List

Enough original material to fill two hours as well as a wide variety of covers from the blues, jazz, folk, old-time and pop repertoires.