Lennie Gallant in ‘fine form’ on new CD

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Doug Gallant
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Lennie Gallant: Live Acoustic At The Carleton features a mix of fan favourites and new tunes

Timing is everything. That is perhaps one of the most over utilized expressions in the English language.

But there are times when it still seems appropriate.

This is one of them.

In the last 30-odd days, singer-songwriter Lennie Gallant has published a new book, released a new record and launched a new musical at the Charlottetown Festival.

Could he possibly have timed things any better?

He now has a book, a show and a record that can cross-promote each other.

And happily all three are worth promoting.

The book is worth reading, the record is worth hearing and the show is worth seeing.

For the purposes of this column, however, I’ll stick to the record.

 Lennie Gallant: Live Acoustic At The Carleton was recorded at my favourite Halifax watering hole, The Carleton, on Argyle Street, one of the best venues on the East Coast to hear singer-songwriters like Gallant, Dave Gunning, Don Brownrigg and Thom Swift.

Recorded over the space of two nights, the record features some 16 songs, many of them fan favourites of longstanding like Peter’s Dream, Tales Of The Phantom Ship, The Band’s Still Playing, Tell Me A Ghost Story and Mademoiselle.

But the record also boasts several new offerings, one of which, Abegweit, was written specifically for the musical, Searching for Abegweit: The Island Songs & Stories of Lennie Gallant, which is playing five nights a week until the end of August at The Mack.

Other new entries featured here include an absolutely beautiful piece called God’s Reply, which he co-wrote with John Wiggins, and Amelia, a haunting ode to flyer Amelia Earhart, which he co-wrote with Liam Titcomb.

There’s also a version of Has Anybody Seen My Skates, a great song about Canada’s national obsession that Gallant debuted during a special concert at the Confederation Centre for National Hockey Day.

Gallant was in truly fine form for these shows at The Carleton. His voice has seldom sounded better and his guitars got a serious workout because he was the only guitar player for those shows. Nice harmonica work, too.

He was more than ably supported by violinist Anthony Rissesco and two of his own nephews, keyboard player Jeremy Gallant and percussionist Jonathan Gallant, both of whom are also playing with him at The Mack.

All three contributed backing vocals.

There’s also a special guest vocalist on the record. The voice of Mi’kmaq singer Hubert Francis can be heard on Abegweit.

What’s missing from the record are several of the stories Gallant told his audiences during those shows. But you can hear them, too, by going to Gallant’s website at http://www.lenniegallant.com/.

Most of the songs that appear on this record are also featured in his show at The Mack so if you like the record, see the show. Conversely, if you like the show, buy the record.

 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

 Doug Gallant, a reporter with The Guardian, writes his music review column for The Guardian every week. He welcomes comments from readers at dgallant@theguardian.pe.ca or 629-6000, ext. 6057.

Organizations: The Carleton, The Guardian, Confederation Centre for National Hockey Day.Gallant The Mack

Geographic location: Argyle Street, East Coast, Canada

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