Singer, songwriter, plumber, gas-fitter
Being a plumber and a musician/songwriter is as natural a fit as, well, being a gas-fitter and jewelry designer. All of those occupations, and others, are part of the repertoire of islander Pierre Beaudry and he’s taken his most cherished, writing and performing songs, and made a record.
The native of Aylmer, Quebec, has been on Bowen with partner Gayle Ferguson for 20 years and over that time, with few venues to play, on-island gigs have been scarce. Nonetheless, over those years, he’s hooked up with a multitude of Bowen musicians for gigs – he’s played house parties, summer gatherings, at Bowfeast, whatever comes along - and he drew on those connections to make the simply titled BE.
All 11 tracks were written by Beaudry and the line-up is a who’s who of great island players that includes Teun Schut, Moritz Behm, Shael Wrinch, Michael Creber and drummers David Morris and Buff Allen. Even past islander and Canadian sax superstar Wayne Kozak is on BE. When Beaudry and I sat and listened to the results, he said the musicians were the ingredient that helped create something special.
“What I have to say about the musicians on the record is this: you can have a room that looks good but as soon as you add flowers and plants, some art work and the odd sculpture here and there - voila,” he said. “That makes it all come together and that’s what the musicians did.”
The album shows the 60-year-old’s interest in many music styles, an interest that began by singing in the church choir and by age seven learning to play piano, trumpet and xylophone. He added the guitar, harmonica and accordion, got heavily influenced by Bob Dylan and the Beatles and hitchhiked around the world making music. Back home in Montreal, he was in numerous bands and stood on subway platforms playing for change.
The record shows he’s listened to more than just 60s players as there are elements of jazz, reggae, pop, rock, blues, even big band music. It’s brought together by his raspy voice, the musicianship of Schut, Behm et al, and of Beaudry himself. Throw in a songwriting style that may be best described as gentle - with an edge, and you’ve got a compelling listen.
Beaudry tackles world issues and the environment but he’s not about telling people how to live their lives, more about singing about life. “I would have to say my songs have a social positive spin to them,” Beaudry says. “A mixture of reality and storytelling.”
Most lyrics are in English but Allez, Allez and V’allez Danser are in Beaudry’s native French. There are catchy choruses here, with Don’t Blame it on New York a strong example. Me Train is a’coming and Earth Day Song (he dedicates that one to Bob Marley) stand out for this listener. Throughout the record Beaudry shows his rhythmic influences, which include African, reggae, Cajun and Ska.
Beaudry sends along a special thanks to Wrinch and Schut for “letting me use their studios and also giving me the musical direction I needed.” BE is available at the Arts Pacific Gallery, the Gallery at Artisan Square and at Cates Pharmacy.
“And if you look under ‘plumbing’ in the recent phone book for Pierre’s Plumbing,” Beaudry says. “You can just give me a call and I will gladly get a CD to you.”