Thursday, 21 March 2013

JP Hoe at Quai Des Brumes

JP Hoe at Quai Des Brumes

        PHOTOS  |  MIRA DAHN

I always find it takes an extra bit of effort to get myself up and out of the house on any given Sunday. It turned out to be completely worth the effort on the 3rd of March when JP Hoe was playing at Quai des Brumes.

At the end of January, JP embarked on a month long tour starting out in Halifax. Throughout Ontario he played support for Ben Caplan, and then headed back East before coming to Montreal. The Winnipeg based singer songwriter released his fifth effort, ‘Mannequin’, in May of last year. He says, “It’s the first record that I co-produced and I love it. I love it today as much as the day we finished it.” 

Discussing his 5 records, he explained how each one has brought him a different piece of success. I was impressed by his sensibility during our interview, and found he was very open about his difficulties, successes and aspirations. He explained, “This past year has been non-stop touring, it’s been really fun and sort of trying to catch up for all the touring I was advised not to do earlier on in my career.”

His experience and maturity radiated throughout the show, I found it really contributed to the evening’s performance. I felt strength not only from his smooth voice, but also from the expression created from his voice and words together as one.  He draws his influences from a diverse set of musicians, ranging from Wilco to female singer songwriters such as Aimee Mann and Ruth Moody, he added “I started because of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Back when songs didn’t have to be on the radio to be good, and you could just play with a guitar. You could write whatever you wanted to write about; it didn’t have to be formulaic. I love that!

When asked about his lyrics, JP shared, “I like to look at other people, who live normal lives, and kind of steal their life a little bit. I love putting myself in their shoes and thinking, “what would I do before they resolve their situation, what would I do if I were them?” I don’t know if the result is what happens in real life, but it gives me the chance to be creative but have something tangible to relate to.” Alternatively, he says that some songs show up after naps, “Take as many naps as possible!”

What I was most struck by was how he sings his ballad-like country folk songs with such deep emotion. The beautiful “Learn to Let you Go” immediately connected with me and I knew I had to hear it again; one time wasn’t going to be enough.  JP Hoe is a gifted artist, fortunately things seem to finally be lining up for him, “It’s good, I don’t want to jinx it but it feels like the pieces are finally coming together.”

I sat there listening to the show, trying to soak in every word and figure out every story. The evening flew by, and maybe I was so caught up in the music, but I was surprised to look around and see the crowd dwindling. I suppose maybe it was the winter weather, the post Nuit Blanche hangovers, or the fact that Monday morning was looming, but I couldn’t get over the fact that not more people were here to see such a talented artist.  It’s only a mater of time before JP Hoe’s career starts catching up to where his music is, from my view it’s in a really great place right now.

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