Annie Lou's Tried and True Canadian Country Roots

Article Contributed by HearthMusic | Published on Thursday, November 20, 2014

British Columbian roots songwriter Anne Louie Genest a.k.a. ANNIE LOU has spent years chronicling the rural lifepaths of Canada, writing songs to tell the tales of the hard-hit, hard-won victories of these everymen and women. With her new album, Tried and True, she returns to these backroads again, bringing her knack for storytelling and her keen eye for the small details of Canadiana that give her songs such life. There’s not a song on the album that won’t get your toes tapping, and each is honed with the careful craft of powerful songwriting that has garnered Annie Lou international attention. Annie Lou’s songs move across the range of emotions, looking to touch on something deeper. As Anne Louise says, “This music has an edge to it – in the voices and in the playing is the lament we all carry as people trying to get by”, Genest says. “Joy and grief are two sides of the same coin. The older music expresses that tension so perfectly.”

On Tried and True, Annie Lou is joined by some of the best young roots musicians in the country, from Toronto banjo master Chris Coole to Canadian fiddle wiz Trent Freeman (The Fretless), bassist Max Heineman of The Foggy Hogton Boys, Yukon old-time/bluegrass vocalist Sarah Hamilton and more. Tried and True was produced by Toronto multi-instrumentalist and composer Andrew Collins, who’s long been at the forefront of Canada’s most cutting-edge roots music. The result is an album that moves far beyond Annie Lou’s old-time stringband roots. Tried and True touches on vintage honky-tonk and roots country (check out the pedal steel on “It’s Hard To Tell the Singer from The Song” or the harmonies on “Haunted”), Appalachian roots (the title track), fiddle-driven progressive trad (“In the Country”), old-school folk songwriting (“Roses Blooming”), even bluegrass gospel (“Weary Prodigal”) and old mountain ballads (“My Good Captain”). This wide range of influences wears so well on Annie Lou because she knows these traditions inside and out and is driven to pay homage to them. As she says, “With this album my goal was to explore the songs in a broader musical context, beyond strictly stringband instrumentation, while keeping them rooted in the older traditional music I love so well.”

Annie Lou carries the spirit of an old storyteller, creating songs steeped in old-time mountain, Appalachian, and traditional country and bluegrass music.