J.P. Cormier
at the Festival Club, St. Ann's, Cape Breton (2008)

One of the hottest acts at Festival Club this year was one that used to be somewhat of a rarity. J.P. Cormier actually made a few appearances this year, and he wowed the crowd EVERY SINGLE TIME. Simply put, he was amazing.

He had an extremely busy schedule, too, because he was one of this year's artists in residence for the festival. If you based the festival's decision on picking him for the job on his Festival Club performances, you would see that it was a no-brainer.

Accompanying J.P. was his beautiful wife, Hilda Chiasson, who was as stylish as ever (Her shoes ALWAYS match her shirt). J.P. can totally hold his own on stage, but when Hilda joins him on piano, it really adds a lot of depth and spunk to the music. They are equally adept on both tunes and songs.

I can't believe how fast J.P.'s fingers can move on the guitar. He has a very broad repertoire, as well. For one set, he'll be playing something totally traditional and for the next, he'll throw in "The Entertainer." One time, I even saw him play two American tunes, simultaneously, on the guitar! It was extremely impressive, as he always is.

Judging by the audience's reaction to the music, I'd say they agree. On the opening night, J.P. sang a song and got applause in the middle of it for his guitar interlude. My favorite part of his performance was when he played a set of tunes for the late John Allan Cameron, in John Allan's style. He didn't do the typical finger-picking style on guitar; he picked everything with only his thumb. So, J.P. played the tunes this way, just as well as his normal way of picking. He definitely deserved the standing ovation he got from the audience.

So, if you want to hear an amazingly talented musician, just look for the tall guy in a cowboy hat and boots and beg the stage manager to bring him on! No one will regret the request.

review by
Kaitlin Hahn

5 September 2009

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