"An insightful songwriter, and soulful vocalist, she engages her audiences with rare warmth and honesty" - Lionel Rault, CKUA Radio
Award-winning songwriter Chloe Albert overcame a severe bout of writer’s block to create her imposing new release, Dream Catcher. On the listeners side, I - and an increasing coterie of admirer’s can attest that any journey complemented by the Albert catalogue will produce rewards. The Edmonton-based singer/songwriter is on to something. Something good.
Born and raised in the Alberta capital, Chloe is the daughter of a dad from the small maritime city of Rimouski, QC, her mother a Vancouver native. It was a very musical household with her mom’s acoustic guitar always in easy reach, and the likes of Hendrix, Raitt and The Beatles on the family box. Piano plinking began at age five, guitar in her teenage years, and eventually percussion, going on to play rhythm on ‘The Engadine Sessions: Come To The Mountain‘; a collaboration between Juno nominee Suzie Vinnick, Cara Luft, Kat Danser, Cori Brewster and Karla Anderson, and Chloe.
Apparently there wasn’t a huge degree of tortured hand-wringing over a calling. Off she was to MacEwan University’s music program in the vocal department. The problem was that she had hardly performed, that part didn’t come naturally. And so, the traditional route (slog) of the professional musician began, with the usual stops of office and waitressing jobs, the labyrinthine cosmos of grant applications, and eventually, a self-generated CD, 2008’s Dedicated State. That impressive debut won Albert an Emerging Artist of the Year award at the Canadian Folk Music Awards and serious support from CBC and CKUA networks along with the admiration of lights such as Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy. Strong showings in songwriting contests at Nashville’s East Side Music Festival and the Calgary Folk Festival provided encouragement, as did her work waitressing and performing at Edmonton’s venerable Blue Chair Cafe, long a kindly incubator of promising talent.
Indeed, Albert pronounces the last couple of years as a time of “coming alive,” and the inspiration for Dream Catcher. Without succumbing to preachiness, its about spirit, shared spirit, with a strong message of a dust-yourself-off-and-get-back-on-your-feet-again type of wisdom.
Although Ani Difranco was an early inspiration and Albert- who currently plays in three Edmonton bands of diverse stripes - says her musical passions of late stretch from Sam Cooke and vintage soul to old country and blues. That said, she’s not about to be compartmentalized about her own work. In fact, her canon to date roughly falls into the intersection of folk, country, and pop, with jazzy and bluesy highlights here and there. The strong album closer ‘When The Night Fell’ might have been pitched to a Motown A & R operative years ago, for example.
Dream Catcher was independently released in June 2013. It was the #1 MOST PLAYED ALBUM OF 2013 on Alberta’s CKUA radio charts, reached #1 on Halifax’s CKDU radio, and was #5 on the Canadian Folk/Roots/Blues charts before being nominated for a JUNO Award this past February for ‘Adult Contemporary Album of The Year’. In April Chloe also took home ‘Album of the Year’, ‘Female Artist of the Year’, and ‘Folk/Roots Recording of the Year’ at The Edmonton Music Awards, and most recently has just been nominated for a 'Western Canadian Music Award' for 'Roots Solo Recording of the Year'.
“In the realm of confessional folk-rock Albert has a better sense for pop hooks than many of her peers do, and a formula that in a less cluttered landscape would guarantee her radio play. She's a straight ahead songwriter, prone to uncomplicated displays of happiness (Joy), get-back-up-on-your-feet-and-dust-yourself-off wisdom (Million Reasons, Something Magnificent) and occasional expressions of mild melancholia (Say Goodbye), kind of like a prairie Sheryl Crow. This is slick, well-crafted stuff, abetted by Stew Kirkwood's deft production and sweet instrumental touches. - Tom Murray, Penguin Eggs Magazine