Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Jul 21st 2011 5:00PM by Tabassum Siddiqui
Courtney Lee Yip
Though barely out of her teens, Montreal (by way of Toronto) singer-songwriter Charlotte Cornfield has already managed more artistic output than many musicians double her age -- not only is she garnering buzz for her pop-meets-folk solo work, but she's also hit the road as the drummer for Montreal indie-acoustic band Bent by Elephants, jazz group Takk, and Chicago folk ensemble Panoramic and True.
Since completing her music degree last year, Cornfield has become a favourite on the festival circuit, winning over audiences at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Folk Festival and Pop Montreal, sharing stages with an eclectic group of artists (everyone from the Sadies to Dead Prez) along the way.
Crowds at the Hillside Festival in Guelph this weekend will be among the first to get a taste of Cornfield's forthcoming debut full-length, 'Two Horses.' Recorded in Toronto, the 10-song album reflects on the theme of love gone awry, and melds the young songwriter's dual influences of '60s-era folk and late-'70s New York rock 'n' roll.
Feeling the pull of both Toronto and Montreal, Cornfield brought together musician friends from each city to play on the record, which hums with a lively urban undercurrent.
'Construction on the Street' serves as an ideal teaser to Cornfield's sound, with its arch lyricism and savvy fusion of folk and pop -- there's enough of both styles to elevate her sound above the conventional girl-with-guitar template.
Sprightly, strummy guitar and Cornfield's spoken-sung cadence opens up into poppier territory -- her background as a drummer clearly serves Cornfield well as a songwriter, given the exuberant percussive bent to 'Construction.'
Her dusky vocals also serve her lyrical approach well -- the understated singing allows the storytelling to take centre stage, and she smartly bends her vocal style to evoke the emotion of what's being conveyed.
As it should be, with such sly songwriting: At first, the tune sketches out any usual day in the city: "Listening to the pavement/And wondering where the day went," Cornfield sings to a daydreamy vibe. But as the tempo picks up, so do the revelations: "Rhythm in the bedroom/ Construction on the street... She thinks that you're clean/But I know that you're filthy."
Like any good poet, Cornfield understands a thing or two about exploiting the power of wordplay -- she might be talking quite literally about the construction outside her window, but there's a sense she's also describing something more mysterious or private.
Hillside set: Charlotte Cornfield plays the Lake Stage at 2PM on Saturday, July 23.