Corinna Rose, bigger than folk

Corinna Rose

Montreal’s Corinna Rose is a solo artist in name only. She’ll be joined by 11 musicians at tomorrow’s album launch — “almost everyone who played on the record” — to flesh out her jazz, indie and prog-inflected folk music.

This isn’t a typical Corinna Rose show, however. She’s played live with her core band, a rock set-up of guitar, bass and drums, and with autoharpist Leah Dolgoy — the latter duo formation is how she’ll be touring across the country to promote this record, Northeast Southwest.

She’s also played plenty of shows on her own, including on a VIA train between Vancouver and Halifax, thanks to their Onboard Entertainment program. But more often than not, Rose has had company on stage and has thrived on the influence of the musicians she’s collaborated with. This began with her first music project, the Rusty Horse Band, a casual folk collective that played fundraisers and parties for kicks, from 2005 to 2009.

“When the band ended, I was really sad about it, and I missed it so much. I just kept writing songs,” says Rose. That band’s drummer, Matthew Daher, stuck with her as her solo project came to fruition with the release of an EP and some high-profile soundtrack placement (in Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz).

Together they recruited a couple of friends who were already playing together (namely Nicolas Godmaire and Alex LeBlanc), further adding to what Rose was cooking up musically for Northeast Southwest.

“They’re all heavy into jazz and prog as well, so I started listening to what they were into and the direction they were going in,” she says. “I have this folk background, but I’m really into weird time signatures and jazz chords and that electric sound, and I like the way that it fuses together. The more we played, the more they pushed me and the boundaries of what I do. The songs I started writing were a little bit darker and more complex, and the band got really excited about them.

And whereas her debut was made at a family cottage near Magog, Northeast Southwest emerged from Mountain City Studios, as recommended to her by the Darling DeMaes’ Erik Virtanen. She worked with producer Joseph Donovan, known for recording bands like the Dears and Sam Roberts, which lent a certain rock gravitas to her sound.

Adding to the sonic weight (and traffic in and out of the studio) were half a dozen string and horn players, as arranged by Nick Lavigne, who fortuitously contacted Rose to offer his services. It was his random query that moved her to incorporate orchestration into the mix.

“It felt right when we started working together, and what he came up with was beautiful,” she says. “Things just fell together in this really natural way.” ■

Corinna Rose launches her album Northeast Southwest with opener Chesley Walsh at Club Lambi (4465 St-Laurent) on Thursday, April 11, 9:30 p.m., $10

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