Award-winning Canadian Metis singer-songwriter, actress and playwright Andrea Menard celebrated the release of her fourth album, Lift, on June 16 at the Musideum. She performed with her long-time co-writer and producer Robert Walsh on guitar and vocals, and George Koller on bass.
Menard’s cheerfulness, positivity and warm personality was infectious, and the music off Lift pretty much encapsulated that very core of who she is.
“Every song on this album is happy and joyful and uplifting,” Menard said to the packed intimate venue of the Musideum. “And we did it on purpose.”
A couple of the tracks were very straightforward, like the inspiring and positive ‘I Love My Life’, and others were deeper, like ‘Breathing Easy’, about relaxing on her deck overlooking the river in Saskatoon. There was also the title track ‘Lift’, which was written following the passing away of a fellow veteran actor who Menard looked up to. The lyrics expressed lifting “the weight off my shoulders / And the veil over my eyes” and shifting to a “brand new perspective.”
Other matters of life that Menard addressed was the experience of heartbreak in ‘Faith and Patience’, but looking at it in a more positive light and how it is important to realize we are not the only one. The track featured some awesome riffing by both Walsh and Koller.
In the midst of Menard’s set there was a nice change of tempo, transitioning from the ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’-inspired rhumba song, ‘Let’s Rendezvous’, to a ballad in ‘Hands Full’ about her relationship with who she says is a “borderline hoarder” like herself.
The singer-songwriter also paid tribute to her background with a traditional Metis song ‘Shambhala’, in which she played a drum while singing. Walsh accompanied her on guitar and this was a bit distracting; the song would have been more resonant if it was stripped down and had just Menard on the drum. Nevertheless, it was still a gorgeous piece and it was great to see her recognizing an important part of who she is.
Walsh himself took the spotlight and performed his song ‘Espoir’, which means “hope” in French. Walsh sung in both English and François in what was another very uplifting song.
Nearer to the end of her set, Menard told the audience that “as an artist I would like to bring a higher consciousness to my work.” This aspect was most definitely felt her recent music; Menard explored universal experiences that we as humans all go through in our daily lives in a very honest and positive perspective. The accomplished singer-songwriter, along with Walsh, certainly achieved what she set out do in writing these delectable twelve songs, all of which involved lyrics that oozed with positivity and joyfulness. This fourth album by the accomplished musician would only fail in lifting the most cynical listener’s spirits.
For more on Andrea Menard, visit www.andreamenard.com.