by Malcolm Petch
Ambre McLean is among a select group of artists in Canada, a group that shares a notable genre. These days it’s harder than ever to pin down a particular musical styling as being the “such-and-such” genre. Sometimes it seems like every artist concocts his or her own distinct flavour simply to be able to come up with yet another new genre name. There’s one genre, though, that hasn’t been claimed yet: Alt/Via Rail. This genre applies to all artists, like Ambre, who’ve traveled the country as a performer on a Via Rail train, which is clearly an alternate means of touring. At Streaming Café we’ve had the pleasure of entertaining (or, rather, being entertained by) several Canadian indie artists who have done cross-country tours via Via rail.
Ambre McLean’s music is a blend of jazz, country, blues, folk, and pop. That list, detailed though it may be, is a fairly mundane description of the actual music: McLean’s strong guitar playing supports a spirited and secure voice, which is engaging right off the bat. Her songwriting abilities are both solid and fervent, and her comfort level at handling both her instrument and extras like a Line 6 looping unit make even her solo YouTube performances worthy of note. Here’s an artist who is good, and who is fun to listen to. "She must have been born to it,” says CBC 3’s Craig Norris about her performing.
McLean has released four albums to date as a solo artist. After cutting her teeth in various band environments, she moved on to being an artist in her own right back in 2004. More recently McLean took some time off – a sabbatical, if you will – and came back to her music refreshed and ready for new experiences. Her latest album, “Murder at the smokehouse – a musical novella” was released on a new indie label (Busted Flat Records), and she’s currently on tour with all her new music.
Ambre McLean will be performing a double bill at the Streaming Café on Saturday April 16th, along with Gabrielle Papillon (who herself appeared at SC back in June of 2010). The evening promises to be one of good music and yummy noms (for in-house guests, anyway; online will still be good music!!). Show starts at 7PM Pacific time.
For more performance details click here.