Presented by the Central Music Festival Society, the Edmonton-based Chloe Albert Band will be performing at the Elks Lodge on Feb. 4th.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Albert was raised in a 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, according to her bio. She also started on piano at age five, guitar in her teen years and eventually tried her hand at percussion.
“There was kind of a clear time – I think that was right around when Lilith Fair started – I was around the age of 15 or so,” she explains during a recent chat of her first thoughts of getting into music.
Indeed – singers like Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan and Paula Cole provided plenty of inspiration to the budding young songstress. “I remember going to Lilith Fair and discovering all of this music. So I got my own guitar and I started learning a few chords from my mom.
“That’s when I thought, I would love to do this.”
She had also sung in choirs throughout her growing up years, so a compelling vocal talent was flourishing as well.
Later on, she was off to MacEwan University’s music program in the vocal department, graduating in 2004. After that, Albert continued to find her own path musically – writing and performing and preparing to lay down tracks on her debut CD – Dedicated State which was released in 2008.
The recording process proved a fascinating experience in and of itself. “There is so much to learn in the studio,” she recalled. “It’s a whole other art form. The other big thing is that I recorded a fully produced album with a full band sound, and I hadn’t played with one before. So these songs were being completely transformed from me and my guitar to these full arrangements.”
It was a big process and it was challenging, and then there’s the back and forth of working so closely with a producer as well. But ultimately, Albert was pleased with how Dedicated State came together. “In the end, I was really happy with it.
“With each recording experience, every time you work with someone different or get some time in the studio, it’s such learning process.”
That debut CD also won Albert an Emerging Artist of the Year Award at the Canadian Folk Music Awards and support from CBC and CKUA networks.
Strong showings in songwriting contests at Nashville’s East Side Music Festival and the Calgary Folk Festival also provided encouragement, as did her work waitressing and performing at Edmonton’s Blue Chair Cafe.
Her latest disc, Dream Catcher, was independently released in 2013.
“As far as the style and production, I didn’t have a vision that was terribly different from when I recorded Dedicated State. The only thing that I remember consciously knowing was that I wanted to come out with a good vibe album – I remember consciously writing a few songs with that intent of wanting to put out some good-hearted stuff. I think that came from gigging with Dedicated State.
“I mostly played solo all of the time, I didn’t really play with the band back then,” she said. “And I remember thinking at some of the gigs, I don’t feel like playing all of these sad songs, but it’s all I have,” she added with a laugh. “It’s not like my whole album was a downer either – I just felt like I wanted some more positive, pick-me-up songs. Otherwise, it was like another shot in the dark – a new producer, a new studio. I was was just kind of open to the experience.”
Albert, who has one child and one on the way, has pointed out that her musical passions of late stretch from Sam Cooke and vintage soul to old country and blues. More specifically, her canon to date falls into the intersection of folk, country, and pop, with jazzy and bluesy highlights.
It all comes through beautifully on Dream Catcher, which was the number one most played album of 2013 on the CKUA radio charts.
It also reached number one on Halifax’s CKDU radio and was number five on the Canadian Folk/Roots/Blues charts before being nominated for a Juno Award for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year.
Albert has notched a number of accolades including Album of the Year, Female Artist of the Year and Folk/Roots Recording of the Year at the Edmonton Music Awards as well.
Through it all, she has certainly found her calling.
“It’s the idea of creating something out of nothing,” she said, recalling the times prior to the release of Dream Catcher when songs were coming together and the vision for the album was gradually coming to fruition in her mind.
“That always inspires me. Having gone through that, I know there is this potential for something completely unknown to be born and that excites me.
“Just performing, too. There are times when you aren’t super stoked to be at a gig, but then it blows your mind and you leave feeling really inspired by the people you met or the people you may have touched,” she said. That always keeps me going.
“I also know that there are so many inspiring experiences ahead of me.”
For ticket information for her Red Deer performance, check out www.centralmusicfest.com.