Bad back, lousy van—no problem for singer

By Geoff Lee

March 21, 2017 12:00 AM

'PEG MAN AT THE ROOT" Winnipeg's roots and blues man Patrick Alexandre and his trio will be performing at The Root on April 19 as part of a Road to Record tour to Vancouver Island to make a new album. SUPPLIED PHOTO

After 10 hours of driving from Winnipeg to Lloydminster, Patrick Alexandre hopes the same lady who fixed his back the last time he played at The Root will be in the house.
“I have chronic back problems so that was a real boost to me,” said the roots and blues singer from his home in the ‘Peg.
Back problems aside, Alexandre and his trio will perform at The Root on April 19 for their first stop on a Road to Record a new, unnamed,  album in Ladysmith, B.C.
There will be other stops along the way to self-finance the trip.
He’ll make the drive with musicians Dwayne Dueck and Jeffrey Laird in his high-mileage 2001 van.
“We’ve taken it on a few tours the last couple of years; I don’t know how much she’s got left in her,” said Alexandre.
“It’s got new tires, an alternator and a new battery.”
The last time he made the 10-hour drive to Lloyd, the trio reportedly blew the roof off The Root and this time they’re going for the walls.
“Hold On Me,” a song from the upcoming album could do the trick.
“It’s soft, but it gets pretty rowdy,” said Alexandre.
“I’m a real sucker for dynamics.”
Alexandre loves playing in small venues like The Root with no more than a 100 fans in attendance.
“It’s a really nice venue and it’s welcoming, which really matters after a 10-hour drive; it’s well run and friendly,” he said.
The idea behind the Road to Record is to play all of the 10-12 songs that will be recorded when they get to Vancouver Island.
“We’re going to get them nice and ready for the stage and record them when they’re hot,” said Alexandre.
“It’s nice to road test them and I have road tested a lot of these songs on my last tour, which was a Home Routes tour as a solo.”
At The Root, Alexandre will play piano, standup bass and the harmonica backed by Dueck on guitar and Laird on drums.
“It’s going to be our first show of the tour so we’ll be very excited to get going that’s for sure,” said Alexandre.
“I know there’s a piano in the back and the last time I was able to make use of that.”
He recalled the last time at The Root they got everyone to crowd into the little room in the back where the piano is.
“Maybe we’ll do that again; I’ll be playing bass and harmonica for a couple of songs,” he said.
The trio plans to record their new album at an old stone barn at Risque Disque Records in Ladysmith from April 24-30.
They will play the songs pretty close to how they sounded on the Road to Record.
It will be Alexandre’s sixth album.
When that realization sunk in he said, “Yikes, I’m getting old.”
Alexandre has recorded three albums with the F-Holes and co-produced and played bass on a Little Miss Higgins album on the Juno nominated Bison Ranch Recording Sessions.
He also has a solo album, Strange New Worlds described as a collection of songs about a modern era through the lens of old time blues.
The new album is set to come out in the fall with a release tour planned for Western Canada in late September.
“I’d like to get it out a little earlier to try to sell some advance copies,” said Alexandre.
The album will be recorded on analog equipment in keeping with Alexandre’s penchant for recording in rustic studios.
“It’s just nice to go from some character,” he said.
“I’ve done a few albums in a proper recordings studio—it’s just not the same it’s too sterile for me.”
If he’s in a barn studio, he likes to set up microphones at one end and speakers at the other to create a “real barn reverb” to run the vocals through.

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