March 2006

Roxanne Potvin | The Way it Feels CD release party
Presented by Richard Flohil
Match 9, 2006The RivoliToronto
“It’s My Party…”
by Andy Frank with photo by José Romelo Lagman
Go ahead, sing the headline, and take a trip with me to an oft-forgotten musical era defined by brilliant record producers like Quincy Jones and Phil Spector, and starring dozens of blessed young singers like Lesley Gore and Diana Ross. Now come back with me to 1999 when a short-haired, electric-guitar strumming Sheryl Crow escapes her Valley Girl image with the Live at Central Park concert, supported by a cast of Rock and Roll glitterati like Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Chrissie Hynde.
Finally, join me Thursday, March 9, 2006 at The Rivoli in Toronto, where a 23 year-old phenom is about to star in an eagerly anticipated debutante party. To be exact, it is the CD Release party for Roxanne Potvin’s second record, The Way It Feels, and that tingling you’re now feeling is the buzz charging through the media and star-filled room.

Toronto impresario-legend Richard Flohil opens the proceedings with a short story about recently having had his ears seduced somewhere in the Capital region by the enticing vocal qualities of Roxanne Potvin. (One thing I’ve learned about Mr. Flohil — he knows a voice when he hears one, and has represented kd lang, Serena Ryder and other extra-terrestrial singers over the years.)

Flanked by Grammy Award blues legend and The Way It Feels producer Colin Linden, Roxanne Potvin straps on an acoustic guitar and, seemingly nervously, begins the set with “Hurting Child”. Classy and sexy in a laced, crème-caramel baby-doll dress, creamy stockings and dangerous tan heels, the eagerly anticipated voice coos the soothing song flawlessly, offering us delicious doses of her clean, Motown/Patsy Cline sound.

Soon, she has her dependable (and matching!) cream-coloured telecaster strapped over her left shoulder, and reveals the last third of her trinity of talent — song writing, singing and lead guitar. She plays it with muted discretion, like a blues player plays, no rock star gyrations to distract us. Move over, Sheryl.

Roxanne Potvin does seem to have an overly self-critical ear, and like Serena Ryder’s mid-song guitar-tuning habit, risks distracting her audience and losing a song’s momentum by tinkering with her amp levels during a performance.

However, this little quirk does not diminish a tremendously successful debut performance, one that was celebrated with a standing, double-devil-horn salute by Daniel Lanois (yes, 'the' Daniel Lanois), who, like Colin Linden, is a modern-day Quincy Jones or Phil Spector, and who played a key role in Roxanne Potvin’s latest CD. But as Potvin exulted near the end of the first of two performances at The Rivoli, “It’s MY Party!”, and there is no doubt about that.

We welcome your comments and feedback
Andy Frank
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José Romelo Lagman
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The Live Music Report

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