♫ Angelique Francis, Long River
🍺 Curtius Blonde Ale
Words & photos: Vincent Abbate
In the first 47 installments of the Who Is Blues Listening Party, it’s been about my favorite records of the past. We’ve gone as far back as the 1920s and Blind Willie McTell. We’ve revisited post-war legends like Howlin’ Wolf and Albert King. We’ve sampled more recent standouts that have found their way into my collection during the past few decades. One thing I have not featured until now is a current release. And there’s a reason for that.
If your listening habits are like mine, you go through different phases. At times, you’ll be open to discovering new artists and also hungrily devour the familiar. At others, you’ll feel jaded – like there is nothing new under the sun so why even bother and if I hear another twelve-bar blues I’m gonna go nuts.
That’s kind of where I’ve been the past couple of years. I’ve tired of trying to keep up with the flood of new blues releases. I’ve all but stopped reviewing CDs for magazines. Though I’m sure I’ve missed some great records (plus lots of mediocre ones) by voluntarily cutting myself off, I simply haven’t had the mental space. I’ve needed a break. It happens.
Then some weeks ago, quite by accident, Angelique Francis – an extraordinary young singer from Ottawa – jolted me out of my ennui. Two songs into her newest record Long River, I knew I was onto something: A singular talent with a sound not quite like anyone else’s.
An exceptional talent deserves an equally distinctive beer, so as we listen to Ms. Francis, we’ll be sampling Curtius, a blonde ale from the Belgian city of Liége. It’s the flagship beverage of the curiously named microbrewery Brasserie C and comes packaged in a sleek 375 ml corked bottle.
Here’s to becoming excited about music again …