"Dear Daisy, Got the songs today. Blows me away! Just brilliant.
You are a coup for Festival Place. I can't wait for our date."
vocalist in the entire galaxy"
"The voice of an enraged angel, shatters Plexiglas and melts frozen hearts" - OTTAWA CITIZEN
DeBolt delivers with the resonant thunder of her voice"
"Daisy let the music crash around her while she tested the building's seismic endurance with her operatic vocal intensity. Daisy dazzled all with her waterfront whispers, alpine hollers, carousing blues laments, and swung wildly into the kind of absurdly theatrical territory one would've found in the dadaist cabarets of interwar Europe". - VICTORIA MIRROR
MANDOLIN-PLAYING DeBOLT HITS TOWN!My phone rings, so I pick it up. This is how it's done by serious reporters, you know. And by me. "Hey it's Daisy."
Daisy DeBolt has just rung me up, and my day immediately slides sideways into some strange parallel universe where rock'n'roll never happened, and where jazz-polka divas set heads a-banging with a funky mixture of accordion, bass and vocals so weird, so otherworldly, they'd be annoying if they weren't so dang good. Her music is so hard to describe I should get paid overtime for writing this column. A folk singer (part of the Fraser & DeBolt duo) on the coffee-house circuit back in the 60's, DeBolt retrenched to Sudbury about 20 years ago and gradually evolved into a polka-reggae-blues-folk-jazz mama, cross country skiing with an accordion in a backpack and writing songs that sound like our industrialized heart come to life. Her music nails down the conflict which exists at the heart of Sudbury: how a blue-collar, black-rock mining town and its culture can peacefully (well sometimes) co-exist. Jarring, bold and blazing away, DeBolt's music, carried by her avenging-angel voice, hits like a sonic punch without any of that annoying pain.
It's been a few years now since DeBolt took leave of our slag-bordered city and invaded Toronto, and she's making her triumphant return, and first appearance since she left, at the Northern Lights festival Boreal this weekend. She's got new songs, a new band(including keyboard ace Larry Stanley) and a new CD, I Can, to show off. This is also the first time we've spoken in about four years, but you'd never know it. Daisy picks things up right where we left off. we made the obligitory small talk, and I hear about her little son, Jake, who is now 6-foot-4 and a professional juggler. She discusses last year's Adrienne Clarkson Presents TV documentary about her life. I hear about DeBolt's cool new loft in Toronto, her newfound love of computers and all things cyber, and about her new musical instrument of choice.
"I'm mandolin gal now!" she says happily. After learning how to play the eight stringed instrument recently, DeBolt has worked it into her music to the degree that it's created a whole new sound. - Daisy Jazz."I'm really moving into the jazz field. It's really where I'm headed, "she says, describing her new rhythm-based, lyrically-focused music. The new sound is just part of where DeBolt's at these days.She says she's found a new confidence and strength, and she owes it all to a solo show she did recently at Lesser Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. "I was there in front of 7,000 people, just me, my accordion and my mandolin," she remembers."It was a real confirmation for me. When you're surrounded by other musicians, you have a safety net, but for me to do it myself...I'm stronger now because of it."
*Staff writer Kennedy Gordon really enjoys using the phrase"sonic
gut-punch, "so expect to see it more often.
"I CAN is like...
...a big warm wonderful hug from a screaming Goddess-it's fabulous, just amazing...hope it's going to kick some serious butt." - George Koller
...an ear movie" - Brian Blain
...a novel" - Vicki Gabereau
...some kind of Creole Hungarian goulash with a strong touch of barbecue on Queen Street.Listening to your music I see you on Broadway, that Bag Lady concept would make a great one woman-play.I actually thought "Paradise" was the first part of the story and "Bag lady Blues" was chapter two. Totally loved the graphics on the Soul Stalking disc.Beautiful music, like Picasso, Dali, and medieval tapestries.- Carmen Sylva Lindsay
Recent Reviews of "I CAN"
SING OUT!Vol.41 #2 August, 1996
This is a "comeback recording" from a Manitoba native who was active on the folk scene as a young woman (Fraser & DeBolt), then took time off to raise a family.DeBolt has a big bold alto voice, and the whole recording has a gospel-funk earthiness to it.The production is a little busy for my taste:Her voice could easily carry the day without all the backup. Fourteen of DeBolt's original songs are included here.--MD
Words & Music (SOCAN) December, 1995:
No music category will ever do justice to the crazy quilt hybrid emanating from Ontario's Daisy DeBolt, but Blues (albeit laced with folk, gospel, rock, polka and country) will have to suffice. DeBolt is a rable rouser of the first order, a gutsy singer whose deep, emotive voice veers from gruff and crusty to plaintive and almost sweet. The best thing about I Can is the hands off-manner in which DeBolt vents her tough observations about the hopelessly maladjusted sociey she sees around her.
The Record - December 6, 1995:
Veteran folkie DeBolt is blessed with a voice that can move mountains or stop waves, but she has an occasional tendancy to run it right over the top so that its effect is blunted. However, Paradise is a remarkable opener, and if you want to hear Accordion played in a rock context, there are several other tracks to scare you. CBC will love this, her fans will discover it somehow, and the "real" music business will be confused. Go for it, Daisy --you can.***
"High School Students Speak about Daisy's Music"
("Market Research" by Tim Bates, April 1995)
Tim Bates is a High School teacher specializing in Creative English. He took selected cuts from the rough mixes of I CAN into his grade eleven and twelve classes and these are some of the comments from the students:
GREAT BIG SILVER DINOSAURS
...."It's surprisingly intense and I love it"
...."Wicked sound-sounds like she's on acid"
...."I want to hear more words, can you turn the words up sir?"
...."This song is not a song about Dinosaurs or kitchens or Subway trains, it's about shit that scares her."
...."I've never heard this country...it's country that rocks."
...."the beginning sounds like Crash Test Dummies."
...."this is like jazz, it's always changing."
.... three said...."very cool song."
...."that song's wild...I like totally original songs"
...."what's that 'without a shirt' ...I've bin thinking about it all through the other songs?"
LONG HOT SUMMER
...."I didn't know you had such good taste, sir!"
...."She must have overdosed on the Rolling Stones before she wrote that"
...."Different, she does a kinda Janis Joplin thing"
...."She has that Janis Joplin Southern Comfort, I smoked the ashtray kind of raspy voice, aye! I like her more in the campfire song"