Nancy Beaudette doesn't just write songs: she paints them. Listen to Nancy's new CD, ?Honestly,? and you may find yourself seeing pictures, glimpsing a rich palette of colors in her guitar-playing, and noticing that the beautiful honesty of her voice and her lyrics points directly to your own heart. For her fans and listeners, it will come as no surprise to learn that this award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter also happens to be an award-winning Canadian sign-maker.
For her fans and listeners, it will come as no surprise to learn that this award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter also happens to be an award-winning Canadian sign-maker. The artistry that has brought international success to her company, Sign-It Signs & Design, imbues every aspect of her singing, songwriting, and recording. Making signs and songs have much in common. Both begin with an inkling, both require a combination of love, faith, and craft, and both lead to a work of art that helps us see new ways into the unknown ? whether that be the unknown of a new caf? or the unknown parts of ourselves. And, says Beaudette, the two arts enhance one another: ?As I became a better sign-maker, I learned to write better songs.?
The consummate hometown girl, Nancy is deeply proud of her roots in Cornwall, Ontario, a place sustained by farming and millwork where French and English languages were friendly neighbors. Here on the border of Glengarry County, she was fed on French fiddle-music and Irish and Scottish reels. And as a budding musician who fell head over heels with her first guitar at age 11, she devoured other influences as fast as she could find them: show tunes and pop songs and everything in the Reader's Digest Songbooks. She cut her teeth chording to her grandfather's old-time fiddle-playing, playing clarinet and saxophone in swing and show bands, and singing in her church choir.
That church choir came to exert a powerful influence over Beaudette's early musical career. During the eighties and nineties, she directed her church choir and began creating her own liturgical music to replace some of the rather drab specimens sung in churches at the time. She aimed to make her own melodies ?singable, upbeat, impassioned, and empowering,? and she certainly succeeded! Her choir toured all over Canada and the north-east US, and her recordings garnered awards, radio play, and high praise from all quarters, including David Wang of the Catholic Register who named her ?Road to Freedom? one of the top 3 Christian albums of 1999.
But even with great success and great experiences like these, over the last few years, Nancy realized it was time to embrace a more personal song-writing. The result is her new CD, ?Honestly,? a collection of songs that move from heartbreak to true love and from soul searching to celebration. Seasoned professionals joined her in this effort: Grammy-winner Jon Vezner co-wrote ?It Finally Took Losing You to Find Me,? and Kathy Mattea, also a Grammy winner, demoed ?One Step Closer than Yesterday,? a poignant ballad about the death of Beaudette's friend Carole Larouche. Brian Buchanan of the well-loved group ?Enter the Haggis? played fiddle on the Celtic-influenced song, ?When the Last Whistle Blows.? And ?Hard Times? was co-written with country artist Dawn Kenney.
The recording is catching the attention and accolades of judges and listeners alike: ?Something Beautiful? was a finalist in the 2009 Mountain Stage New Song competition, and Nancy's performance of ?Honestly? earned her Vocalist of the Month with Singer Universe. ?When the Last Whistle Blows,? a song commemorating the history of paper-making in Cornwall, will be included on the compilation CD, ?Spirit of a City.? 2010 promises to be an exciting year for Nancy, with house concerts, television appearances, and a performance at the Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, TN.
Come to one of Beaudette's shows and you will experience first-hand all the warmth and welcome of a Canadian kitchen party! On-stage and off, Nancy practices hometown hospitality, taking special pleasure in ?greeting you at the door.? Blending brave and honest song-writing, first-rate musicianship, and a huge helping of native Canadian wit and generosity, Nancy Beaudette is an artist of signs and songs and heart ? and all the signs point to rousing success!
Kate Chadbourne, Ph.D. Harvard