Dirty Linen - p.35
"Chvostek's deep, resonant voice invites intimacy. Her lyrics are equally compelling, an intriguing blend of the direct and the oblique."
Personnel: Annabelle Chvostek (vocals, electric guitar, mandolin, violin, fiddle, accordion, Fender Rhodes piano, organ, drums, background vocals); Bruce Cockburn (vocals, acoustic guitar); Mary Gauthier (vocals); Mike Hardwick (guitar, electric guitar, E-bow); John Hermanson (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, Mellotron, keyboards); Roma Baran (electric guitar, National guitar, accordion, drums); Michael Jerome Browne (12-string guitar, fretless banjo); Bob Hoffnar (pedal steel guitar); Jonathan Keeley (arch guitar, background vocals); Bruce Molsky (fiddle); Becky Foon (cello); Vivian Stoll (whistle, keyboards, drums, drum set, tambourine, siren); Julie Wolf (accordion, organ, keyboards); Debashis Sinha (accordion); Eric Fawcett (bass instrument, drums, drum set, background vocals); Jeremie Jones, Adrian Vedady (bass instrument); Tony Spina (drums); Lisa Gamble (drum set); Rick Rigby, Paul Chvostek, Michael Makhan, Matthew Lipscombe, Jenny Katz, Brad Levia, Jordi Rosen (background vocals).
For an artist on a label dedicated to traditional Canadian folk music, Annabelle Chvostek makes music that often sounds shockingly modern, and not simply in the way that she draws on obvious forebears from her country such as Sarah McLachlan. With the opening title track, her voice working in the textures and pacing of Autotuning without actually being treated that way, Chvostek serves notice she knows what time it is, even as most of Resilience deftly steps forward and retrospectively in equal measure. Thus the low-key blues/cabaret sass of "Racing with the Sun," with some sparkling guitar solos and backing call and response vocals suggesting a World War II coffee bar/juke joint, directly follows the near-confessional "Piece of You," which feels of a piece with any number of 21st century ballads thematically while not overtly sounding like it's going to appear in a Zach Braff film (thank goodness). Chvostek's singular talent might in the end be her flexibility with styles while maintaining her own strong voice, and the arrangements course from solo autoharp introduction to restrained electric guitar and electronics with an easy grace. Perhaps the most affecting track, though, is "The Sioux," with what sounds like a sweetly jaunty folk/country ramble -- the accordion and fiddle in combination are breathtaking -- backing a portrait of desperate lives riven by drug abuse and the weight of history. Some wounds still cut deep and Chvostek knows to regard them with the appropriate depth. ~ Ned Raggett