Anne Louise Genest is changing it up again. The singer-songwriter, who is better known by her stage name Annie Lou, is taking a break from singing with her band to perform a solo concert in Qualicum Beach this week.
“Focusing back on solo is, in a way, a business decision,” said Genest. “It’s another way to be out there.”
In other words, Genest said she is looking at the music industry as a trade. While she is interested in expressing herself artistically, the long-time musician — who describes her sound as “firmly rooted folk” with modern acoustic influences — is also keen to make “a viable living” while she’s at it.
While taking the time for a solo gig this week is one way Genest can achieve these goals, she has taken several other avenues over the years. She started off with some solo work, but more recently produced music with her band. Also billed as Annie Lou, the group includes Canadian acoustic champs Andrew Collins, Max Heineman and Sarah Hamilton.
Annie Lou’s debut self-titled album was nominated for a 2010 Juno award and a 2010 Western Canadian Music award, while the sophomore release Grandma’s Rules for Drinking garnered two 2012 Canadian Folk Music award nominations for English songwriter of the year and solo artist of the year.
Their third and latest album, Tried and True, has also earned some acclaim. According to a news release from the Qualicum Acoustic Café, where Genest will play on tomorrow, the album charted in the top five of all Canadian artists on the International Folk DJ Charts.
Genest also recently found out Tried and True was nominated for best bluegrass album in the 14th Independent Music Awards.
“I was surprised and delighted,” said Genest of the nomination from the international organization.
Aside from making music with the members of Annie Lou, Genest has also recently spent some time collaborating with other acoustic musicians like Chris Coole, Archie Pateman and Kim Barlow.
Now, as a relatively new addition to the local scene (she only moved from the Yukon to Vancouver Island three years ago), Genese is also searching out more chances to play music locally and taking the opportunity to connect with other musicians through teaching.
“There’s a lot of different ways and formats to share my music,” Genest said
That doesn’t mean she’s finished with her band, however. Genest still regularly joins up with the group Annie Lou in Toronto, and they are planning to play together in Montreal this May and perhaps on the west coast over the summer.
“It doesn’t take us too long to re-gel,” she said. “They’re such great musicians.
But first, as mentioned, Genest is looking forward to going back to her solo roots for a night.
She will perform alone at the Qualicum Acoustic Cafe on Friday, April 3 at the Rotary Hall in Qualicum Beach. With two guitars and a banjo in hand, she will offer songs from previous albums, as well as some favourite old-time tunes.
The evening will also include an open stage featuring local talent.
Tickets are $7 and are available at Diva’s Kandy and Kakes in Qualicum Beach. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the entertainment starts at 7:30 p.m.