Release Date: May 30th, 2016
No doubt Mahalia Jackson would argue that her songs were a form of folk music and that Cat Stevens would consider his hippie tunes an expression of gospel. Furthermore, one could point out that these two styles have been effectively melded before with the likes of Van Morrison. However, on ‘Good Will Come To You’ Un Blonde (Jean-Sébastien Audet) approaches it with a seeming naïvté, like someone with no pre-conceived notion of the division between genres, and simply presents gospel/devotional/folk as the seamless whole that it should be.
This is the second instalment of a trilogy (the first being last year’s ‘Water the Next Day’) that explores the different corners of Audet’s creative spirit. And what a wonderful corner this current one is. Virtually absent are any references to contemporary R&B. The electronics are not completely absent but they are subdued and subservient to the down-to-earth vibe of the acoustic guitar. Electric guitars gently murmur and wail at the edges, but they too are restrained. At the centre of it all is Audet’s soft voice inviting you into a personal communion. Even when he creates an artificial chorus by self-harmonizing you still feel a very direct connection. There is nothing grandiose about ‘Good Will Come To You’.
The album contains 21 tracks but many of those are brief, 30-second ideas. One may protest that the brevity in some cases gives little time for the song to fully develop. However, given that there are ample examples of fully fleshed-out songs on the record, the inclusion of shorter tracks merely adds texture. The fact that the music shifts every minute or two is, if anything, invigorating.
The overall feel of ‘Good Will Come To You’ is one of laid-back, feel-good, loving warmth. Audet does break out on occasion (e.g. the zydeco flavoured “Take Me Higher” and the funky instrumental “Open Sesame”) but these moments never break the mood, in fact they reinforce it with their inclusiveness. More typical, however, are tracks like the simple folk tune “Who I Am” with its warm embrace of harmony and country-folk guitar or the more gospel-oriented “Brand New” with its barely-there percussion.
For all of Audet’s obvious and diverse talents ‘Good Will Come To You’ is an exercise in subtlety, as he quietly infuses various influences (jazz, hip-hop, soul) without you even noticing. The proof is in the pudding, as the album is a satisfyingly diverse listen despite is unifying theme and vibe. We look forward to exploring other corners of Audet’s imagination, but if this was the only one there was then we’d be more than happy.