‘The Raven’s Sun’ sheds light on MacLellan’s brighter days

Darlene Shea
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Catherine MacLellan launches new album in Charlottetown Saturday night

CHARLOTTETOWN – In the creation stories of many Pacific Coast First Nations, the raven is the being that brings light to the world. For Catherine MacLellan, the allusion to light-into-darkness was so perfectly suited to the theme of her new album that she borrowed the reference for its title.

Catherine MacLellan won Album of the Year; Female Solo Recording of the Year; Roots Contmepory Recording of the year;Songwriter of the Year and Video of the Year.

The Island singer/songwriter will launch her new album, “The Raven’s Sun” on Saturday, Aug. 30, at 8 p.m., at the Mack in Charlottetown.

“The Raven’s Sun” is a collection of songs that reflect the brighter place MacLellan finds herself in these days, thanks in part to her happy musical and personal partnership with guitarist Chris Gauthier and an emerging sense that she’s gaining the upper hand in her lifelong battle with depression. 

Songs such as “Winter Spring,” about the beauty in the changing of the seasons; “Rushing Winding Wind,” a toast to the support network that gets us through hard times; and the title track, about having the confidence to find a healthy romance, all contribute to the album’s breezy summery feel. 

“Hold On” even sees Catherine reaching out to support a friend going through a hard time – a testament to her own relative sense of sure-footedness these days.

It’s the first album she and Gauthier have made together without a band – just the two of them with Gauthier at the helm as producer. MacLellan’s wistful, unadorned vocals and Gauthier’s sublime fret-work create a profoundly intimate sound, one that captures the easygoing acoustic feel of their live show on record. There’s just a hint of bass and fiddle as accents – nothing to distract from the seemingly effortless beauty of MacLellan’s song-craft.   

The daughter of Canadian songwriting royalty, Gene MacLellan, Catherine has proven herself a deserving heir to her father’s legacy ever since being named the Favourite New Discovery of 2008 in the Penguin Eggs folk magazine Critics’ Poll. She’s won three East Coast Music Awards, two Canadian Folk Music Awards, and a couple of shelves full of PEI Music Awards, and she’s topped the iTunes folk charts. 

Critics have praised her emotional honesty as a songwriter, her ear for a captivating melody, and the complex mixture of confidence and fragility heard in her voice.

The Saturday album launch show is open to all ages. Tickets are $27 and available at http://www.charlottetownfestival.com, 1-800-565-0278, 902-566-1267 or in person at the Confederation Centre for the Arts box office.

Organizations: Mack, Penguin Eggs folk magazine, Confederation Centre

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Iceland

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