Catherine MacLellan Talks 'Silhouette'

BY Kerry DoolePublished Jul 12, 2011

Acclaimed rootsy East Coast singer-songwriter Catherine MacLellan released her fourth album, Silhouette, earlier this month. But as she recently explained to Exclaim!, it was hardly recorded all on her lonesome.

MacLellan co-produced the album with longtime collaborator David Baxter, with the bulk of the recording taking place in a rustic Prince Edward Island studio owned by her drummer Reg Ballagh. Along with Ballagh, MacLellan's band for the recording comprised guitarist Chris Gauthier and bassist Remi Arsenault, while extra recording sessions in Toronto employed local veterans Jason Sniderman (keyboards) and Burke Carroll (steel guitar) and harmony vocalist Jadea Kelly.

"We recorded last December, and we hung around the wood stove there a lot," MacLellan tells Exclaim! "It happened really quickly, as there was just a small window of opportunity that all of us could be in the same room together, so we went for it. In some ways I felt I wasn't quite ready to make a record, but in other ways I felt like I'd been waiting for it. We only had a week of recording there to get all the bed tracks down."

Silhouette features a fuller band sound than earlier MacLellan records (2009's Water in the Ground, 2008's Church Bell Blues and debut album Dark Dream Midnight). "Because I'd been playing so much with my band, I did want to represent what was happening onstage," she says. "And I think I wanted a bigger and more fully formed sound than what had happened in the past."

One track on Silhouette sure to attract attention is her version of Canadian classic "Songbird." It was written by her late father, songwriting legend Gene MacLellan.

"The reason I recorded it was that I'd been playing it live a lot. People really liked my version and wanted a copy of it. I just wanted to do it right. I'm not convinced I did, but we'll see."

Blue Rodeo singer Jim Cuddy added harmony vocals to this version. "I was disappointed I couldn't be there when Jim did his vocal for it. He did a great job," says MacLellan.

In support of Silhouette, MacLellan will be hitting up the folk festival circuit, playing such events as the Calgary Folk Music Festival and the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival. You can see all her upcoming dates here.

Silhouette is out now on True North/Linus.

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