Roxanne Potvin No Love for the Poisonous

Roxanne Potvin No Love for the Poisonous
This recording is a major progression for the young Toronto-based artist. Recognized for her powerful, soulful singing and bluesy guitar chops, Potvin’s songwriting has matured since 2006’s The Way I Feel. The new songs are insightful glimpses into Potvin’s thinking process. Their substance is sombre, revealing an artist who’s questioning assumptions, heard in the gospel pop of "Laws of Nature,” or disappointment, singing, "I see no weapons drawn, no guns against your head, but you run, you sweat, you’re short of breath, and you swear on your life it’s true,” in the rootsy "Who’s The Enemy.” This CD’s strength is its varied approach, the songs’ serious nature often contrasting with their musical setting. A good example is "Paralyzed,” a bouncy ’60s girl group pop frolic juxtaposed with Potvin singing, "I can’t move, I can’t breathe, I’m scared of my own fear on this quest for truth and happiness.” FemBots’ Dave Mackinnon produced, successfully harnessing Potvin’s desire to experiment and broaden her musical palette. While the blues references are still here, this recording could easily sit next to recordings by Emily Haines or Feist. Being honest in public can be risky but Potvin has turned her misgivings into a thoughtful, poetic musical statement.

Your first album for Alert Music, The Way It Feels, came out two years ago. How was it getting ready to record No Love for the Poisonous?
I didn’t really know where this record was going to go. I had some songs but I had questions about the musical direction. There was a desire to explore and stretch out. I had to line that up in my head before I was able to go ahead and find the people who ultimately helped me do it.

How did FemBots’ Dave Mackinnon end up producing?
Out of the blue. I was working at Utopia and I used to talk about looking for a producer with the cook, who’s a drummer. He talked about Dave. Turns out Dave came into the restaurant frequently and his studio was around the corner. So I checked FemBots out and immediately loved the music. It felt like I had found what I was looking for without really looking. We met up, he liked the songs I was working on and a few months later we had a record.

You recently worked with the Voices of the Wetlands project. What’s it about?
I was made aware of it when I saw a documentary called Hurricane on the Bayou. I had no idea about the wetlands and their role in weakening the approach of a hurricane. But these lands are quickly disappearing — since the ’30s, something like the size of the State of Delaware. So I volunteered at a Voices of the Wetlands Festival in Houma, Louisiana. They had just been hit by Hurricane Ike. There was quite a bit of damage, a lot of roofs of destroyed. If the wetlands continue to erode, these little towns along the coast will disappear. (Alert)