Wayne Lavallee Green Dress

Who knew a gift for a five-year-old would make you a prospect for a Juno? That’s how it’s shaken down for the Native American artist Wayne Lavallee. Born in Vancouver, Lavallee was raised in Surrey, B.C. where he was introduced to the guitar at the influential age of five. A courtship with singing shortly followed. Flash forward to his 2005 Juno nomination for Aboriginal Recording of the Year for this sophomore release. Lavallee’s work is heavily influenced by his Metis culture, and this sets him apart from the drone on the airwaves through a successful blend of songwriting and guitar handiwork with the traditional mysticism of Cree chanting. This fusion keeps his sound fresh and innovative, but rooted in accessible country. Lavallee has toured nationally as both a musician and actor, and this latter skill shows in his performance on the album, which was produced with Grapes of Wrath guitarist Kevin Kane. Aside from all of the awards Lavallee is up for this year, in the very least, Green Dress should remove more stereotypes the average listener may have toward Aboriginal artists. (Arbor)