TORONTO – A Canadian treasure of extraordinary talent COCO LOVE ALCORN releases her dynamic new album REBIRTH, where Alcorn asks herself the kind of questions that come to define one’s life and how to live it, while deftly expressing a brave and confessional vulnerability. Alcorn releases the album in a special concert at Toronto’s Hugh’s Room Live, 2261 Dundas St. West with doors at 6:30 pm and music from 8:30-11:00 pm. Some of Canada’s finest musicians joining her will include Ewen Farncombe (piano) and Connor Walsh(bass). Along with the album is an upcoming Canadian tour with Ontario stops in Toronto, London, Perth, Kingston, Newmarket, and Owen Sound. She performs in Chelsea, QC, three concerts in Nova Scotia, then on to Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg. For more information please visit website.
The first thing you notice about Coco Love Alcorn, is the voice. It's a rich, utterly distinctive, supremely soulful instrument – hailed by the press as extraordinary, beautiful, and stunning – that has a way of touching your heart and connecting with, as Alcorn likes to call it, your “noughatty centre.” As a performer, Alcorn is always in the moment, joyful, and genuine. She combines diverse musical influences including jazz, R&B, pop, folk, and Gospel. Her playful and witty character, love of improvising, and willingness to engage fearlessly with the audience has made Alcorn an established presence on the Canadian music scene. The second thing is that her new and 9th album, Rebirth, is a powerful personal statement, from a conscious human being, documenting her continuing journey toward spiritual growth.
Nowhere is this more evident than on "I Forgive Myself," an affirmation that reveals an artist with the courage to allow such an incredibly vulnerable moment. A hard song for Alcorn to write and to sing, this perfect, hushed, piano-and-vocal piece finds Alcorn permitting herself forgiveness, thereby encouraging us to do the same. "The Keeper" retains the vulnerability of "I Forgive Myself," once again understanding that we are each the keeper of our own spirit. It's an uplifting hymn about needing self-care before being able to help anyone else. Here Alcorn really "takes us to church" with the Gospel choir swell.
Similarly, "What I Need" asks the question, "How much of what I want is what I need?" Knowing the difference is hugely important in leading a satisfied life, and Alcorn knows it. It's an R&B slow-jam and vocal showcase that summarizes a lifelong internal conversation -- one that never really ends. A kind of sister song to "What I Need," the relaxed soul vibe of "Satisfied" examines the short-term obsessions and quick fixes that prevent the search for true and lasting peace in life. When Alcorn admits that "I get a little rush when I buy things," and the chorus suggests that her satisfaction can come from "getting a little more," she's bravely revealing the kind of instant-gratification thinking to which we all sometimes fall prey. "Ain't No Friend" personifies negative emotions like self-doubt, worry, and shame as bullies to be exiled from consciousness. It's all set to a percolating guitar that drives a bluesy shuffle, with some very inventive backing vocals in the second verse.
"Noughatty Centre" – a phrase Alcorn uses to describe her heart, her core, her essential spirit – finds her playing all of the instruments and singing all of the vocal parts. The bass is her crouched on the studio floor, using her hands on the Hammond organ foot pedals, while the rhythm is many layers of her hitting various drums. Says Alcorn, "I felt very hip-hop and rock 'n' roll at the same time."
Starting from a funky bass, smooth synth, slinky organ, and simple-but-sexy horns, the title song and opener "Rebirth" builds through a slow, compelling groove to an irresistible Gospel chorus that bears the heartening message: "Out of the hard times in life comes rebirth, out of the hard times in life we grow." Alcorn wrote it after one of the hardest days in her life, but still managed to keep a hold on hope. Her vocal run at the peak of the bridge is utterly sublime.
Alcorn is capable of enormous range but also does sweet, tender very well too. "A Song to Sing" is a kind, thoughtful, unadorned lullaby of universal truths that apply to us all. It features ukelele plucking a simple melody, sung melodiously with backing vocals by three of the men in her band for the album. It basically says everyone is special, some things take time, and hold onto your dreams. With just piano, minimal percussion, vocals, and a string quartet, "Beautiful Mess" is a tearjerker, a gentle song about trying to recover from a broken heart. It's about letting someone go while still holding them close, allowing joy alongside the pain of remembering them.
To a slow, repeated pattern of descending chords, the somewhat moody and atmospheric "Here for the Moment" uses that simple daily phrase as a reminder of our need to truly seize the day in the face of our own mortality. The Gospel soul ballad "Save Me" defies the expected plea of such a title, instead recognizing that we have to get out of our own way in order to save ourselves.
And finally, written in the 1920’s by Harry Dixon Loes, Alcorn’s cover of "This Little Light of Mine" seems the perfect closer to an album about the kind of rebirth centred around an enlightened evolution of the self. We are all special, and we can all sing along.
Quotes about Coco:
“…legendary soul-folk singer-songwriter” ~The Coast, Halifax
"…the feel of classic R&B but with a modern singer-songwriter’s sensibility" ~ Sing Out Magazine
“A young veteran of every genre” ~ The Toronto Star
“A bright burst of colour amidst the many shades of indie grey.” ~ Ottawa Xpress
“Coco Love Alcorn should be celebrated as a Canadian treasure” ~ CKUA (Edmonton)
"Coco is the ultimate musical spark plug... an electrical connector through which the creative energy flows… I have never seen another performer able to bring people together like Coco does." ~ James Keelaghan – (Artist Director, Summerfolk Festival and renowned Canadian singer/ songwriter)