Editors' Notes Ottawa-born Patrick Groulx has been a major figure on the Quebec comedy scene for over 20 years. But he also sings in the country folk band Pat Groulx et les Bas Blancs. Following the group’s second album, 2009’s La suite, the Franco-Ontarian stepped away from music to better reconcile his work and family life. But a decade later, the pandemic—and the obligation to stay home—finally prompted him to take it up again. “Recording an album wasn’t part of my plans at all,” Groulx tells Apple Music of Besoin de rien (which roughly translates to “I don’t need anything”). He had just embarked on a new comedy tour when COVID-19 hit. “I took advantage of the free time to get out my instruments and start playing and composing again.” Over the course of four months, he and bandmates Sébastien Daigle and Grégoire Painchaud worked remotely to make the album, which he tells us about in this track-by-track guide.

Mon chum
“The last thing I wanted was for it to sound like a psychedelic pop song, but it talks about the grief that losing a good friend can cause. I think we’ve all at some point known somebody close to us who’s been stuck in a toxic relationship and who increasingly isolates themselves. It’s my most bluegrass song up to now. For the recording, we collaborated with Nova Scotia musician J.P. Cormier, who sent us the tracks for the mandolin, banjo, guitar, and bass.”

Rire même quand il pleut
“It’s a song to cheer people up. I pictured myself talking to a friend who no longer leaves the house. There have been times when I felt discouraged and didn’t feel like doing anything anymore. But sometimes all it takes is a little kick in the backside from the people around you in order to regain your motivation. To play down the situation, I imbued the lyrics with lots of humour.”

Besoin de rien
“This is the only track that I already had lying at the bottom of a drawer. I got it back out to work on the arrangements and turn it into a country song, but one with a very rock sound. Like several other tracks on the album, this one deals with freedom. I talk about a situation I experienced a few years ago, when I wasn’t happy in the relationship I was in at the time and I’d pictured myself just dropping everything and leaving.”

Les cascades
“Even though it’s the track that took the least time to create, in under two hours in fact, it’s the one I found the most gruelling to write, emotionally. I recount my separation from the mother of my kids, and how we broke the news to them. It was the toughest moment in my life, even though everything was done in a climate of trust and understanding. Before writing the song, I don’t think I was completely at peace with it all, but now I think I am. It was liberating.”

Toi pis moi pis c’est tout
“I’m always instinctively drawn to country, folk, bluegrass, and rock, but with this track, I set myself the challenge of making a pop song. Again, it talks about freedom, about a romantic road trip. In a relationship, it’s easy to take each other for granted and to get caught up in the humdrum of everyday life and work, but it’s important to be able to set aside moments like these. Like I say in the lyrics, to drive along, your feet on the dashboard, listening to Johnny Cash.”

Ton cœur est un chalet
“Normally, when I write a song, I start from something personal, but I make sure that everybody will be able to identify with what I’m saying. This one talks about falling in love at a time when you’re not necessarily ready, for various reasons, such as the fear of getting involved again or being hurt. The story with my girlfriend started off a bit like that, but there came a point when our feelings had become so strong that we decided to start a relationship. The title refers to my girlfriend: She calms and brings out the best in me.”

Tout le monde dehors
“This is the second song I composed, just after ‘Petite chanson de confinement.’ When we were forced to stay at home in the spring, I was fed up just like everyone else, and I imagined the moment when we’d be given permission to go out and all meet up again. As chance would have it, the track was ready to be released on that Friday in May when gatherings of 10 people were finally permitted.”

Petite chanson de confinement
“The whole project started with this song. One morning in late March, in the middle of lockdown, I got up and watched the news, and they were talking about the nurses and doctors on the front line. I felt so powerless in the face of everything, so I wrote this track to thank them. I filmed myself singing in the kitchen and posted it on my Facebook page. The video was viewed more than one million times and shared, and that’s when I realized just how powerful music can be.”

1
2:54
 
2
2:56
 
3
3:10
 
4
4:38
 
5
3:28
 
6
3:48
 
7
2:47
 
8
3:08
 

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