Aimee-Jo Benoit – Horns of Hope (ENG review)

Chronograph Records – Available
Aimee-Jo Benoit - Horns of Hope (ENG review)

This album took forever to reach us, it only arrived at the editorial office two days ago, and it was released at the end of last month. Aimee-Jo Benoit is an interpreter with a unique voice and a very personal universe that make her a one-of-a-kind artist. On this album, she covers songs by Leonard Cohen, Daniel Lanois, and Joni Mitchell, among others. Normally, I can’t stand cover albums, but here it’s more like recreations, transporting us into this dreamlike universe. It’s rare to discover these songs with such a fresh perspective. Credit also goes to her musicians who perfectly complement her style: Carsten Rubeling on trombone, Mark DeJong on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Andre Wickenheiser on trumpet, Daniel Gaucher on drums, Mark Limacher on piano and Rhodes, and Jon Wielebnowski on upright bass and electric bass.

The entirety of this album is truly surprising with an aesthetic that’s rarely heard, impressive vocal mastery, and arrangements that are both smooth and highly poetic. Managing to make a Joni Mitchell song even more beautiful than the original is quite an achievement. I’m also familiar with Daniel Lanois’ universe, and here again, his song “Where Will Be?” is musically and vocally sublime. Continuously honing her craft, Aimee-Jo has privately studied with Tamara Beatty, Leon Leontaridis, Cheryl Fisher, Vivian Martin, and participated in workshops with Jay Clayton. Her discography includes four studio albums with Woodpigeon from 2008 to 2012, lending her vocal talent to recordings by Summerlad and Aaron Booth in 2005 and 2008 respectively, as well as the release of “The Tower” by Hermitess in 2020.

Artists like Aimee-Jo Benoit dedicate their time to perfecting their craft, whether they’re singers or musicians, it’s a craftsmanship they engage in, always yielding the most interesting results. The choice of instruments on this album is certainly not random; throughout, their use not only perfectly showcases Aimee-Jo Benoit’s voice but also plays the role of expressive actors. The perfectly calibrated arrangements reinforce the poetic form of this album. “Horns of Hope” is a stroke of artistic genius, traversed by a humanist spirit, ending with “Free” by A. Benoit. So we sit there, in the dim light, listening quietly to this beautiful orchestration that gently leads to Aimee-Jo Benoit’s beautiful voice, which, like all great artists, prefers to explore a completely acoustic orchestration, avoiding the pitfalls of electronics and effects, simply for the sake of art or the pleasure of art. It’s certain that if we didn’t know this artist until recently, she has become, with this album, as “Indispensable” as other great artists we regularly talk about. All we hope is that you’ll enjoy this album as much as we do, and if you live in Canada or plan to visit, take the time to check her website for concert dates; you’ll most certainly have an excellent time there.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, April 24th 2024

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To buy this album


Aimee-Jo Benoit – Vocals
Carsten Rubeling – Trombone
Mark DeJong – Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet
Andre Wickenheiser – Trumpet
Daniel Gaucher – Drums
Mark Limacher – Piano, Rhodes
Jon Wielebnowski – Upright Bass, Electric Bass