New French Music: French Cowboy
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Having been living in France for almost three years now, your blogger has become as cultivated as any Jacques le Frenchman. For instance, like Blur's Charmless Man, we know our claret from our beaujolais. It's simple really; you blow into a claret, whereas a beaujolais has strings.
Today is the annual celebration of the Beaujolais Nouveau, the first wines of the 2007 harvest. Bottles were ceremonially delivered Harry Potter-style at the stroke of midnight to bars and bistros around the country (notwithstanding the current transport problems), and bars are offering Beaujolais to its customers. It all reminds us of our recent stay in Beaune and the Côte d'Or, where we drove through endless acres of vineyards (well, not literally - we stayed on the roads) and sampled the merchandise.
The Beaujolais Nouveau celebrations bring back sad memories for many in the Irish media community. In 1984 four Irish journalists were killed when, flying back from France in an effort to bring the first bottles of new wine to Ireland, their chartered light aircraft crashed near Eastbourne on the southern English coast. The pilot and four other passengers also died.
Anyway, less of the new wine - let's get to the new tunes.
Many French music fans were disappointed at the news last autumn of the break-up of a Nantes band called The Little Rabbits. We especially liked their 1998 album 'Yeah', a catchy and cheeky collection of lo-fi alt-pop in the same vein as 'Western Sous La Neige' by Dionysos.
The good news for Little Rabbits fans is that lead singer Federico Pellegrini is back with a new band. French Cowboy (left) sees Pellegrini (under the hat) continuing in the English-language lo-fi-pop line of business, but now with added country influence. The group's first album, 'Baby Face Nelson Was A French Cowboy' has just been released. Wherever it finishes in the end-of-year album polls, it has Best Album Title all sown up.
If you're curious as to what a French cowboy sounds like, you can listen to some of the band's tunes on their MySpace page. Here's the video for their single 'Shake', directed by bassist Gaetan Chataigner and featuring the Cabaret New Burlesque; there's at least one CLUAS writer who'll love that: