Country-rock girl with guitar sings up-tempo hooky tunes (fans report singing in the shower and at the wheel) and memorable ballads with lyrics steeped in love, loss, and life’s hard lessons.

Letting Go album cover

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Catherine Bacque’s limited edition EP, Letting Go (2009), was the debut release for the Scarborough singer/songwriter. Now working on her second CD, Catherine is “breaking down the closet door,” according to a U.S. songwriter friend. In the past, Catherine has taken the stage to front a jazz/rock/funk fusion collective, a Top-40 cover band, and a country five-piece, among others.

“I think that what I have going for me is that I’m a cultural sponge,” says Catherine, referring to her experiences in music, teaching and life in general. “I am constantly surprised and flattered by how much my students like my music, given the iTunes universe we live in. Working with young people keeps me in touch with what they are interested in and listening to, and I’m always finding new music that I love. CBC Radio is great, especially for discovering Canadian artists.”

Catherine’s own playlists run the gamut from Nora Jones, Dala, Dan Mangan and Dallas Green to Crowded House, Tragically Hip, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Kathleen Edwards. Her own songs draw from personal experience which is universal: love, loss, life’s hard lessons. Idealism and skepticism play tug of war in “I Did, I Will, I Do” and “Say That You Want Me”, upbeat love songs of ‘goodbye’ and ‘hello’ respectively. “You’re Still Mine” is an anthem of unconditional love, and “With You” and “Fly” struggle with the need to be yourself and chase your dreams.

On Letting Go, Catherine was joined by renowned Quebecois bassist Alain Caron on “Fly”, and guitar guru Tim Bovaconti on several tracks. She is currently working with Johnny Johnson (saxophone) and Devrim Eldelekli (guitar) on her new recording. Catherine is loving the experience. “Get the best people you can and stay out of their way, because you never know what magic will happen to your songs.”

For the new album, Catherine has been writing “just outside my comfort zone,” she laughs, inspired by a short film script, the lives of teenaged girls, and “our rapacious consumer society.” “Message to You”, a bonus track included in the new mix of Letting Go, featuring Johnny Johnson on soprano sax, is a co-write with producer Alan Hardiman, written for a film by James Cooper currently in pre-production.

“Co-writing is new for me, and I am excited by the challenges and rewards of getting creative with other artists—players, songwriters, producers and filmmakers.” Fans can expect a new CD release in 2011, including some surprises. “There’s some pretty heavy rock guitar on a couple of the tracks, and a string section on a pop ballad, so I’m branching out. My ears are definitely bigger now. We’re also looking at a full-on bluegrass treatment for one track, so hang on to your cowboy hats!”

Catherine is looking forward to a busy summer playing and recording, and as always, writing new songs. “I never know where the next song will take me, and that’s what keeps it fresh.”

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