Jean-Paul De Roover’s new EP does away with all that is conventionally Jean-Paul
Jean-Paul De Roover is not your typical singer-songwriter.
Where most artists settle into a genre of music and gradually evolve and mature within that framework, Jean-Paul seems to thrive on reinventing himself.
Jean-Paul – who is also a multi-instrumentalist, composer, record producer, artistic director of the Live from the Rock Folk Festival in Red Rock, ON, and something of a pillar of the Thunder Bay music community – released a pair of albums in 2019-2020 titled Love and Loss that were, respectively, folk and hard rock.
So what do you do to top that juxtaposition of styles?
If you’re Jean-Paul, you release an instrumental album, one that does away with the guitar and loop-driven arrangements of your best-known work.
“I forced myself out of my comfort zone by removing my more identifiable musical features – vocals and guitar,” he said. “Instead, these four songs are instrumental, piano-based pieces, relying on jazz-inspired drums for the rhythm section, with occasional melodic assistance from trumpets, on top of an atmospheric base of seaboard, synths, and string arrangements.”
Lone is a collection of songs that were written and developed over several years, and completed during the COVID-19 lockdown of late 2020/2021. As befits the theme of isolation and loneliness, all the performances and the entire production of the EP were done single-handedly.
The songs on Lone begin with Erik Satie-like piano figures, then yield to Brian Eno/Harold Budd atmospherics and develop and culminate, organically, into full-bodied crescendos of trumpets and synthesized strings – sometimes recalling the lush, romantic and moody movie themes of Michel Legrand.
There are field recordings underpinning the songs on Lone as well. “Bar” features a sample from an improvised performance at an empty music venue on an early Saturday afternoon, while “Bridge” includes a sample of Jean-Paul’s car driving over the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge between Canada and the U.S.
Jean-Paul does not plan to tour the EP despite the current move to reopen public spaces. Nor does this signal a new musical direction for him, he said. Rather the tunes are simply a momentary deviation in the ever-evolving forward trajectory of Jean-Paul’s career.
Check out the album HERE.