Street Sounds: Voisine reaches for pop music gold

Acadie singer Roch Voisine releases a retrospective of his career, My Very Best, and he’s not mincing words here, either.

Canadian singer Roch Voisine delivers class on his latest album

Canadian singer Roch Voisine delivers class on his latest album

The understated singer/songwriter Roch Voisine proves his weight in pop music gold by laying out many classy pop-rock hits on his retrospective.

The Acadian- Canadian (he’s from New Brunswick) has a David Foster-approved slickness that’s balanced with an undeniable sincerity. Voisine’s appeal is his believability, in how he mixes big emotions with cinematic drama and makes it OK.

He sounds like he likes his gig – Kissing Rain proves that.

Voisine’s voice and music are refined and tastefully scripted – no questions marks – and he delivers on the promise of pop-rock grandeur, done radio- friendly guilty-pleasure style.

Although some of his tracks can approach the vibe of a high quality infomercial, like his Olympic anthem Living Out My Dreams, he’s got a golden ear for craftsmanship and a heart-tugging melody.

There are many songs on My Very Best that feature this open-hearted lyrical personality (St. Anne of the Wild Blue Eyes, Higher).

Voisine’s vocal character runs along the lines of fellow Canucks Anne Murray and Amy Sky. The similarity lies in the honest and solid character that’s visualized by Voisine’s songs – they have the reserve and held-in-check presentation  that’s lacking in some of his stateside contemporaries.

It’s partly a polite shade of folk-rock but most of all its melodramatic radio-pop rock.

Voisine proves he’s got an ear for the ring of a clear guitar and blue melodies (Higher, Life’s a Beach) that are carved-in stone hooks.  He dims the light on By Myself, but this makes the song simpler and more appealing.

There’s a left turn here and it’s an odd one. Collaboration king Carlos Santana hooks up with Voisine on a cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ hit, Under the Bridge, which sounds off kilter, Latin and unexpected.

But who can take the listener out of a condominium to a rocky ledge overlooking a wind-whipped moor? Voisine can because he sings like he’s standing on the bow of the Titanic with his arms outstretched.

Dean Gordon-Smith is a Venron-based musician who reviews new releases for The Morning Star.