Lennie Gallant,
The Open Window
(Revenant, 1994)

The Open Window is a mellow, melodic and very appealing CD by French-Canadian singer-songwriter Lennie Gallant.

A well-established figure on the Canadian music scene, Gallant has received two Juno nominations and 13 East Coast Music Awards. He has written songs (in English and French) for many other artists and has contributed music to numerous film and television projects.

The Open Window is his sixth album. It very successfully combines adult-contemporary/folk songs ("Which Way Does the River Run," "The Pearl") with more traditionally flavoured tunes ("The Open Window," "Mademoiselle") that reflect his Acadian heritage. The balance works quite well, probably because the production of the album is so polished and seamless.

Colin Linden (also known for his solo work and projects with Bruce Cockburn, among others) takes the main production credit here. He and Gallant worked together on arrangements, which are very tasteful and pretty throughout, featuring Gary Craig on drums, John Dymond on bass and Linden on guitars and mandolin, with additional contributions by Richard Bell, Chris Corrigan, Todd Harrie and Janet Munson, along with Gallant's vocals and acoustic guitar.

Most of the songs have commercial structures and somewhat mainstream messages, as if they're designed for a large audience, and yet the sensitivity Gallant brings to his best writing elevates them from the everyday. In "Mademoiselle," he writes, "Let the breeze caress you, violin undress your heart." And in the very pretty "Three Words," "There's a softness in your pretty face, when the morning light creeps in/I search for the things to whisper to you, but I don't know where to begin". This romantic, sexy -- and good-looking! and French! -- side is something Gallant has going for him. In fact, he could emphasize that even more if he chose to.

As it is, I have the feeling he's playing it a little safe for commercial reasons, which is not necessarily a criticism. Virtually every song on the album is radio- and listener-friendly, and the overall mood is sunny and optimistic. Very appropriately named, The Open Windowis breezy and refreshing and well worth a listen.

- Rambles
written by Joy McKay
published 12 July 2003

[ visit the artist's website ]