by Danielle French

Released 2012
Scarlett Raven Productions
Released 2012
Scarlett Raven Productions
Recorded in Reno, Danielle's fourth independent CD DRIVE is a collection of driving, freedom and heartache songs inspired by her many years spent on the road touring throughout North America.
In titling her fourth independent CD DRIVE (a collection of driving, freedom and heartache songs inspired by her many years spent on the road touring throughout North America) it seems appropriate that Danielle embarked on a road trip, driving 1300 miles from her home-town of Calgary, AB to Reno, NV to record this project with co-producer Tom Gordon at Imirage Sound Labs.

Danielle was first introduced to the Reno music scene when she toured through the area in 1998. She was quickly welcomed into the local music community and over the years Reno has become somewhat of a second home when she tours in the States. Tom Gordon has been an integral member of the Reno music scene since 1991, working as a staff engineer at the bed and breakfast studio Granny’s House alongside head engineer Bjorn Thorsrud (Smashing Pumpkins, Shania Twain, Whitesnake). In his time at Granny’s Tom worked with a wide range of major label recording artists including Dr. Dre, Whitesnake, Boys 2 Men, Collective Soul, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Nelson, and producer Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. In his time at Imirage Sound Labs, Tom Gordon has engineered Creedence Clearwater Revisited, The Beach Boys, G Love and Special Sauce as well as producing countless local Reno artists. As a long-time friend and occasional drummer for Danielle when she performs in Reno, Danielle has always been eager to work collaboratively with Tom in a studio environment and is thrilled to have co-produced the songs on DRIVE with him.

On her 2007 CD release Shadows, Danielle grouped together a collection of quirky songs and chose to explore the sonic potential of this material through layering, editing and using creative production elements in the studio environment. Working with her favorite Canadian guitarist Martin Tielli (Rheostatics), who also leant his signature voice to two tracks, the material on Shadows has been described as “beautiful strangeness” and was embraced by national media, campus radio, and CBC as well as being named among CKUA Radio’s Top 100 CD’s of 2007.

When contemplating the material to record on DRIVE, Danielle felt drawn to take a more organic approach to her music and return to her roots as a singer/songwriter. Although tracks such as the upbeat opener, Drive, the torch-y Life is Too Short, and the catchy Long Drive feature full-band arrangements, the production approach was to focus on the essence and foundation of her songs and how she typically writes and performs solo on acoustic guitar and vocal. Means to and End is primarily acoustic with some melancholy strings and harmonies added for support, drawing comparisons to artists such as Shawn Colvin. Tom Gordon connected Danielle with Reno band The Novelists to back her up in the studio, along with stellar studio musicians Tony Savage (of Englebert Humperdink’s band) on drums and electric guitarist David Grantham on the almost jazzy track Harsh Reality. One anomaly on DRIVE is the track Not My Lover which was recorded in Calgary at The Audities Foundation with producer David Kean in 2009- it felt like a good fit on this project and was included on the CD in the final mastering.

Danielle is an award-winning singer/songwriter whose music has been featured in film and TV. In her 15+ years as a recording artist and performer, she has worked with an impressive list of musicians and producers that reads like a who’s who of the Canadian music industry. Artists such as Burton Cummings, Matthew Good, as well as members of Spirit of the West, Rheostatics, Blue Rodeo, Veal and Sarah McLachlan, Barney Bentall and Mae Moore’s bands have leant their talents to Danielle’s various projects. She has co-written with Canadian songwriters Matthew Good, Jenny Allen and Annette Ducharme and Danielle was recently personally invited to attend songwriting intensives in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin writing with a variety of songwriters including Grammy-nominated songwriter, pat mAcdonald (formerly of the band Timbuk3, “The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades”). Her songs have been covered by Jenny Allen, Shelley Lennox and the Plaid Tongued Devils. Career highlights include being invited onto Rita MacNeil’s hit CBC show Rita and Friends, and being welcomed onto the Calgary leg of Lilith Fair.

Danielle has coupled her well-spent studio time with a relentless work ethic. She has toured extensively across Canada and the United States and has opened for (surprise!) another who’s who list of performers including Burton Cummings, Holly Cole, The Barenaked Ladies, Spirit of the West, Bob Wiseman, and Mae Moore, to name a few. She has also been spotted touring with a project called Grrrls with Guitars, a female singer/songwriter showcase and compilation CD series based out of Vancouver.

Danielle’s undying allegiance to film, theatre and the arts culminates in a myriad of ambitious undertakings. She is also an award-winning filmmaker who has produced/directed three short films to her songs, which have been broadcast on the Bravo! Channel and have screened at film festivals around the world. She has co-written music for several theatre productions and her artwork and photography have been featured in several gallery shows.