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Rachelle van Zanten

BACK TO FRANCOIS • Rachelle van Zanten

After 10 years and four albums with the acclaimed female quartet Painting Daisies, Back to Francois is the overdue solo debut from slidewonder Rachelle Van Zanten. Painting Daisies had won a one-hour prime time television/radio special in a national competition called The Great Canadian Music Dream. Sometime after that the group broke up, and Van Zanten took her shot, with excellent press and relentless touring in North America and Europe.

When we first heard about her and checked out her myspace page, we were knocked out by her tone and command of the slide guitar on the song "Take Me Right Back." We've heard a couple of very good female slide guitarists, but not quite like RVZ. She's got a gut wrenching tone and a riff wisdom that comes only from countless hours.

Grew up playing and singing Bluegrass and Old Time Country in B.C., and played in rock bands for many years. Now she's somewhere between, as a gifted singer songwriter with chops for days. The CD reveals a rich songwriting and vocal palette that her distinguished drummer and producer Joby Baker brings to a fine light. She's been known to tour solo as well as with Baker and one or two others, trio and quartet. The tour photos on her website gave us a warm and generous kind of feeling, and we plan to interview the artist in an upcoming issue.

The record is far from tunes built around guitar stylings. The opener "The Crack" is a beautiful ballad by RVZ, Baker, and Harald te Grotenhuis, who we believe to be (or have been) a headbanger axeman in a highly regarded Dutch thrash metal band Wicked Mystic. Since the artist thanks him for "taking her to a new place in music," we're keen to find out more about him, and about their chemistry.

If you like a strong woman artist, you can't miss this record. She's got a huge range artistically; as soft as Nanci Griffith on one song, and like the gutteral evil twin of the young Bonnie Raitt on the next. We have given up being amazed by the depth of talent in our Canadian neighbors, and Rachelle Van Zanten is the most current mindblowing example. Check it out. • Frank Goodman

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rachellevanzanten.com       find it here

rachel at myspace       paintingdaisies.com

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