Gabrielle Shonk: How We Used To Be
A ballad featuring soft and soulful vocals and delicate instrumentation.
By Kerry Doole
Gabrielle Shonk - How We Used To Be (Arts & Crafts): Back in 2019, this Montréal-based singer-songwriter earned a Juno nomination in the Adult Alternative Album of the Year category, for her self-titled debut album. It has been a case of radio silence then, while she parted ways with her label, Universal Music Canada.
It was announced this week that she has signed to the prestigious indie imprint Arts & Crafts, and the news was accompanied by the release of this track, her first new music in five years.
The song is taken from her forthcoming winter 2023 album, and a label press release states that the release "chronicles the enormity of heartache and hope that comes with endings and new beginnings."
The single is a collaboration with two longtime friends, co-writer Jessy Caron of the band Men I Trust, and producer Jesse Mac Cormack, himself a noted singer/songwriter.
"How We Used To Be is a love ballad about a relationship that was hard to leave," explains Shonk. Sample lyrics: "Touch my hand, gently / Talk to me, it’s soothing / Make me see how we used to be." She conveys the message artfully, with a soft and subtle vocal delivery and delicate piano and acoustic guitar stylings.
Personal notes: The daughter of an American father and a Québécois mother, Shonk was born in Providence, Rhode Island and raised in Quebec City. Although fluently bilingual, she writes songs almost entirely in English, though her debut album included three French-language songs cowritten with Patrick Sauvageau.
Shonk has upcoming Quebec shows in Victoriaville (Nov. 19), Jonquiere (Nov. 24), and Montmagny (Nov. 25).
Publicity: Ken Beattie, Killbeat