Rosie Sauvageau CD release party with Nina Grollman and Izzy Marcil
Frida, December 7, doors at 6:30 p.m.
Red Raven Espresso Parlor
(Click to listen: Rosie Sauvageau, Old Man Winter)
Before we get into anything else, I feel it necessary to make the following announcement: Rosie Sauvageau can’t whistle.
It’s only worth mentioning because she seems to be able to do just about everything else. She’s been playing piano since the age of two (!) and is classically trained as a pianist. She can also play cello, guitar, organ, clarinet, and a bit of accordion. She’s an accomplished vocalist. She can act and has a theatre degree from Concordia. As if that’s not enough, she’s also smart, funny, and charming. Oh, and she’s also the reigning Miss North Dakota … and all that talent probably explains why.
So you can probably forgive the whole whistling thing.
With so much happening in her life, it makes sense that she turned to the quiet of rural North Dakota in the throes of its cold season to find inspiration for her latest EP, Interlude.
“I’ve been driving a lot. I drove seven hours today,” she says, referencing her visits to schools across the state giving presentations and leading music workshops as part of her efforts as Miss North Dakota. The long drives have given her time to consider the state’s open spaces.
“North Dakota is so stark and beautiful in its simplicity. I’ve had so much time by myself, and this album is definitely influenced by that.”
Indeed, like the state’s wide horizons, the songs are spare and minimal, relying almost entirely on Sauvageau’s voice and delicate piano lines. And although they heavily reference winter, they’re anything but cold. They are songs of longing set against backdrops of snowy ground, chilly houses, winding roads, and changing leaves.
At first blush, they have a chamber pop feel, which can be explained by Sauvageau’s classical background. But, they also share elements of Low’s post-rock aesthetic and a touch of soul, all attributable to her broad tastes in music and an effort, at the outset of recording, not to focus on a single genre or idea.
“I get really bored really easy, so when I listen to an album, I look for a lot of differentiation. With my writing and with this album, I haven’t set out to write songs that have a theme or sound similar,” she says.
“My classical background has been a big influence, whether I even realize it or not, especially with some of the more technical pieces I’ve written. But I’m also a huge fan of Elton John and Carole King, and I’m a big Liberace fan.”
As Sauvageau gears up for the Miss America pageant this January, she’s keeping an eye for opportunities the experience lends her and her music career. While balancing this hectic lifestyle with her work as an accompanist for NDSU’s theatre department, she’s also penning a musical.
“I would play a certain group of songs live and people would say, ‘ohmigosh, that sounds like a musical theatre song,’ and that would make sense, because I’m a huge musical theatre nerd. And, as I was looking over these songs that had this feel, I thought, ‘this could be a story.’” She hints that story would be slightly autobiographical. If it is, then we can probably expect there to be plenty going on.
But no whistling, of course.
Image: Rosie Sauvageau, courtesy Natalie Kaye Lindberg.