In the last hour of 2020’s extra February day, Crissi Cochrane opens another chapter in her storied career by playing all eleven tunes from her third album, Heirloom, in its entirety, at Meteor, downtown Windsor’s new nightclub. It is more than appropriate for the city’s newest venue to feature the country’s newest album.
It has been six years since her second, Little Sway, and like fine wine the wait for her unique brand of pop encrusted with soul with a jazzy edge was more than worth it. Drawing on thge incredible talent of 14 musicians, her largest assembly to date, with ten of them in the house on release night, Cochrane appeals to the sensitivities of the modern listener with songs able to rock the night away – played with all the sass of her Fender Jaguar guitar – but maintains the solid, steady much-loved, silky vocal prowess which has won over a legion of fans.
They, the fans, were given their first taste of what was to come on January 6. On that day, the CBC broadcast an interview with Cochrane and sweetened it with the world premiere of her album’s leading song, Hungry Love. The rock-solid ballad relies heavily, as most of the new songs do, on her horn section, and tells a story of unfulfilled relationships.
Hungry Love, she tells Eyes on Windsor, is her own favourite from the new compilation. Others around her have their own cherished works debuting on the new collection. Celebrated tenor saxophonist, Kelly Hoppe loves Brother She’s Gone. The former Big Sugar member performs on the album and knows a thing or two about music. He is now preparing to enter his fifth decade in the music world.
In an interview with Eyes on Windsor, he talks of how impressed he is with Cochrane’s work and the time and effort put in to pulling Heirloom together. To him, it is the construction of the album which really stands out, pleasantly accented by the quality of her writing.
Cochrane, on her webpage blog, admits to being fascinated not only by songwriting, but poetry writing as well and even daydreams of one day seeing, “some of my poems in a tiny book.”
The other eight cuts on the album are Only You & Me, Like A Lady, Get Out, Something We Did, Just Friends, Everything, Heaven and Midnight Wind. In each she sets out personal stories but the most personal is the name she has chosen for her latest effort.
Heirloom honours a once abandoned guitar, one her father played as a teen, but, with the pressures of life upon him, he put it away were it sat in a closet for 30 years before it was pulled it out and given to her. It is now a cherished family heirloom.
There are others with a personal connection to the album. For local singer David Burrows, recently showcased at the annual music feast of popular show tunes, known this year as Broadway Bunch, one of the album’s songs was actually written for him and his then soon to be bride Lynne. A prize at an event they attended, almost three years ago, included Cochrane writing a song for the winner.
Something Like Bliss was the result, based on an extensive interview by Cochrane with the pair and tells the story of their romance which is now locked in both digital and on CD.
The release party opened with a set by Soul Brother Mike and the Family Soul. Cochrane also plays in the band which is led by her husband Mike Hargraves and performs what can best be described as lullaby soul, a style of music which softly captures and lulls its audience into momentary peace.
The vinyl version of the Heirloom album is currently on pre-order until the end of this week (ends on March 7 at 7pm). Based on current orders it looks like just over 100 copies will be produced making this a very rare limited edition. This will also be Crissi’s first ever release on vinyl, something she has dreamed about. Technical mixing on the album was executed by Juno-nominated engineer Brandon Unis.
To pre-order the vinyl edition of Heirloom visit https://qrates.com/projects/19510-heirloom
Heirloom is also available on all major streaming platforms and is the first original album to come out of the Soul City Music Co-op, a musicians’ co-op based in Windsor, Ontario, and co-founded by Crissi Cochrane and her husband/producer, Soul Brother Mike.
For more about the album and Crissi Cochrane visit https://www.crissicochrane.com/
For more information about the Soul City Music Co-op visit https://www.soulcitymusiccoop.com
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.