Local Tunes: Evangeline Gentle has come back for more

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Photo by Jenny Fisher

Evangeline Gentle’s ‘Killing Me Slow’ might be one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.

It was only a week ago last Thursday that I heard it on the Trent Radio program Cheap Vinyl and it blew me away.

Gentle has a voice that is so richly layered, hauntingly powerful and coiled over with nostalgia in that track, that it was hard not to go immediately to Youtube to listen to ‘Killing Me Slow’ again.

Although she studied PCVS’s integrated arts program (she’s being playing since she was 12 and wrote her first song at 13) that isn’t where she learned to sing.

Says Gentle, “I don’t think I really ‘learned’ how to sing consciously, I just always sang growing up so I never took any lessons, it just happened on its own”.

“Growing up,” she continues, “the music I was listening to affected the way I use my voice a lot. I really liked Joni Mitchell, who my Dad introduced me too, as well as Carole King and a lot of different folk singers and great female vocalists.”

“I think that a lot of my music also comes from traditional Celtic music and wanting to take parts of it on from a modern indie and folk take”, largely due to her having been born and spending her childhood in Aberdeen on the Northeast of Scotland.

Performing as both a solo act and with her band ‘Evangeline and the Gentlemen’, Gentle defines the difference between the two experiences as follows: “I kind of take different approaches depending on whether or not I’m playing by myself or with my band– which has a bit more rock to it.”

She adds, “When I play myself, it’s more quiet and soft, but when I’m with the band there’s electric and drums and almost a new element of ‘sass’, if that’s the word– a sassiness in the songs that I get to explore.”

She has recorded two albums, the first Wind And Waves was finished in August of 2014 and released in April of this year, and her next, Nice While It Lasted, recorded by Sean Conway and released a day before she left for Halifax in early September. She wasn’t certain if she would come back, despite having performed at the Peterborough Folk Festival at the end of August.

Having only recently returned, Gentle explains her change of heart saying, “I came back here because I felt like I was building a base among the Peterborough music scene, and that this is where I should be and where I need to be pursuing a music. This is where I want to be, and I got it great here at the Centre (for Gender And Social Justice, located in Sadleir House) and I feel really good about being here.”

Gentle will be returning to the Gordon Best opening for Sean Conway’s release party this Friday at 10 pm.