Music: Crystal Plamondon heading to High River, Black Diamond this weekend
A musical storm of high energy is blowing into the Foothills from northern Alberta this weekend.
Bilingual singer/songwriter Crystal Plamondon is returning to what she called home for 14 years to sing tracks from her latest album Half Gospel, Half Heartbreak in High River Sept. 21 and Black Diamond Sept. 22.
Plamondon spent 1998 to 2008 in Millarville and 2008 to 2012 in Longview, the latter while working at Carlson’s on Macleod in High River.
The multi-talented performer now lives in the hamlet Plamondon, northeast of Edmonton, that was founded by her Franco-American great-grandfather in 1908.
She’s eager to return to her southern Alberta home for some time with old friends.
“They’ve been wanting me to come back and play since my new album was released in 2015,” she said. “I played in Calgary for its 150th last year but I didn’t make it to the Foothills. They were bugging me to come back. All of my friends are there. That’s my home.”
Plamondon will perform at Carlson’s on Macleod Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. and the Griffiths Seniors Centre in Black Diamond Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
“I’m really looking forward to being in the south,” she said. “When I play in the Foothills there are so many people I know, it’s so fun. It’s like a big home, French Canadian party.”
The experience of creating her latest album Half Gospel, Half Heartbreak is one that Plamondon describes as cathartic.
“The first half of the album talks about heartbreak and then it’s the message that things happen for a reason, this crap is gone, let’s carry on,” she said. “I’m going to sing mostly that album because they haven’t heard it yet.”
Plamondon’s talents go beyond singing and writing songs. Her 30-year professional career has included appearing in many television and radio specials and performing in television productions, movies and live theatre.
Foothills residents appreciate her connection with the locally-filmed hit CBC television series Heartland, where she sang and produced songs including Saving the Best for Last off her fifth album On a Song & a Prayer in season six.
“I’m the voice of Grandpa Jack’s dead wife,” she said. “She was a singer in the series and she would come back in his dreams and he had records of her and she sang.”
Plamondon’s music, from her heart-warming ballads to country, roots and Cajun music, receives a lot of attention including, but not limited to, the Prix Sylvie Van Brabant for Excellence in Artisque Creation in Alberta in 2004 and the Prix CHFA de la chanson albertaine for excellence in Alberta French Culture in 2009.
Three years ago she released Half Gospel, Half Heartbreak, her seventh album, featuring original material with a few spiritual covers with band mate/writing partner Gord Matthews.
Plamondon has been writing songs in both French and English since her teenage years.
“French is my first language so my mom said, ‘Why don’t you sing in French?’ and I did and thank God,” she said. “Being bilingual has gotten me a lot of gigs around the world. Sometimes I write in French and sometimes I write in English and sometimes I write in both.”
In addition to her skills with pen and paper, Plamondon’s high-energy shows got her invited to events from Canada Day celebrations to the Calgary Stampede.
“I want people to be entertained and moved and laugh and cry and just have fun and forget all the crap of the world,” she said. “That’s what music is supposed to do. I do about a dozen live shows a year and write songs for other musicians (with Matthews).”
Tickets to see Plamondon perform cost $20 each.
They can be purchased at the door, by calling 403-601-8774 for the High River show, or at Bluerock Gallery or by calling 852-2407 for the Black Diamond show.