Chanteuse performs with bassist in Coaldale
Searching the Internet for information about Americana folk artist Gabrielle Louise reveals more than a handful of diverse descriptions – songwriter, troubadour, poet, painter, prose writer, orator, singer, storyteller, ethereal, intrepid, chanteuse, slinky seductive jazz performer. But talking to Louise or listening to her lyrics brings only one word to mind – authentic.
A child of two professional musicians, Louise’s early exposure to music was via English and Irish folk ballads. “I have very early memories of their rehearsals – the nooks and crannies I would hide in to listen in on their duo take on oldies hits and old country songs. Music has brought me a joy and a sense of purpose for as long as I can remember,” she reflected.
While attending Berklee School of Music, Louise picked up jazz and bluegrass standards while honing her sound. In response to the common assertion that her music now has an early Joni Mitchel-esque quality, Louise replied, “To say Joni Mitchel has influenced me is an understatement. Just after college I went out one day and bought every Joni record ever released on vinyl. I got very stoned and listened to them all in chronological order – reading every lyric – taking careful note of her modifications and musical growth as the years passed.”
Louise now calls Paonia home. Last April, she hung some of her artwork in the local library – her debut art show. “I just had all these paintings in bound books from the past couple of years when I picked (painting) up rather randomly while on tour.” Her artwork now hangs in her home, where Louise said it reminds her to paint more.
Her 2016 album, If the Static Clears, differs from previous recordings in the way the songwriting came about. “The bones of these songs were really time-tested to make sure they could walk. Some of the cuts I toured for a couple of years before I got the funds together to record.” She predicts future recordings will likely reflect a more piano-driven sound.
Followers of her work may have noticed Louise channeling Frida Kahlo a bit, not only in her music, but also in her art and hairstyle. A New York Times article about Kahlo and an elegant guitar theme created by fellow songwriter Justin Evan Thompson inspired the nod to the famous artist. “(Thompson’s theme) reminded me of the photo that had been printed with the article. … I consumed everything about (Kahlo) I could find. She had an infectious vitality despite the immense suffering in her life. I just absolutely want to have that attitude.” Louise’s song “No Moon at All” pays homage to Kahlo’s love affair with Diego Rivera.
Louise has a Salida connection. She attended one year of middle school and two years of high school here. She has fond memories of cruising F Street, playing pool in the former Hot Shots Arcade, wandering trails in the woods and being on the river almost daily in the summer. “What a wonderful place to be a teen!” she added.
Now in her 32nd year, Louise’s ideal day begins with a cup of tea on the deck while watering her plants, followed by painting or practicing piano. Afternoons involve a walk with her corgi and border collie pup, Nicely. “I’m a quiet person I guess; I like the feeling of space to think.” But at the end of a day, Louise loves to enjoy a live concert and potluck picnic with friends.
Fans have the rare opportunity to end their day on Thursday, Aug. 10, with a live performance at 7 p.m. by Louise in the intimate setting of the historic Coaldale Schoolhouse. Tickets are $15 at the door. To reserve a seat, RSVP at email@example.com.