“I took two screen shots to make sure it was true,” says Marc-André Rioux during our Zoom interview. On his baseball cap is the inscription “J’ai soif” (“I’m thirsty”). Behind him were the corn fields of St-Louis-de-Gonzague, near Beauharnois (Québec), where all five members of the band are from.
“There’s something highly simple that defines us: never forgetting where we’re from,” says Rioux. “As a matter of fact, it’s the subject of [our song] “Notre histoire.” It’s about remembering that we were conceived in a hay wagon not far from here. We’re not about to pretend we’re someone else.” There was The Fab Four, now here come The Farm Five!
Lendemain de veille has tallied more than three million cumulative plays on the usual digital platforms, and have been playing on the Énergie radio network and CKOI in Montréal. They have no less than three different songs in rotation on commercial radio, thanks to their finely crafted country-rock.
“We know our music was never conceived for radio, but then we look at our followers on Facebook and realize our audience is much broader than we expected,” says Rioux. “We play agricultural rock and we love instruments like the banjo, the fiddle, lap steel, mandolin, accordion – we listen to a lot of La Bottine souriante – so we never know from one song to the next where we might end up.”
Which is to say, there’s a marked difference between the more roots roots of the first album, 1 000 bouteilles, and their second one, firmly rooted in the country genre. Songs such as “On était saoul,” “Bière au ciel,” “Une bonne bouteille de vin,” and many others, would’ve been entirely at home at Deux Pierrots, the now-defunct Old Montréal live music bar where the band played for a decade. “That’s how long it took us to write our own songs. We’ve always existed to play live and party with people,” says Rioux.
Le party est pogné was recorded during the pandemic. As with many a production during this protracted period, each member recorded their bit separately, and the recorded tracks were then assembled.
This time around, the guys categorically refused to tame down, and consciously avoided overly complicated arrangements. “Un tour à maison,” “Gars de campagne,” “Notre histoire,” and “Mémère Tremblay” show that Rioux et al. know how to write a bunch of like-minded songs, with light-hearted verses and bubbly choruses. “Cowboy,” a honky-tonk-tinged roadhouse blues, was even selected as the official song of the 2020 Festival Western de St-Tite.
“The large country family is composed of people who don’t judge each other. They drink cold beer from a can and listen to good music,” Rioux says. “The rodeo at Grandes Estrades is like a mini-Bell Centre during a Habs game. People scream like you wouldn’t believe. We played there for six straight years, thanks to Bob Bissonnette, who’d recommended us highly.” What better way to sell beer like crazy?
That also means that you might have heard their “Medley Cayouche,” a set of the New Brunswick singer’s best songs, as the title makes clear. “We went to visit him to give him a case of Alpine beer, his favourite brand, a tray of shots, and copies of our albums, and he got there just after us on his Harley-Davidson. What a sight, with the wind splitting his beard right in the middle. He’s quite an imposing man, but thankfully he liked us. We spent the afternoon with him and he played some unreleased songs for us. When we stepped inside his home, we could literally see his song titles. When he sings that he has a portrait of his dad on the living room wall, he means it!”
With this unexpected success, it’s now a given that this second will open up new horizons for Lendemain de veille, and the band has already been nominated twice at the 2020 Country Gala. “The raison d’être of Lendemain de veille has always been to play festive and uniting music,” says Rioux, “so there was no way a global pandemic was going to prevent us from being as festive as ever!”