“Il Était Une Bergère” flirts with a tune that English-speaking listeners will probably identify as “Turkey in the Straw”, and if you want to imagine the spirit of Énergie in a nutshell, then think of that with breezy French overtones. This is Acadian country music, all leaping, fiddling, whooping, harmonica, spoons, chicken noises (“Set à Mon Père”), and high-spirited toes a-tapping that only pauses in “La Fièvre” to show off some serious fiddling. Overall, there’s much glee, some guitar, and vocal repartee. Somewhere outside the album, partners are being spun and swung. Chuck and Albert Arsenault have worked the live circuit for years, and they play like men who see an impatient audience seeking an opportunity to dance. This distinguishes them from contemporaries who prefer their folk a little more formal, Le Vent du Nord, for example. The tunes are traditional ones, collected by a walking encyclopedia of a Prince Edward Islander named Georges and adopted and played with enthusiasm.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times. Thanks everyone.