“I’m going to be 68 years old, it’s my fourteenth album. My goal is the song, whether it lasts six minutes or a minute and fifty, provided it is well dressed, ”says Francis Cabrel
Francis Cabrel is a rare artist. As much by its production rate – an album every five years – as by its words. This gives all the more weight to his new album, At the Returning Dawn , the fourteenth, and, already, one of the most inspired of a career started more than forty years ago. Record-holder in record sales with Samedi soir sur la terre in 1994, he once again became a less cumbersome craftsman. Inseparable from his village of Astaffort, which he only left for ten years, he polishes his songs with manic care. Never before had he involved his accompanists so much as in this disc which sounds almost like a group work, and allows him to approach new musical forms [ . . . ]
Four years after “In extremis”, the artist released a new album “At the coming dawn”. 13 new songs combining gravity and irony, impeccable ballads and blues-folk. Meeting in Astaffort, on its Lot-et-Garonnaises lands.
The rooms and the courtyard of the former Astaffort school, today the stronghold of the Voix du Sud association that it created, are deserted on October 5. Francis Cabrel came down from his house not far from the village of Lot-et-Garonnais. Before the Parisian promo, first confidences from his biotope on his last baby, “At the coming dawn” which will be released on Friday, October 16.
Francis Cabrel. My meeting with Claude Sicre . He gave me several books on troubadours, “medieval rockstars”. I first said thank you for the nice phrase and read, started working on an entire album on the theme. After five songs, I was no longer moving forward so I gave up the idea of a “Troubadours Project”. There are four left on the disc.
Thomas Chaline has just published a unique book on Francis Cabrel. His bet? Tell the man through his songs. He tells us about his admiration for the Astaffort artist.
“Me, I feel like I told everything inside my songs. They just had to listen!” A phrase launched by Francis Cabrel to Michel Drucker in 1983 which marked Thomas Chaline, guitarist, music fan and author of several books on French singers. In “Cabrel, a life in songs”, it is the texts of the author from Lot-et-Garonnais that he goes through with a fine comb, to better pierce … the man.
Why write about Francis Cabrel?
“It’s simple, he’s been my idol since adolescence. When I had all the problems in the world like any self-respecting teenager, his reassuring face soothed me. The first time I heard one of his songs, it blew me away. I knew I would write about him one day or another, as a personal tribute. ”
You mention in the foreword of the book the work of investigating song by song: is it more complicated with a personality like Cabrel?
“It’s the same approach in all my books, but this time I knew the artist’s work very well, I only had the pieces of the puzzle to put together, by interviewing his relatives, like Philippe Sella and others. But it is true that he is a mysterious personality. ”
How did Francis Cabrel react?
“He didn’t want to get involved but was curious to see how I was going to get out of it. He even confided to relatives that he had forgotten some stories!”
You have, it seems to me, met, can you tell us about this episode?
“It was completely by chance, one summer in Hossegor in 1998. We talked about music, he’s really a guitar lover. He was everything I imagined about him. He was on vacation, he would have completely could tell me to go and show myself, but he didn’t… ”
Have you come here, to its Astaffort lands?
“I’ve been to his village before, yes, and when you see him, you understand everything. You understand how he lives, and why he releases an album every five years.”
You talk about his attachment to his roots …
“Yes, it’s something very important to him, he always assumed that” redneck “side, portrayed in some shows like” Guignols de l’Info “. In fact, he doesn’t care. J he likes that he is not in the seraglio, in show business and that he has always kept his values. He has never had to fit into the mold, to be round back. ”
The man does not confide much in the media but says everything in his songs?
“He brings up many personal themes, and often takes a stand, you really have to take the time to pay attention to his words. As a guitarist, that’s what interested me, to see what triggers the desire to to write.”
You also talk about the influences of Francis Cabrel, especially blues and American folk.
“Yes, that’s a point in common that we have, he admires artists like Jackson Browne or Bob Dylan. We also have other points in common, we were both born at the end of November and we have a strong link with Vietnam , country of her adopted daughter and one of my grandmothers. ”
Will you come to Agen or Astaffort to present your work “Cabrel, a life in songs”?
“I would have liked a lot, but the Covid-19 crisis is depriving me of it, it’s very annoying!”
He is one of the artists most listened to by the French during the confinement: Francis Cabrel, more than 25 million records sold, is one of the figures of popular song.
“Little Marie”, “I love to die”, “Again and again”, “The Lady of Haute-Savoie” …: for more than forty years, Francis Cabrelhas been the author of a singular work and authentic. Embodying a musical genre on its own in French song, his poetry is a popular reference affecting several generations.
In 13 albums and 25 million copies sold worldwide, the artist quickly became essential thanks to an identity marked by a pronounced accent and his folk guitar.
Francis Cabrel is also an artist concerned with the evolution of society. Thus, he does not hesitate to use his pen to try to raise awareness. His repertoire today contains many universal songs like “La corrida”, “Everyone thinks about it”, “You will have to tell them” or “I loved you, I love you and I will love you”.
Thomas Chaline reveals the secrets of Francis Cabrel’s creation and offers to discover the true story of his songs, which are all landmarks that mark the life of the poet. With the help of numerous anecdotes, the author looks back on around fifty titles and delivers an immersion in the world of one of the biggest record sellers in France.
[to be published 24/09] Thomas Chaline – Cabrel, a life in songs – Hugo Doc – 9782755649062 – € 16.95