The number 11 has been following Angel Forrest for some time.
Her ninth album, Angel’s 11 (she acknowledges it can be confusing), features 11 different guitarists across 11 songs.
Since her mother passed away, the number has been everywhere. She was born March 11, the first house she bought, the address was number 11, dressing room numbers at concerts, parking stalls.
“It’s always something, and since she passed it’s been ridiculous,” Forrest said.
It was easy enough for the Maple Blues Award winner for female vocalist of the year to come up with the concept, and off she went.
“It just unraveled from there,” Forrest said.
Bringing together 11 guitarists she has played with over her 28-year career, Angel’s 11 explores different concepts and styles as a veritable ode to the instrument. Though it’s one she doesn’t play.
The Montreal-born singer is not a guitar player herself, but as she puts it, is the “biggest fan of guitar.”
“It’s my favourite instrument and my biggest regret is never learning to play,” Forrest said. “But I wouldn’t have such an entourage of fabulous players if I could play myself.”
As she and her husband were writing the songs they began to sound like different guitarists they knew.
“The songs really respect their styles all the while being me, it’s pretty cool,” Forrest said.
She describes the studio sessions as a very “live setting,” not a fan of losing the live feel in post-production mixing.
Joining Forrest at the Dream Café is 25-year-old guitarist Ricky Paquette. He can play all 11 styles on the album, Forrest said, calling him a virtuoso.
“He does it man, it’s crazy, I played with him the first time when he was 12 years old and I was like ‘oh my God he’s going to be a killer, I got to keep his number.’ I’m really happy to be playing with him,” Forrest said.
She plans on playing most of the album at the Dream, though she admitted to personally being peeved when showing up to see a musician who only plays the new album. There will be some hits in there as well. Formerly a Janis Joplin tribute artist, Forrest said attendees can expect a Joplin tune or two.
“People want it. I always get pissed when I go to a show and there’s a great tune that I love and they don’t play it. It’s like well that was six albums ago, but so what,” Forrest said.
Angel Forrest visits the Dream Café on May 27.