Madeleine Besson’s “Journey Home” is sultry and soulful. Influences such as Etta James, Otis Redding, and Ray Charles are evident throughout. It is an album that can stand in for your best friend. An album for anyone who’s been going through some rough times and are emerging more trusting and believing and stronger. Those of us who have finally walked away will adopt this album as their comfort food. It’s better than ice cream. It serves a higher purpose.
Learning violin and piano as a toddler, and as a teenager developing her classical voice, Madeleine had become an artist, a multi-instrumentalist and a film actress at a very young age. As you could imagine, Madeleine has translated this diversity into her songwriting. Madeleine Besson was born in France. Her mother was a film director, her father directed theater productions. Madeleine grew up traveling between both sides of the Atlantic. Hers was a nomadic existence immersed in the arts. It’s no surprise that Madeleine had found her journey home when she landed in Nashville, an artistic town that’s nomadic by nature. Nashville has good energy.
“Journey Home” took full advantage of these skills during the recording process. Recorded with Producer and in demand guitarist Dave Coleman at his home studio in Nashville. Dave plays most of the guitars, bass, and drums and Madeleine plays everything else, especially the most expressive instrument, her voice. Recording in this fashion requires a complete trust in your instincts and intuition.
Producer Dave Coleman has this to say about the recording process;
“I heard Madeleine Besson at one of her first gigs in Nashville. It was “Short Sets at the Family Wash”, a weekly variety writers night. She was backed only by a bass player and her voice struck me hard. She had power, but also dynamics and control. She never seemed to over sing, an all to common trait for folks who wanna cut through. She also had written sophisticated but distilled songs that didn’t waste time, notes, or emotions.
A few months later, she asked to record a song with me to see if I’d be the one that could help her make this album. The session went well, but I didn’t know at the time that she had a clear and strong vision of what the album would be.
Over maybe ten months we chipped away at recording the songs on the album. It was really just the two of us. We tried adding a few outside musician elements, but the production of the album was really about building and then stripping things away to the essential elements. Madeleine can play so many things and sing so well, that it really made sense to follow her intuition which kept the album about executing her melodic and rhythmic ideas.
We used a lot of Roland 808 drum machine to create space around her voice. We made a rule to only use cymbals when we really felt like they had to be there.
In the end, Madeleine made an album that she called the shots on. She didn’t go in and let anyone else make decisions on her behalf. She’ll continue to build her musical story with her own talents, two hands, and experiences” – DC
“Journey Home” is introspective. The songs pared down to basic melody and beautiful voice. It’s a much different record than her last. A few songs on the album have a bit of grit to them. “Sound of the City”, is a sultry guitar infused blues number. “New Sun Rising” – (written with Scott McMahan) – is interesting in how the guitars dance around the vocal. Injecting French lyrics adds to the allure. “You Make My World Shake” – (written with JP Williams) – Is it new love? Is it a one night stand? It is damn sexy. Everyone needs to lose control like this. “Journe Home” is a pilgrimage of sorts.
Any Journey Home re-invents oneself. All journeys have pitfalls and character builds in the resources we use to overcome these obstacles. You know your home when you have found your peace from within. “Journey Home” takes you through the process of becoming one with your heart. There is a cohesiveness to the songs selected for this album. It’s well put together. It tells a nice tale.
Produced by Madeleine Besson and Dave Coleman
Recorded by Dave Coleman at Howard’s apartment studio in east Nashville. Alex McCollough mastered the album.
Art Direction by Madeleine Besson; Graphic Design by Miranda Fuller; Cover Photo by Gregg Roth
– Viola Krouse