Patrick Norman never dreamed of becoming a singer. “It’s the guitar, my first love”, concludes the farewell tour at the Coup de Coeur Francophone this Friday.
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Do you want to see Patrick Norman’s eyes light up? Talk to him about the guitar. More specifically about his father Fernand’s guitar, on which he played his first chord, open G. “He put my fingers, he said to me, ‘Go ahead, play,’ and I made the chord and I got it for the first time”, the grown son, Friendly saying “boy” and “my man”. to his interlocutor.
That first string, it was a moment of light, my boy, enough to still remember at 76 years old. My father’s guitar is very hard k. I played on even though my fingers were bleeding.
A six-string sung on Patrick Norman’s piece (My father is Gibson) which opens his most recent album, If you go there (2019), so it’s not the first one he played, but another one – a 1971 Gibson Dove – he gave his father in 1974 and later recovered.
“Music is the reason I live,” he sums up. What we see in a few minutes of conversation with the artists he followed in 1967 (Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, The Beatles) is to devote himself entirely to the stage, giving up the jobs his parents suggested he keep in the name of security.
Not surprisingly in his songs (Jeremy’s guitar, Sing for nothing, I make my friends cry) celebrate the irreplaceable joy that music allows us to taste. “I starved at first, but never felt like working again in my whole life. »
If Patrick Norman measured his authority well, he could not initially take his attention away from these fan musicians. In the early 1960s, a young Yvonne Ethier regularly attended performances by The Sprites at the dance hall of Buffett’s Versailles on rue Saint-Hubert.
“The guitarist, Serge Brabant, had a beautiful Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins, he recalled. I stood in front of him and watched him play. Then I would go back to my uncle Albert and try to reproduce what I heard. »
After that the roles were reversed. In the early 1990s, Patrick reconnected with Serge Brabant, who came to hear him at a festival he attended, not suspecting that the famous singer admired him. Lucky: Serge Brabant still has his shiny Gretsch, which the former Sprites admirer is happy to play on his album guitar (1997)
“Life is beautiful, isn’t it? I used to go to see Serge every weekend when I was cold and now he comes to see me. »
Enjoy your pleasure
Recorded in Nashville, If you go there It marks a new chapter in Patrick Norman’s rich relationship with the city. His first album in English, The Underrated Textures (1976), also created in the nation’s capital in collaboration with arranger Bergen White, whose name appears on album covers by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Tanya Tucker.
The brilliant and elegant singer played his hero Chet Atkins in 1991 during the filming of “Two Hours of Pure Joy” for Radio-Canada by none other than Monsieur Guitar.
When I got there, I said, “Mr. Atkins, I hope I don’t make a fool of myself.” He replied: “Don’t worry, I experienced the same thing with Django Reinhardt in 1946.” He immediately put me at ease.
The smiling septuagenarian is on his farewell tour, but hasn’t really pushed his final note, as this current tour of Quebec will take him into the 2023 calendar, but above all he won’t rule out a return to the stage. on time
Understand: He is tired of not being home often. Unlike his mother Marguerite, who packed up amid the pandemic in April 2021 at the age of 101, he is also making renovations these days to take his last breath at home.
“When I leave, I want to be close to my guitars”, says the man who has been a great-grandfather since February and his eyes turn young again when you say his beloved singer’s name. Natalie Lord.
“I was never very happy and because I accepted my happiness. Before, I held myself high, I did not forgive myself for my mistakes. Later I learned how important it is to be kind to yourself. »
At Club Soda, November 11, 8 p.m.