"Do Ya Think?" CD - Dale Ladouceur and the Broke Ensemble

The Broke Ensemble:
Dale Ladouceur - Chapman Stick, fretless bass lead and background vocals
Bill Hobson - drums, percussion
Barrie Nighswander - guitars
Brett Miles - soprano and tenor sax, flute

guest players and singers
Dave Babcock - tenor and baritone sax, Bob Tildesley and 4-fingered Mike Johnson - trumpet, Nathen Connelly - trombone, Kevin Cook - electric slide guitar, Doug Organ - keyboards, Dennis McNeely - synth, DJ Dice - turntable, Duane "Wink" Smith - bass, Dave Martineau - steel guitar, Minister Faust, Nathen Aswell, Duane Smith, Bill Cowen, Sue Hodge, Randall Kraausser, Flower, Pearl, Sierra Jamerson, Hank Lionhart, Nigel Williams, Nathalie Clark - background vocals

Produced by Dale Ladouceur and Bill Hobson

Review by Greg Howard
      Singer/Stickist/songwriter/bandleader, are all hats worn with equal verve by Canadian Dale Ladouceur. Her latest release with The Broke Ensemble, Do Ya Think is a variety show all by itself. From the great big band tracks that back up Dale's pure and powerful alto vocal, (horns, guitar, backup singers, the whole works), to more intimate small ensembles of Stick, drums and guitar, and even little solo vignettes, these 20 original tracks invite us into explore real life through Dale's eyes, sometimes deeply personal, sometimes broadly existential, sometimes humorous, always authentic. Stylistically, the tunes range from hard-hitting bluesy rock and roll with tight horn arrangements, to funkier open-ended fusion and R & B grooves, light pop, and straight jazz. The Stick is at the core of the instrumentation, surrounded by The Broke Ensemble, a cast of truly talented and supportive characters.

Emmett's observations:
     "I always enjoy Dale's use of evocative language (the personal story lines), her use of phonemes (the poetry of vocal sounds sans meaning) including all those delicious diphthongs. There's power and tenderness in her voice alone. (Her "H"s blow me away.)
     Combine that with nimble fingers on Stick strings, creating rich song arrangements from the warm bass rhythms on up through adventurous chord progressions and melodic counter-themes. She's a natural entertainer and it's all there in solo form.
     Now add a quartet of drums, guitar and woodwinds to her Stick arrangements and you have "The Broke Ensemble", capable of huge shifts in mood, rhythm, texture, and drawing from worldwide cultural sources.
     It becomes very big at this point, very broad in scope, but it's all brought together by Dale's personality on this just released CD, "Do Ya Think". All her inner layers are laid bare. "Let's get real" is how I'd describe her musical soul, but then there's also her romanticism and idealism.
     What's real and what's not? It all depends on Dale, but I know that her solid Stick backup is real."

—Emmett Chapman

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