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Coming Home
The Record, Kitchener-Waterloo

Nonie Crete hasn’t lived in Penetanguishene for many years, but her hometown is still close to her heart. So much so that the opening track on her eighth release, the aptly titled Coming Home, is called Home to Georgian Bay. She comes full circle with the album’s title track and closer, which pays homage to her birthplace once again. “Even though I’ve been away from more than half my life,” the Fergus-based singer/songwriter observes, “it still has a big place in my heart.”

Crete’s connection to the small town on Georgian Bay goes way back. Her great-grandfather was Penetanguishene’s first mayor. “I have history there.” All of the album’s dozen songs relate to either places or people important to Crete, both as a person and as an artist.

“The album is sentimental,” she agrees. “It’s an emotional ride home.” There are songs about those close to her whom she lost along the way: her mother (The Old Photo Album and August Has Finally Come), her brother (When the Colours Change) and her grandfather (Granddad’s Stories). There are songs about places of personal meaning: West Bay and Where the Credit River Flows.

And there are songs about people who give rather than take, whether those who worked to convert an old railway into a walking trail (Once an Old Railway) or those who opened their homes and their hearts to strangers in times of need (The Giving). “I’ve always written about things that matter to me.” This doesn’t mean Crete can’t lighten up. Mary Do You Wanna is a silly, little ditty she confirms was written “for pure fun.”

Crete is impossible to pigeonhole. Although she started out as a straight-ahead folk artist, she has delved into Celtic and blues. These colour Coming Home, highlighted with some Cajun and French Canadian hues. “I call what I do eclectic folk,” Crete explains. “There are so many varieties of music I love. “I would get bored if I stayed in one style. Music is so intoxicating to me, I want to try all styles.”

In terms of players, Coming Home is Crete’s most ambitious release to date. She calls her outfit the Rollin’ Sands Band — a reference to Penetanguishene, which in Ojibway means Land of White Rolling Sands.

2009 Nonie Crete. All rights reserved.
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