ARICHAT: Three years after entering Nova Scotia’s Country Music Hall of Fame and a dozen years after his last trip to the recording studio, Isle Madame native Robert Bouchard is criss-crossing Cape Breton and northeastern Nova Scotia to promote his newest album, That’s What I Live For.
The Arichat native has several September shows lined up to showcase the new disc, which features seven Bouchard originals and a song co-written with Darryl Landry and Godfrey Perry, “Without Your Love,” along with three tracks originally recorded by the late country legend Merle Haggard. This is a far cry from Bouchard’s original plan to release a Haggard tribute album, as suggested by veteran Cape Breton radio host Freeman Roach.
“Despite the fact that he was one of my biggest heroes, Merle is gone now, and his legacy lives on and will live on forever – but [many of] my songs have never been recorded,” Bouchard told The Reporter last week.
“[I thought], why not put two or three of Merle’s songs on my CD, and put seven or eight of my own? So that’s exactly what I did.”
The resulting disc, recorded at Point Aconi’s award-winning Lakewind Sound under the guidance of veteran producer Fred Lavery, includes such multi-layered Bouchard originals as “Shame On You” and the title track, which serves a double purpose as a love song as well as a nod to Bouchard’s 48-year career in country music.
“It fits as an album title because music is actually what I’ve been living for, for most of my years, so we found that a fitting title for the CD,” said Bouchard, whose career includes appearances on The Tommy Hunter Show and a combined six recording projects as a solo artist and with the husband-and-wife duo Robert and Giselle.
As part of his September tour to promote the new disc, Bouchard will play the Bay St. Lawrence Community Centre this Friday, September 1, at 7 p.m., with a stop at the Little Anse/Samson’s Cove Social Action Centre on Friday, September 8 and a show at the Riverdale Community Centre in Lower River on Saturday, September 9, with both Richmond County shows running from 8-10 p.m. He is also slated to hit the parish hall in Pomquet on Friday, October 13.
Showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches his 70th birthday this December, Bouchard is grateful to his many fans and supporters, including several people who pre-paid for the new album “even before it was half-finished,” he marveled.
“I’ve been very, very lucky all my life, with the ability to sing,” Bouchard beamed. “And when you see a smile on people’s face, that’s what keeps you motivated and that’s what keeps you going.”
For more information on Bouchard and his new album That’s What I Live For, which is available for sale at the Corner Bridge Store in Petit de Grat, visit the official Web site: www.robertbouchard.net.