Robert Côté has been playing music for over 5 decades. It is a musical journey that started with nuns and pianos and has now reached a milestone with the release of his first CD, entitled Road to Now.
The versatile guitar player has quite a range that includes rock, blues and jazz and is a common fixture at many events in Cornwall and the region.
The new CD features 12 instrumental tracks written and arranged by Mr. Côté. The CD was developed to be a souvenir of the past decade of Mr. Côté’s work, and to satisfy the requests of his fans who have long wanted to take some of the music home with them.
“The album brings out the very best of the last 12 years and it transports the listener through the different styles and moods that have motivated my passion for music,” says Mr. Côté. “The tracks are equally good, each and every one of them are pleasant to listen to.”
To complete the album, Mr. Côté enlisted the help of his good friend and touring partner Paul Giroux of Gatineau.
“I did all the guitar parts and Paul did all the backing tracks on every other instrument - on all of them actually,” notes Mr. Côté.
Although Road to Now is his first solo album, recording is not new to Mr. Côté. He did a lot of session work in Montreal in the 1970’s, backing up “celebrities of the time.”
Mr. Côté has a fluid style of playing that appears effortless, but in reality has been honed through countless hours of practice ever since his grandfather bought him his first “decent” guitar.
“I took a few lessons but I really learned the basics by myself,” recalls Mr. Côté. “It was blood sweats and tears for a while but it paid off.”
He began to play professionally after graduating high school. Hanging out with serious musicians helped him to develop his own identity. He was heavily influenced by the Beatles and as his own personal style matured he made the gradual evolution to jazz.
“Truly and honestly, my school was the road, and in my mind it was the best school ever,” says Mr. Côté. “The musicians of my era were the most blessed of all. This is when Music was Music, we did not push buttons to make them dance, we accurately played each and every note.”
Each note on Road to Now has the potential to inspire the listener as Mr. Côté has crafted twelve tunes that run through a number of genres. His guitar is first and foremost, yet the sound for each track and full and vibrant.
“I get an idea for a melodic run, I stretch it, tear it apart, add more stuff, then take some off to finally make it more interesting and pleasant to my ear,” he says. “We add a rhythm track and of course the bass, drums and everything else and then finally fine tune it. But that idea has to come from deep within, it has to have soul and above all a good feeling.”
A good feeling is likely what most listeners will have after picking up the CD, which is available locally at Melody Music, Strung Out Guitars and at Life’s little Pleasures. The album will be available on ITunes in the near future.
While he is far removed from the days when he used to play a toy guitar on top of his grandmother’s upright piano, Mr. Côté still enjoys performing.
He typically plays 2-3 times week, with most of his performances being private “special” events either in Ontario, Quebec even Upper State New York.
“These days I feel like a butterfly and I just love it.”
His plans for the future include forming a jazz trio featuring a female singer, a pianist and himself on guitar to perform for bigger venues in Ottawa and Montreal.
You can contact Mr. Côté by visiting his website at www.rcquietmoments.com, on Facebook, or by phone at 613 330-3481.