Album Preview: A Strong Friendship Within the Jalbert-Beaulieu Duo

Their Latest LP This is a Real Place is Coming Up

(left to right) François Jalbert and Jérôme Beaulieu. Courtesy Nicolas Boulay

Writing music solo can be a rewarding experience in and of itself, but collaborating with a good friend brings about another sense of accomplishment altogether.

Long-time friends, collaborators, and musicians, François Jalbert and Jérôme Beaulieu, are working together again on an upcoming LP, This is a Real Place, which will be released Sept. 22.

Jalbert brings his quick guitar-playing to Beaulieu’s calm, soft, and rhythmic piano playing, which makes for a jovial, heartwarming and nostalgic experience in listening to the LP.

“Bluegrass music [is] where François introduced me to the Punch Brothers and, of course, jazz [music] plays an importance too,” Beaulieu said.

Folk and classical music also inspire the duo to step out of the shadows and grasp onto these genres to fully help them develop their repertoire. Sharing the same musical tastes is part of the reason for why both musicians share a long history of working together on several musical projects, since their early days in university.

“We studied together at Université de Montréal and then François went off to do his Masters [in musical interpretation] at McGill,” Beaulieu explained.

Jalbert’s final project for his Masters, which was to have completed a finished recording, is what got them to start jamming with other musicians to the point where they’ve collaborated for an alternative and indie-rock band, the John Jacob Magistery.

From then on, the two pushed themselves to advance in their musical careers together and work on any project that they had in mind.

“We have a bond that is not just musical, we’re great friends and we can discuss [anything] openly, which makes it easier for both of us to have this desire of creating good music,” Beaulieu explained.

Building a strong friendship doesn’t happen quickly, but when it’s there it makes the process of creating music fun and exciting. That’s what got this duo to get around to working on putting together This is a Real Place, their first LP.

“After performing for a while, we both decided to make a record out of some of our songs from the [past] performances and [to] do something a bit more serious,” Beaulieu said.

Album art for This is a Real Place. Courtesy Stéphanie Simpson

This LP features a tracklist with varied melodies, including a slow paced jazz ballad, “Muffin,” that closely resembles the collaboration of jazz guitarist Joe Pass and Montreal pianist Oscar Peterson.

“François composed that one in the morning, it’s really slow, relaxing and a fun melody to play,” Beaulieu said.

This song, along with every other track on the LP, is simple with no effects added to the sounds of their instruments. This allows for the listeners to absorb the pure acoustic tonalities that both instruments have to offer.

With the release date for This is a Real Place coming up, the Jalbert-Beaulieu duo will be taking their new record on the road.

“The album launch is just the beginning, we will be playing a few shows in Quebec and in the Toronto area and we hoping to do more in the future,” Beaulieu said.

As well, they’ll host a launch concert for the LP on Sept. 26 in Montreal at Verre Bouteille.

The wonderfully harmonious intermingling of the guitar and piano—from François Jalbert and Jérôme Beaulieu respectively—makes This is a Real Place a pleasant album to listen to on a rainy day. Or any day, really.

François Jalbert and Jérôme Beaulieu // This is a Real Place // September 26 // Verre Bouteille (2112 Mont Royal Est) //