A Pear of Aces

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Story: Don Graham


They're a little bit country, a little bit city, a little bit sweet and a little bit gritty.


Refreshing, original, clean, crisp, talented; all words that come to mind when listening to the new PEAR CD, Sweet 'n' Gritty.  The duo of wife and husband, Lynae and Denis Dufresne, are definitely a self contained package;  singers, songwriters and excellent musicians.  Lynae is a world class fiddle player and Denis was 2011 CCMA's Fiddle Player of the Year as well as Mandolin Player of the Year. In fact, the two met when they both auditioned for the highly touted fiddle show Barrage in 1997. They both got the gig and after a short period of time began to notice each other as more than just fellow musicians. As Lynae said with a laugh, " After a little while I looked at Denis and thought " He's a good musician AND he's also kinda cute!!"


The show "Barrage: The  World On Stage" toured extensively for 5 years and was aired by every PBS station in the United States and the title CD climbed as high as #5 on the world charts. The Disney Corporation billed it as "the hottest fiddle show in the world" and Lynae and Denis are proud of their contribution to the production. Being part of that cast enabled them to tour Canada, the United States, Scotland, England, Scandinavia and even China.


In 2003 Lynae and Denis left the Barrage show and began lending their musical talents to some of the top acts in Canada, recording and playing live at festivals, honing their skills and perfecting their craft.


In 2005 they settled in Calgary,Alberta and within a year decided to form their duo, using all their experiences and talents to craft songs and a live performance show. And PEAR was born!


Photo: Grant W. MartinPhoto: Grant W. MartinPEAR ,with Lynae's clear, pure vocals and Denis dynamic musical guidance, have thrilled festival audiences in Canada and the U.S. as well as global audiences, even completing a  tour of China in 2010 where they criss-crossed the southern part of the country from Shanghai to Dongguan.


PEAR draws their musical influences from diverse types of music and it all gets incorporated into their unique sound today. "Growing up in Medicine Hat, Alberta my mom played lots of different types of music and Elvis was a big part of what I heard growing up" said Denis,while Idaho born Lynae pointed out, " I liked a lot of different types of music growing up. I like Shania Twain and was also a big AC/DC fan." As Denis said, " Because of our musical tastes and instruments ( fiddle and mandolin) we've played so many different types of venues. We've played folk festivals, jazz festivals and of course country festivals. We've played with some incredible and diverse acts as well. We've shared stages with Alanis Morisette, Tim McGraw, Moby, Alan Jackson, Counting Crows, Barenaked Ladies and even Tammy Wynette!! " And Lynae was quick to mention, "I was impressed with the support the major acts showed for the new artists and how we were all part of a big family . They are all a lot like us with careers and kids."


And now, in 2012, PEAR is set to release their first full length CD ,Sweet 'n' Gritty, a 13 song set produced in Nashville by ace producer Noah Gordon.  I met with them in their downtown Toronto hotel room; they reminded more than a little bit of American sensations Sugarland, and I was immediately impressed with their easy going manner and their great attitude . It was an air of relaxed determination. They know this is an important time for them but have a quiet confidence, knowing they've put together a well crafted product, from songs to performance to production. As Denis said, " We went down to Nashville with a few songs and thought we'd write a couple more while we were there and ended writing the balance of the album in a short period of time. It was a very creative space of time for us and we are thrilled with result."


The lead single from this great CD,  "Never Lookin Back" on Chronograph Records, is a great example of PEAR'S direction and energy and should get a lot of attention from Canadian radio. Off the album Denis says, " It's our personalities, our attitude, our sound. Nothing describes us better then this!"


They will hitting the festival circuit heavy this summer from B.C. to Ontario so if you get a chance to see them don't miss it.


This year you'll see a Pear of aces playing to a full house.