With so much national and international attention being paid to the seemingly endless wave of musical talent from Montreal, it takes something a little special to stand out. With quiet aplomb, Mark Berube and his band The Patriotic Few are managing to do just that. Since the 2004 release of Sketches From the Sidewalk, Berube has been putting an elegant, precise and reﬁned spin on the singer-songwriter tradition that he so clearly honours, and with each album and each tour his soft voice has been heard by more converts.
Berube has been compared to a young Leonard Cohen and a less dramatic Rufus Wainwright, but he manages to transcend comparisons and create something entirely his own. If you hear in his offerings of clever folk-pop a hint of the indestructible beat of southern Africa about them, you’re not wrong; Berube’s Quebecois roots were watered in Swaziland, where he spent his school years. His songs are songs of the world, but then, Berube is a man of the world. Intelligent and detailed lyrics marry wandering melodies, with restless, delicate strings and lush, harmonized vocals presiding at the union.