Sunday, November 19, 2023

A Brown Christmas - R.I.P. Karl Tremblay

Karl Tremblay, the popular lead singer of Québec's modern folk group Les Cowboys Fringants, died on November 15, 2023. One of the band's last performances with Tremblay was in Québec City at the Festival d’été de Québec in July 2022, the third biggest outdoor event in Canada. It was such a big deal that Les Cowboys Fringants could play that an extra day was added to the festival, with 90,000 people there just for that show. For context, Karl Tremblay is French-speaking Canada's answer to English-speaking Canada's Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip.

A few weeks later, performing in a small city, the band had Tremblay singing, sat down, and did the same to not make it weird. Karl picked up on that and told the crowd, "You came here to see us sing, not to see us dance," to lighten the mood.

Les Cowboys Fringants' 2021 album 'Les nuits de Repentigny' ('Repentigny Nights') named after the sleepy city near Montréal the band hails from, features the Christmas song 'Noël brun' ('Brown Christmas'). It's about being dumped on Christmas Eve and the brown part is about coffee. Kinda.

Alone on a night with no moon
Sitting in a Tim Hortons
Brown Christmas, my childlike heart is far away
A thousand miles from the good old days

Karl Tremblay, rest in peace.