Search
  • The Sound Cafe

A Conversation with Ricky Paquette


Photo Credit: Blacky Patsy



Ricky Paquette is one of Canada’s most sought-after guitarists. He’s played with so many great musicians, it’s impossible to list them all. When Ricky straps on a guitar, the audience is in for a treat from the master of strings. His first solo album, 'Late For The Show' was released in 2005. Now he’s back with a brand-new album entitled 'Sparks'. It’s certainly been worth the wait.


Ken Wallis interviewed Ricky Paquette for the radio show, Blues Source Canada which can be heard on our podcast page. The following are excerpts from that interview.




Ken Wallis

Ricky Paquette has got a brand-new album out. It is called Sparks and joining us to tell us all about it is Ricky Paquette. Thanks for coming on the show.


Ricky Paquette

Thanks Ken and thanks for having me. It's been a long time coming so I'm more than happy to talk about it and share the news.


Ken Wallis

You're well known as a rock/blues guitarist, and you really like to tear it up. I think this album has sort of expanded your horizons a little bit. Do you agree?


Ricky Paquette

I totally agree and it was totally intentional. I had great opportunities since I was a kid. I started very young; I started touring at maybe around 12 or well actually more like around 13.


For me at that age it was all about guitar, guitar, guitar, and it was fun, and it still is pretty much all about guitar. But over the past maybe 15 years I’ve been playing lots with different artists and playing pop-rock-blues recordings and writing. I really feel like this album sums up the person I am now at age 30, and the person I am at age 30 is not the same guitar-ripping kid I was back then. Although that person is still in me. I have other things I wanted to explore, and I like songwriting. I also like different styles of music, so I think I managed to put it all into one album and trying to not leave anything out was quite a challenge, but I'm very happy about the results.


Ken Wallis

How did you go about writing the music?


Ricky Paquette

Some bits and pieces of that album lived on my iPhone voice memos for quite some time. Some of the ideas, the original ideas go back five or six years. When the pandemic hit, I had started the process of recording and writing and it totally took a different turn when we had to stop. I was living in Nashville at the time. I had to come back to Quebec due to the pandemic, so that kind of threw a curve ball. It was kind of a blessing because I took more time to analyze really what I was wanting to do, because I was pretty gung-ho when I was in Nashville. I wanted a certain thing, and I was going for it. Coming back and having a different perspective on the matter and having some time to think about it. We had a lot of time to think about many things.


At that moment I was into Country and I was discovering that whole thing which was always part of what I enjoyed playing and listening to, mostly like old outlaw country, like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and all that kind of guitar-based old-school Country-Texas . Then I wanted to write some more. I don't want to call it conventional, more modern Country stuff but I was headed towards that direction and then I decided to turn it around and be more of a blues based country rock pop.


I invented a term and I’m not sure whether it’s a real term that we could actually keep using, but I like to call it British Country. I invented this term with the person who produced the record with me, Gordie Johnson from Big Sugar, whose big influences were blues. We discovered that we had a lot in common and we really liked some of the British Rock N Roll bands from the 60s and 70s. They were really blues based Rock N Roll bands that were heavily influenced by American music. And American music at that point was pretty big and you could totally hear in the old Rolling Stones stuff there's 12 string guitars, even in the Faces Rod Stewart and all those guys. Even old Led Zeppelin, there's a lot of 12 string acoustic guitars and mandolins. So British Country came to mind.


I started with the Country and now I came back to the rock. I’ve tried to put more of the blues influences in there because that's really where my heart is and that's how I started playing guitar. I really tried to go all around on this one and I think it's easier to understand when you press play, and you listen to the music, because it can get a little confusing when I try to explain it because there's so many elements in it.


Ken Wallis

That really comes across in the song Sparks. How did you select that as the title for the album?


Ricky Paquette

Well, anything explosive starts with a spark, if I could put simply that way. That's one explanation and it turns out that that song was written more as a Country tune in the beginning. It’s about a guy at around my age deciding that he was ready to get his stuff together and build a family. It's about that little spark that happens when you go, let's turn our sparks into tiny little angels running around and enjoy. It was an image I had in my head. I wrote that song with a friend of mine, a really dear friend, Reney Ray and she's a great lyricist. She helped me put the words on that image I had in my in my mind and strangely enough it seems like life knew what was coming for me. I wrote that song six months before I got to know that I was gonna be a dad. I thought it was, like this is fate, it's timing is perfect. It's a new beginning. I felt that's what the album should be. It's a brand new beginning for me. I hadn't made an album for myself in 15 years. Mind you, I made a lot of other albums with others. It felt like a new beginning, and it felt like that initial spark I needed to light the fire up again. I felt that title really fit the bill.


Ken Wallis

I’ve seen you live several times performing with Angel Forest and boy do you really rip it up


Ricky Paquette

Thank you so much. She's always on fire and she's always pushing the boundaries and pushing our asses as musicians because she keeps us on our toes and that's magic.


Ken Wallis

And you're gonna be featured on her new album too. I saw a video on that.


Ricky Paquette

It’s a hell of an album. I'm so happy to be a part of it. Angel and Denis, due to the pandemic, moved out west so I haven't seen them very much. We were almost together every day prior to that so it was quite the change, and the time was right for them to put out a new album.


They wrote the songs on Hornby Island, and they sent me some demos. Angel’s 11 volume 1 was all about guitar players and I was happy to be part of that. Now Angel’s 11 Volume 2 is all about singers. I'm more than happy to be a part of that. We haven't had the opportunity to sing all that much together and now we've got a song recorded that people are going to be able to press play and merge our two vibes. The song really suited the both of us and she told me she had in mind that maybe I was going to be doing that song on the record. We weren't together strangely enough in a little while, but most probably would have written some stuff together for my album if the pandemic hadn't hit.


I feel like everything has a reason and I feel I needed to explore different avenues. I’ve been doing lots of stuff alongside different people and I needed to find who I was and find my new identity. I know who I am with Angel, and I know who I am with different artists I play with. But having had to do that on my own was something that was needed at this time in my life. Not to say that that we won't collaborate on any other tunes in the future. For sure that's gonna happen.


Ken Wallis

I really like the live album that you played on with Angel. Just knocks me out with your guitar playing.


Ricky Paquette

We recorded the show just because we wanted to have it in our back pocket. Man, we are so glad we recorded that show. I was sleeping over at Angel’s and we were working on some tunes. Next morning while we were having breakfast, I pressed play on the recording and we're going, really that's what happened last night? So, we decided to release it as a limited edition of a thousand copies. It's a really nice snapshot of that time in our lives of playing together.


This whole pandemic and being a dad has got me really thinking that nothing really lasts forever. When I was younger, and I kind of knew that time just passes by, and you better make the most out of it. But boy am I ever realizing that now, more than ever every day.


Ken Wallis

Is there any one song on the album that's a favourite to you. I know most artists say well they're like children, we love them all, but is there one song on the album if people were gonna listen to first what would that be?


Ricky Paquette

Oh boy, it depends on the day or on the mood, and you're right, they're kind of like all my children. They all have a little something. I’ve written several tunes so having chosen those ten there's a reason for every one of them to be on there. I would have to say that some of them depend on where you come from. If you come from more of a blues background, there's a song or two on there that I would suggest you listen to first to get into the world of the new Ricky Paquette's Sparks album. It's very hard to say but Feels So Real is a song that's very dear to my heart. it gets me. When I play it live, I put all I have into it and people really feel that one. I’ve had the chance to play the album several times, live not as much as we wanted to because obviously we know the reasons why. Leave It All Up To You is one that's very passionate. When it comes to playing live, there are certain tunes that go over kind of nicely, especially for a live environment with a band playing together. There's also Sacrifice Fly, that's a lot of fun. There's Be Who You Be, it's very hard for me to tell which one.


Ken Wallis

They're all great, there's no doubt about that. Again, the album's called Sparks. Where can the audience get a hold of it?


Ricky Paquette

They could stay tuned and keep in contact and see what the new developments for 2022 on my social media, on Instagram on Facebook and also my new website that's coming. I'm working on some new merchandize and limited-edition vinyl. There's a shortage on the materials to make vinyl these days so most probably for the summer. I would like to stay tuned with the fans and kind of build a new thing. Maybe on the YouTube. I’ll probably be doing some live stream stuff right from the studio here. I'm running a studio at my place in Joliette, Quebec. We got a nice live room so throughout the winter, we're going to be rehearsing with the band, preparing for the summer time and most probably letting out some of little sneak peeks. We're trying to stay connected but it's a different way of doing things. I'm so used to having a real connection with people and going to shake their hands after the shows. I'm pretty old school even though I'm 30. I feel like this new way of doing things is a bit of a undertaking for me. I like to be with people, so it's a bit of a challenge, but I’m trying my best to stay connected.


Ken Wallis

Well let's just hope that live music comes back soon. Ricky, I thank you so much for your time; it's a great album and I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you


Ricky Paquette

Thanks so much Ken, glad you like it.




Website: rickypaquette.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ricky.paquette.official

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ricky.paquette.music