Guitarist, vocalist, and singer/songwriter Roxanne Potvin has made a name for herself in a blues-loving country, Canada, but the best is yet to come from this up-and-coming songstress, who has made several cross-country tours with two other guitar-slinging women, Sue Foley and Deborah Coleman. The three later recorded an album together, Time Bomb, for a Germany-based label with U.S. offices, Ruf Records.
Potvin was born in 1982 in Regina, Saskatchewan; she moved to the Ottawa area when she was two. Her father worked as a TV reporter for CBC but also played guitar at home and she was raised in a musical family. Her mother sang and other relatives played other instruments at home-based jam sessions, and rock and jazz music was on the turntable much of the time: music by the Rolling Stones, Billie Holiday, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, and others.
The young Potvin had a revelatory moment after seeing an equally young Jonny Lang on TV, and she became enamored with American blues and blues-rock. From studying Lang, she discovered the music of B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and dozens of others, and she took it from there. She got her first guitar as a 15-year-old and, once getting the fundamentals down, she began sitting in on weekly blues jam sessions at Ottawa's Rainbow Club. A short time later, she was asked to play lead guitar at the club for a group whose guitarist hadn't shown up, and she made her first $50. Potvin cites the guitar stylings of Freddie King as a prime guitar influence and cites Dinah Washington for being a vocal inspiration.
Her own self-produced, self-financed debut album, Careless Loving, featuring originals and covers of classic songs by Ruth Brown, Etta James, and Dinah Washington, was released in 2003. Ruf Records released Potvin's second recording, The Way It Feels, in 2006. The album features some stellar accompanists, including John Hiatt, producer Colin Linden, Daniel Lanois, Bruce Cockburn, Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns, and members of the gospel group the Fairfield Four. The Way It Feels was nominated for a Juno Award for Blues Album of the Year in 2006. She followed this up with the aforementioned Time Bomb, her recording with Foley and Coleman, in 2007. Potvin's distinctive vocal stylings can also be heard on Bogart's Bounce and My Kind of Evil, recordings for NorthernBlues Music by guitarist and singer/songwriter JW-Jones. Most recently, she released No Love for the Poisonous in 2008. ~ Richard J. Skelly