Chestnut Hill's multi-talented French-Canadian chanteuse Lucie Daigle, a virtual local legend, is the only local musician I have interviewed since last March who has actually been performing live semi-regularly during the pandemic.
Chestnut Hill's multi-talented French-Canadian chanteuse Lucie Daigle, a virtual local legend who performed about 25 mostly sold-out shows over two and a half years at Paris Bistro and perhaps as many as 50 times over 25 years (she has lost count) at Mermaid Inn, is the only local musician I have interviewed since last March who has actually been performing live semi-regularly during the pandemic.
“It's the first time in 25 years that my schedule has not been full of musical performances,” she said last week, “but on the other hand, for most of the past year I have been working every weekend with a trio live at La Provence, a French restaurant in Ambler with a magnificent outdoor garden. We have loved it and have had tremendous success there with a full house most nights.
“We were able to play the music of Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour and the French songbook until mid-November when the weather changed. But we will definitely be back in the spring at the latest. Our trio always consisted of me on vocals and guitar, Richard Tuttle (my husband) on bass and Kate Casano on the accordion, which of course complemented the French flair of our repertoire.”
(Ed. Note: We have eaten outdoors at La Provence four times during the pandemic, including one day after the big snowstorm in December, when the temperature was 30 degrees, but we were surrounded by three heaters, and it was a fun adventure, despite the cold feet.)
Lucie has also played other outdoor performances, but of course, she has had much more free time than before. “The silver lining is that it freed some time to reflect on the music I want to play and develop new material, especially for my 'Women's Songbook' — all-female singer/songwriters such as Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell. I do hope to go back to Mermaid Inn with a women's songbook evening sometime in the spring.”
In addition to being a smoking volcano of talent as a vocalist, pianist and guitarist, Lucie has been a psychiatric nurse, a college professor at Laval University in Quebec, a high school French teacher at Mount St. Joseph's Academy in Flourtown, and she ran her own translation agency with mostly medical and legal clients. Lucie has also been a fitness professional who worked as a group fitness instructor at two different venues and as an in-home personal trainer for women before the pandemic. When asked her age a while ago, Lucie replied, “I am old enough to drink responsibly.”
Lucie and her husband moved to Chestnut Hill over four years ago, “but while living in Mt. Airy and then in Flourtown during our child-raising years, we kept gravitating to the Hill and ended up developing life-long friendships, happy memories and a desire to live in Chestnut Hill some day. We are definitely happy campers!”
Daigle also has a new project, “Hearthside,” which consists of Lucie, her husband, Colleen McMonagle and Jim Conklin. They play 1960s and '70s close harmony tunes by The Mamas and the Papas, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Eagles, The Beatles, etc. — guitars, bass and acoustic percussions. They have also played outdoor gigs.
Lucie's daughter, Catherine Tuttle, 34, of North Wales, is also an accomplished singer whose debut album, “Peel,” was released in 2003 when she was a junior at Mount St. Joseph High School in Flourtown. Catherine and her mom have been working on some new material that they can perform together.
In 2011, Chestnut Hill freelance writer Sabina Clarke wrote in the Local, “Several years ago, I was stopped in my tracks listening to Lucie sing 'La Vie En Rose' on stage at Philadelphia International Airport while a passing stewardess sat down, overcome with tears, so moved was she by Lucie's performance.” Prior to 2011, Lucie was the voice fronting 6-Pack, a popular rock cover band for 16 years that has an occasional reunion gig.
When not making music, Lucie's favorite pastime is “walking myself along Forbidden Drive. That will never stop.” Lucie is also a passionate dog lover (greyhounds, not French poodles). For many years, she walked daily with their greyhounds, Ella and Billie, along Forbidden Drive. Now both dogs are gone, “but I have a very special greyhound friend on my street. Her Name is Lucy.”
For more information, visit the luciedaiglemusic Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Len Lear can be reached at email@example.com