“Two Minute Warning” / “There’s A Story To Tell”
Two Minute Warning/There's a Story to Tell (Independent)
You can't accuse Marcel Desilets of being predictable. The local singer-songwriter has released two albums simultaneously with each offering its own distinctive pleasures and insights.
Two Minute Warning is an album of instrumentals all under two minutes long, ranging from three seconds to 1:53 with Desilets showing off his skill on a wide-ranging collection of vintage instruments, including guitars, mandolins, lap steels and fretless bass (all helpfully listed in the CD book) as he dabbles in roots, bluegrass and twangy folk.
There's a Story to Tell is Desilets in his regular storytelling mode, with 11 folk and roots songs dating back to 2000. He has an easy-going half sung/half spoken style that instantly draws you in as he describes hanging out having coffee (Saturday Morning Kitchen), remembers family parties (Old Piano Pieces) and details a night out at a club on the jazzy Down on 6th.
Over the years Desilets has often been compared to Bruce Cockburn and that won't change with these two albums, which show off his poetic heart and ability to find joy in everyday events alongside his instrumental prowess.
Rob Williams – Winnipeg Free Press (both 3 ½ stars)
“To Be Here”
“It would be rather natural to categorize mellow Manitoba singer/songwriter Marcel Desilets as just another laid-back local folkie. The difficulty is that upon listening to his third full-length album, To Be Here, it's obvious he has so much more going on inside his songs that they can't be easily labelled. Indeed, his quiet delivery is very folk-inspired. His hushed vocals are caressed by plenty of skilful dobro, mandolin, fretless bass and "parlour" guitar shadings and lyrically he is more a pure poet than a rhyming dictionary enthusiast. Listening to his placid stories about smooth - starting summer days and the unquestionable enjoyment of wearing comfortable slippers bring a sense of peace and definitely won't require your soul to do any heavy lifting. As he explains in the uncomplicated lyrics of the moving Simple Words, sometimes everything we really need is right here, right now and right in front of us.”
Jeff Monk - Winnipeg Free Press (four stars)
“What You See…”
What you see... is what you get, just Desilets' voice and guitar on 10 songs dating back to 1981. The overall feeling is laid-back and rootsy, as the singer-songwriter creates a cosy vibe, bringing you into his world where the fishin' is easy and there's an endless array of possibilities outside his window. No subject is too mundane for Desilets, who finds inspiration in everything from the maple leaf on his umbrella to the boredom of a waiting room. Desilets truly shines with his skilful guitar work, which recalls the fleetness and passion of no less than Bruce Cockburn.
Rob Williams - Winnipeg Free Press
Remember Bob Ross, the oil painting instructor whose dulcet tones and "happy little clouds" made sick days more bearable? Well, What You See..., by St. James resident Marcel Desilets, is the singer-songwriter equivalent of a particularly laid-back Ross episode -- and yes, we mean that as a compliment. Desilets seeks to recreate one of his solo shows, offering up 10 unadorned, voice-and-guitar musings on themes both weighty (New World of Mine, Take Me to Cuba) and completely inconsequential (Wishin' I Was Fishin', Big Umbrella). Bonus points for rhyming "never fail ya" with "paraphernalia."
David Schmeichel – Winnipeg Sun
"A capable player with an excellent half-sung/half-spoken voice, Desilets writes disarmingly simple folk songs that should appeal to fans of Keelaghan, Cockburn and Lightfoot.”
Bartley Kives, Winnipeg Free Press
The voice of Marcel Desilets is deep, soothing, pleasant, and very easy to listen to. Its warmth is the key to the magic way that he leads you through his music. The lyrics are pieces of life woven into a poetic tapestry that covers you with its warmth and spirit. Superior guitar talent enhances the beautiful voice that tells you a story, soothes your ear and calms your soul. Infectious with it’s sincerity, touches of humour and overall joy for life, I found that I wanted to listen to it over and over again and each time that I listened I was touched by Marcel’s heart, vision and gift.
Holly B, Host/Co-Producer 807 BackBeat
Norcom Telecommunications / CJTV Ontario
"Supported by strong musicianship, Marcel Desilets debut, Turtle Highway is a comforting reassurance about living in Manitoba. It's a very personal album, dedicated to his late father, full of subtleties that are common to his and all Manitobans' stories...A "Manitoban Minstrel" he is, and captured something that is deeply personal to all Manitoba he has."
Winnipeg's Stylus Magazine
“It’s pure, just pure warm music that makes you feel good…I love that voice…the sense of welcoming that he has.”
Kinzey Posen, Music Producer - CBC
“…lyrically he is more a pure poet than a rhyming dictionary enthusiast.”
Wpg. Free Press
“Desilets truly shines with his skillful guitar work…”
Wpg. Free Press
"...You make it seem easy. You shine the right light on the glory and grandeur of the bantamweight. Thank You."
Jesse DeNatale – singer/songwriter
"I love songs with clever, intelligent, engaging and poetic lyrics, and your lyrics are all that Marcel. The waiting room song really got us laughing. Brilliant."
Neil Keep - vocalist
"Marcel's music feels to me like a favorite pair of slippers with a perfect cup of coffee on a lazy summer morning at the cottage. It's as unaffected as the heart of the Canadian Shield, and as beautiful."
Jaylene Johnson – singer/songwriter
"...the first time I heard Marcel play solo. He sounds like a whole band. Watch his thumb, it lays down the groove. Then those other guys (his fingers) give you some rhythm and a hint of melody. The band is now cooking. Then the singer starts and you realize, "hey that's him too"...Now, before the song is over, try to tear yourself away from the guitar work because there's lots going on lyrically as well. There's poetry in those words..."
Harvey Levy, Vice President-Levy's Leathers – singer/songwriter
“Marcel, I'm always so impressed with your writing. You seem to speak directly to that place in the heart that where our most powerful memories are stored.”
Kate Ferris– singer/songwriter
“Marcel Desilets has had a steady presence in Winnipeg's world of music for many years, and with many musicians. He's a thoughtful and poetic songwriter with remarkably talented guitar fingers. You will be drawn in by his gentle way of singing and knack for pointing out truths in simple things.”
Jenny Berkel – singer/songwriter
“His songwriting, his guitar playing, his singing, his appreciation for his muse, his audience, his family, his life...everything about him conveys a deep and unshakable strength. Marcel Desilets is a singer-songwriter with an old soul. Some of his songs are humorous, some are sweet, and some are downright cosmic; but all of them are loving celebrations of life. You might say they're Marcelebrations!”
David (KC) Cramer – singer/songwriter