It will be a gala night in more ways than one when the St. Lawrence Stage holds the third in its concert series on Saturday, November 19. Not only can the audience expect to enjoy performances by some outstanding musicians, but they can also see, and purchase, the works of noted local visual artists before the concert and during intermission.
Bev Murphy a glass artist, Sandra Taylor-Hedges, a painter, and painter/illustrator MiSun Hunter will be among the many different artisans whose works will be on display at the St. Lawrence Stage.
“This is going to be an incredible evening,” said Sandra Whitworth of the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage. “We will be featuring six singer/song writers in our November 19 concert. Some of these artists are just emerging, some fully emerged,” she said, laughing, “but all of them great.”
Returning to the St. Lawrence Stage will be Morrisburg favourite Gene Ward. Ward is noted for his country-infused original music, revolving as it does around themes of love, loss and the joys of living life to the fullest. His promises to be a memorable performance.
Mélanie Brulée, also a returning St. Lawrence favourite, will again light up the Morrisburg stage with catchy new songs and her powerful real life lyrics. Brulée has lately been weaving her unique musical magic as a solo artist.
New to the St. Lawrence Stage, with an ever-growing area fan base, will be artist Tracy Lalone of Cornwall. She has recently opened for Graham Greer and Melanie Brulée: in October, she appeared in Cornwall’s Artsfest. Lalonde is hard at work on her much anticipated debut album, due out some time in early 2012.
Making their first appearances at the St. Lawrence Stage will be musical newcomers Chris Thompson and Samantha Martin, as well as established singer/songwriter, Kevin Head.
“As a solo performer, I’m a little bluesy, more in the style of, say, Lyle Lovett,” said transplanted Maritimer, Kevin Head, who has shared the stage with the Rankins, Valdy and Chris deBurgh.
Head, funny and outspoken, says artists can find inspiration for their music in anything. “Snow falling on the roof, a child laughing, can all lead to a story. The best songs, I think, are often love songs, but love songs about a place or a home. I want to avoid getting all twisted up inside and then writing dreary songs about it,” he laughed.
A versatile musician, Head is looking forward to the November 19 concert. “Maybe I’ll be the curve ball on the program,” he joked. “I’m not always predictable. But it will be fun.”
Music is definitely the focus of her life and her career for Toronto-based singer-songwriter Samantha Martin.
“As a soloist, I would say I am roots blues, country blues, a sound that I describe as more mellow,” the 28-year-old said. She has performed extensively with The Haggards, and is in the process of creating a new album for release in March of 2012. “I am more secure, more polished, more confident with this album,” Martin said.
Proud daughter of a trucker, Martin says of her writing: “Mine are, I guess you’d say, ‘road-worthy’ themes, the relationships in a family, the effects of distance on those relationships.” She has recently found herself exploring new and challenging themes. “I love the imagery of religion. My love songs, I guess, are a little grittier,” she said. Her music, says Sandra Whitworth, is going to “blow audiences away, with lyrics that tug at the heart.”
Just 20 years old, musician Chris Thompson is already building a sterling reputation as a “finger style wizard” in the performance footsteps of Don Ross and Andy McKee.
“Finger style is a mesmerizing style to me, a style that gives listeners the impression that there are a number of instruments at play on stage. There can be a rhythmic beat to the performance, and an approach that creates energy and drive in the music.”
Performing his own music, Thompson attracted a lot of attention at the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals in October where he was matched with guitarist Jason Fowler and show cased at the Festival.
“You find the riffs you like in writing and build from them,” Thompson explained. “There are no limits to where your music can go. It’s important to convey a message, yes, but you also have to be yourself, be a bit of a showman. I look forward to the St. Lawrence Stage.”
Tickets for this showcase of outstanding musical artists and gifted artisans at the St. Lawrence Stage, Morrisburg, on Saturday, November 19, are available at the Basket Case and Strung Out Guitars or by calling 613-543-2514. Tickets are $10. Doors open at 6 p.m. for this concert.