Sherri Harding: new star appears at Stone Crop Acres

MORRISBURG – The first time I saw and heard singer Sherri Harding was October 2, 2022, when she came to Stone Crop Acres Winery with the Cooper Brothers, back up singer for a concert that had the huge crowd cheering and applauding. At the time, I immediately noted that Sherri’s vocals were amazing. Her range was extraordinary. And she did a version of the Linda Ronstadt classic ‘Blue Bayou’ that brought the audience to its feet. Her versatility as she sang with the Cooper Brothers was striking.

As Ross Porter, former CEO of Jazz.M91 expressed it:”Songs are lucky when Sherri sings them.”

Audiences will have a chance to experience this great performer taking the lead in her own show when Harmony Concerts at the Winery welcomes Sherri back for a concert this Sunday afternoon. She has just released her debut album, A Million Pieces, which is already gaining critical and popular praise. On June 4, at 4 p.m., singer Sherri Harding will present a show that is bound to thrill the audience and win her a legion of new fans.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Sherri about her music, her album and her upcoming concert at the Winery.

She has been singing for almost all her life, as back up vocalist in venues ranging from juke joints and night clubs, to stages in the Northwest Territories and even in Bosnia and the Middle East entertaining Canadian troops. She loves all styles of music, from jazz to blues to soul to country – and she is an outstanding performer in them all.

“For quite a while I was leading a kind of double life,” Sherri Harding laughed. “I settled in Ottawa, where I was a government worker by day and a singer after dark. I called this my version of Superman. I took off my Clark Kent glasses at 5p.m., and turned into a night club performer.”

In 2016, the Cooper Brothers heard her sing, and swiftly invited her to join them on the concert circuit.

“You know,” Sherri said, “you begin a career sitting alone in your bedroom, learning chords, and then you start to branch out, doing all kinds of shows and concerts. Then one day, things change. I love singing with the Cooper Brothers. After years as a back up, they re-ignited my passion for music, and they encouraged me to create my own album.”

It was Dick Cooper who particularly felt that with all Sherri’s talent, she really deserved a shot at being out front, a lead singer in her own right. It was he who wrote the 10 songs that appear on A Million Pieces, her debut album.

“Dick originally wrote 15 to 20 new songs for this album, and we chose 10. Musically, this album is a bit all over the map,” Sherri said, “with songs in styles like jazz, soul, country, and even, just to give you an example, a rock song, “Headlong into Sundown,” which actually focuses on this crazy business of music and performing. You know, I’ve been singing for 35 years, but this album serves as a whole new level of performance, and it’s incredibly exciting.”

The album was recorded, at Dick’s request, in a place that has launched the careers of some of the great female singers, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Linda Ronstadt. “We travelled to Muscle Shoals in Alabama to record A Million Pieces. Brian Cooper drove down just to be with us in the creation of the album. The Cooper Brothers are simply great guys, and just so supportive.”

At her June 4 Winery concert, Sherri will be bringing a eight piece band with her which includes Peter Beaudoin, Martin Newman, Robert Farrell, Dick Cooper, Brent Hultquist, Robert Holst (also from the Cooper Brothers) and Paula Rich McGowan and Laura Hillary on back up vocals.

Sherri is looking forward to her performance in Morrisburg. “There is just such a warm energy when you perform live. It’s incredible to have that crowd on your side. When we did the release of A Million Pieces at the Gladstone Theatre, and I walked out on that stage, I was awed by the wonderful energy. All I can compare it to is stepping on to the stage in front of our Canadian soldiers in Bosnia.”

She has performed in huge venues like Bluesfest, but “that can almost be a little overwhelming. What I particularly remember about singing at the Winery is the warm vibe I got from the audience, the sense of intimacy. The people who come to the Winery are true music lovers, who truly enjoy music and singers.”

Audiences June 4 can look forward to hearing original selections from A Million Pieces, but also cover songs from greats like Linda Ronstadt and Etta James. Morrisburg’s Stone Crop Acres and Harmony Concerts will witness the launch of talented, versatile singer, Sherri Harding, into her spectacular new career.

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