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Entertainment

Zukerman wins legion of new fans at St. Lawrence Stage Concert

 

There was a large audience gathered for the February 16 concert held by the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage at the Morrisburg Meeting Centre. 

That really wasn’t a surprise. With such outstanding performers as Natalia Zukerman and Awna Teixeira on the bill, people knew they were in for an exceptional evening.

And the two artists did not disappoint.

Opening for Natalia, Awna Teixeira, an original member of the group Po’Girl, built an informal, comfortable rapport with the audience. Awna is very new to the world of solo performance.

“I’ve been in Po’Girl for about nine years,” she laughed, “but when they went on hiatus for a while, I felt it was time for me to branch out. It’s really an adventure going solo. Suddenly there’s a lot of room up here on the stage.”

Blessed with a sweet, slightly husky voice (it really does have Dolly Parton overtones, a musical comparison she mentioned during an earlier interview with The Leader), Awna cannot be ‘defined’ by a single musical genre. She has honed her talent in a year of concert touring.

“Where Darkness Falls”, the title song of her 2012 album of the same name had a soft folk music flavour to it. Yet “Watch Over Us” was passionate and dramatic. This particular piece reflected her Portuguese heritage, and she sang some of it in that language. 

Awna plays several instruments, among them the banjo, guitar and harmonica, and has said that the type of instrument she is playing often determines the nature of the song she sings. Her favourite instrument, however, is the gut bucket bass, although she laughed that she just couldn’t squeeze something that big on to her plane from Utah. 

She told the audience that, as a song writer, she often revisits her compositions, not content to leave a song behind forever. “I just added a new verse to a 2005 Po’Girl song I wrote,” she said. “I don’t know how painters ever really finish anything because I have to keep working on my songs.”

Sometimes exuberant, at other times thoughtful, even a little plaintive, Awna Teixeira’s music is an unexpected delight. 

There is a gentle sense of humour underlying many of her pieces as well. (One piece was “inspired by two hamsters that I ‘freed’ from their cage in my old classroom.”)  By the end of her set, the audience knew that they were hearing a very gifted break out  artist.

Natalia Zukerman seemed slight, even fragile, when she stepped on to the Morrisburg concert stage to perform. It was an illusion.

She picked up her guitar and simply filled the hall with a voice that is compelling, rich, powerful. From the moment this artist sang a bluesy “little love song to the South”,  swept into the edgy Latin beat of a song about abuse,  invited the audience to join her in the whimsical “Valerie” (“Be very Edith Piaf about it!”), Natalia Zukerman was utterly engaging. She owned the Stage.

Accompanied on several songs by Toronto percussionist, Sly Juhas (himself a marked talent), Natalia held the audience in the palms of her hands throughout the evening.

Incidentally, those hands were formidable on guitar.  She plays as though the guitar is an extension of her own passionate personality,  and her skill is  outstanding.

A workshop she held in slide guitar earlier in the day allowed her to share that talent with some eager learners. “She worked with each of us,” said Sandra Whitworth, “and she was terrific and incredibly patient. What a great teacher.” 

Raised in New York City, member of the very musical Zukerman family, writing and performance have been part of Natalia’s life since she can remember. But she finds her inspiration in many places.

“I grew up in Manhattan, but wanted to live in a Morrisburg,” she laughed. “I’ve spent my life teetering between big places and little places.”

“It’s been a long day/A long year…We move too fast/We miss too much…We could have some good times/If we didn’t rush.”

A trained visual artist, Natalia makes strong cross over connections between her music and her art. “I begin to think that the same image can occur again and again in a song. Why not? Artists re-paint the same object or scene many times. Even a single image, say of a boat, can create different metaphoric trips in life when you are writing,” she explained in an earlier interview with The Leader.

She has just completed a double live album, an experience the singer/songwriter described as “exhilarating.” 

Frankly, Natalia's entire performance at the St. Lawrence Stage Saturday night was exhilarating.

What a grand show!

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

GIBBerish – Skiing Anyone?

Actual snow this winter has brought happy skiers swarming to area slopes and chalets. These enthusiasts do not include me.

Frankly, I still experience flashbacks of my one and only attempt at skiing. I was told it would be memorable. It was.

Our destination was the TNT Lodge in Michigan (motto: Explode on to the Slopes! In my case, an unfortunate bit of foreshadowing). 

Already a little edgy in my rented skis, boots and poles, I came out on the main hill, crisp and snowy, fringed at the bottom with scrub trees and bush. I looked at this winter vista and made my first important discovery: I hate heights. 

My next determination: no way am I going down this precipice strapped to two flimsy boards.

But the other girls had already headed out. And they’d left me with the rather cryptic comment, “You’ll be fine. Just watch out for the moguls.”

There I was, pondering why a group of business tycoons out for an afternoon ski should be of concern to me, when I spotted it: The Bunny Hill.

Very low incline, very short distance, tow rope at knee level. I struggled over, and got into the line. Eventually it occurred to me that my fellow Bunny Hill skiers were looking at me oddly. Their average age appeared to be seven. And it didn’t help my credibility that I fell several times. Unfortunately, my red mittens even came off and travelled up the tow rope alone, giving the impression that a pint sized invisible man was enjoying a day on the slopes.

My friends found me on the BH several hours later and insisted that I try one run on the ‘real’ hill before we left. I knew it was a mistake the instant I pushed off. I hit light speed. 

The world became a blur. All I could do was scream “Look out! Look out!” as I caught fleeting glimpses of people in my path leaping like fleas madly in all directions. 

At one point, I realized that many of them were shouting the words “Snow plow! Snow plow!” Under the circumstances, however, I failed to understand why they would be warning me to watch for a large slow moving vehicle with flashing blue lights.

One man in bright orange was, I recall, a tad slow getting out of my way. I ran over his skis.

Ahead, at the base of the hill was the packed line up for the T-Bar. People were standing stock still, simply staring as the Gibb train wreck hurtled toward them.

Then at the last minute, the line  miraculously parted like the Red Sea, and I shot through and into the bush.

I can to rest over a small frozen creek. It was really quite peaceful. I thought I’d just stay there.

I heard the swish of skis. The man in orange came up beside me. Now that I was no longer moving at Mach 3, I could read the large badge fastened to his jacket: Ski Patrol. Sigh.

Have fun on the slopes, folks. I won’t be joining you.

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

GIBBerish February 13

 

Men's Practical Guide to Valentine's Day!

No need to panic. February 14 is tomorrow. There’s still time to locate the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your significant other. 

However, I should point out that, fair or not, the onus for creating a perfect romantic Day, falls squarely on men’s shoulders. Sorry, guys, but that’s just the way it is. It’s up to you to make this whole hearts and flowers thing work, at least on this one day of the year.

On the bright side, somehow get the right gift, and you might just be able to slide on all those past forgotten anniversaries and birthdays. Choose the wrong gift… well, you recall those -25 C nights this winter? Think colder. And longer.

Practical Rule One: Flowers are always nice. However, you may have waited a little too long to pick some up. The flower shops could be cleaned out. This may, therefore, necessitate an emergency run to the grocery store. 

Under no circumstances, pick up a bouquet that is marked “50 per cent off. Priced for quick sale,” and then forget to take the tag off. And let me emphasize, that if you are trying to “say it with flowers,” presenting her with a cactus is always a mistake.

Practical Rule Two: Never give a woman something she needs on Valentine’s Day (exceptions, a pass to an exclusive spa, a Caribbean cruise). Now you may think a new dish drainer and a scrub brush are just the thing. Wrong. A friend of mine once presented his wife with a sander for Valentine’s Day. He honestly thought she needed one.

He earnestly assures me that he spent about a month, rather worried about just what she was planning to…sand.

No, your gift must be something she wants, something she dreams of. Good luck.

Practical Rule Three: Giving your beloved tickets to a very special event, one that she might even share with you, has potential. However, you need to think this through. Handing her an envelope with “Honey, I got us the last two tickets to Fuzzy McBeard’s seminar, Ripping Tales of the Moose Hunt,” might be a mistake.

Practical Rule Four: Chocolate. Not the ‘three bars for a buck’, but something European, decadent. Do not, however, under any circumstances, jovially remark, as you present the candy, “A few extra laps on the old exercise bike will soon get those extra pounds off.”

Practical Rule Five: The romantic, candle-lit, home-made dinner. Make certain that pizza delivery boxes and/or crumpled fast food bags are not on the counter. Get down the cook book your grandmother gave you 20 years ago (still in the original wrapper) and puzzle out one of the exciting recipes, written in a language with which you are completely unfamiliar.

This could be the evening your beloved and you will never forget. Especially if the two of you get to spend it with the local volunteer fire department. 

Still, as a consolation, now, at least, you will know what the term flambé means.

[…]

No Picture
Opinion

GIBBerish

 

When one is on the far side of 50 (sliding downhill even), it’s a bet that reasonable people might be forgiven for asking, “Why on earth did you ever take up tap dancing? Aren’t you the person who thinks using the television remote constitutes a full upper body workout? At your age, what the heck possessed you?”

To them all I say simply that I decided to take up tap dancing because I needed to get involved in some form of exercise, and no one wanted me on the Olympic Ski Team.

I enrolled in adult tap.

The other women in my tap class are perhaps a little younger than me (about two and a half decades). And they are each a little, shall we say, smaller, than me (about the size of my left thigh.)

They have all taken tap for some time, and most come to class in form fitting tights and tops. I tend to appear in those elasticized, ‘comfort-fit’ pants and men’s extra-extra-large t-shirts. 

Nonetheless, I am determined to get into shape through dance.

Actually, just bending over to try and get the tight buckles on my tap heels done up equals a full pre-class warm up for me.

Each week for months now we have extensively worked on steps like the frappé, shuffle ball change,  the brush, cramp, buffalo and Susie Q. And you know, just as soon as I can remember what any of those terms actually means, I’ll be fine. Currently, I struggle along about two taps behind everybody else in the chorus line: I would like to point out, in my defense, that it used to be four.

What I have primarily learned about tap recitals (yes, a recital!) is that you have to wear a costume. Recitals are an important high point of the dance school year, and hundreds of family and friends fill the hall to watch the performances.

Now that my teacher has firmly established that I must actually dance in front of the back drop curtain at the recital, I find I must also wear a costume. My class mates were very keen on the dance catalogue selections: short, strapless, backless frocks with lots of ruffles and glitter. Their suggestions were eye-catching. Youthful. Small. I mentioned that the last dress slacks I purchased carried a label that said ‘House of Omar the Tent Maker.’

We’ve actually compromised on a kind of 1920’s look for our recital number, complete with plenty of fringe. Still, in idle moments, I find myself imagining what the audience will be thinking if I get all that fringe swinging and swaying on stage, still two beats behind everyone else. Perhaps prairie wheat fields in a gale? Sigh.

The thing is, I like tap dancing. Really like it. I intend to go on.

Still, if I can’t get the choreography in the adult number down a little better by spring, I  secretly fear being ‘sent to the minors’ as it were: i.e. the junior tap class. 

This class is made up of five-year-old girls, with pig tails and pink tutus. 

I might stand out.

[…]

No Picture
Entertainment

Fantastic concerts, outstanding workshops

 

The second half of the 2012-13 St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage season will kick off next week; an outstanding roster of musicians is coming to South Dundas. 

“We have such a varied and exciting line-up coming to town starting this month,” said Sandra Whitworth, on the board of the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage.

The extraordinary Natalia Zuckerman will open the spring series on February 16, with  Juno award winner, Amelia Curran, appearing on March 2. April 6, the incredible alt country band, New Country Rehab, takes to the stage. Grammy award winning fingerstyle guitarist, Laurence Juber, best known to many as lead guitarist in Paul McCartney’s Wings, will perform on April 27. 

The stellar St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage season will close out with a showcase for up and coming artists, Intimate Acoustics, on May 25.

Sandra Whitworth is also delighted to welcome some new additions to the St. Lawrence Stage “family” this spring. 

Now joining long time Stage supporter, Coffey’s Coffee, in sponsoring the spring musical series, are these local businesses: the law firm of Horner and Pietersma, Riley’s Valumart, Thom Realty Ltd., Seaway Valley Pharmacy, Morrisburg Home Hardware and the Bank of Montreal, Morrisburg branch.

“It’s been very heartening to have local businesses come on board and support us. It does feel like an acknowledgement from the Morrisburg community of the work we are doing,” Whitworth said. 

This spring, the Stage is also offering a number of workshops to the community.

First up, New Yorker Natalia Zuckerman (she is the daughter of the NAC Orchestra conductor, Pinchas Zuckerman) will hold two workshops. The first will take place on Saturday, February 16, at the Morrisburg Meeting Centre from 2-4 p.m., before Zuckerman’s evening concert.

Zuckerman is a virtuoso slide and blues guitarist, as well as a visual artist. In her local workshop, she will help students try out different slide guitar techniques and alternate tuning. She’ll get students using various materials such as glass, metal and lap style. Participants should have some familiarity with the guitar, but it is not necessary to have prior experience playing slide guitar.

Zuckerman is also presenting a  second workshop on Sunday, February 17, again from 2-4 p.m., in Cornwall, in partnership with the Art Gallery Cornwall (168 Pitt Street).  “Song Writing with a Painter’s Eye,” is for both musicians and artists. No prior visual or musical background is required, just interest. Natalia will be showing students how to create image-based songs, and song-based images. Each two hour workshop is $25 (funds for all workshops go directly to the artists). 

A minimum enrollment of eight participants is required for the Morrisburg workshop to run. Register for it by February 13, at the latest, at info@st-lawrencestag.com.  

On April 27, Laurence Juber will direct a workshop in Morrisburg entitled “Beatles, Wings and Six Strings,” before his evening concert. 

He will work with students on techniques for arranging songs such as building moving parts from basic harmony, voicing and articulating the melody and adding bass and groove to create a satisfying performance.

The cost of this workshop is also $25. A minimum of eight participants is needed for the workshop to run.

The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage is an exceptional venue for the performing arts in South Dundas. 

“We are trying to build a ‘community’ as much as just an audience,” Whitworth said. “Community, as we see it, means a shared openness to music, the willingness to be a bit surprized perhaps by a performer or style. We offer an intimate setting for audiences to enjoy the talents of extraordinary musicians, often at half the price these same performers might command in say, Ottawa.” 

Reach the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage at http://www.st-lawrencestage.com/shows.html.

[…]

No Picture
News

Evalyn Parry’s Spin is exciting show

A story teller has to amuse, to entice, to astonish an audience. In the process, she must also give her listeners something to think about.

Evalyn Parry is a story teller. 

And there was much to entice, amuse and astonish in her splendid, thought provoking show, Spin, performed at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, November 24. 

Parry is an amazing, versatile performer, with a strong vocal range and an equally strong acting range. On Saturday night she shared her stage with fellow musician Brad Hart, and with an unexpected performer, a vintage 1972 CCM bicycle. 

I say ‘performer’ because the bike was an integral part of the Parry’s show, as its frame and wheels were made to ‘sing’ and to accompany her musically at intervals throughout the production. It was really a revelation to me, and I suspect to many in  the audience, to discover how a bike could be such an innovative force in a musical production.

But then, Evalyn Parry’s entire show revolved around bicycles. It also revolved around the extraordinary computer generated images on a stage screen behind her. 

Parry’s focus was the story of Annie Londonderry, a name clearly unknown to virtually all of us in the audience. 

Yet in 1892, this 23 year old mother of three left her husband and children to become the first woman to ride a bicycle around the world. She had numerous adventures, survived through every type of terrain, shrewdly sported the logos of several Victorian sponsors on her evolving riding costumes, and, in the process, could be said to have started a female ‘revolution.’

“What would you do for a fee?/

What would you do to be free?/

What would you do to prove what a woman can be?” Parry sang.

In Parry’s show, Annie and the bicycle become the metaphors for change. 

“…trying to stay free in a world spinning webs to catch us../

We’d never get anywhere without resistance like a foot on a pedal…”

Evalyn Parry’s show was unique, an exciting blend of music, of original vocals, of acting and of technology. She effortlessly slipped in and out of characters on the stage: the pompous businessmen who saw Annie as a kind of travelling billboard, the preachers thundering that bicycles meant the downfall of womankind, since the bicycle was a “sterility machine.”

Spin is full of music, full of sound, full of visual interest. With humour and insight it celebrates the awakening of the female spirit, still carrying on in women today.

Spin is a musical tour de force for artist and story teller, Evalyn Parry.

I have the feeling that she very firmly agrees with the words of H. G. Wells, which were projected on the screen behind her when the show opened.

“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” 

[…]

No Picture
Entertainment

Spin at the St. Lawrence Stage

 

It’s a big month of ‘firsts’ for the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage. This will be one of the first times in their seven year history that they are presenting two shows only a week apart. 

“We’ve been taking our vitamins and getting ready,” board president Sandra Whitworth said with a small laugh. “We had already booked the fabulous Terra Hazelton for November, and then we had the opportunity to bring in Evalyn Parry’s SPIN on November 24th.”

 “This is a show we’d been keeping our eye on for a while, we were so excited to learn we might be able to bring SPIN to Morrisburg,  we decided to go for it.” 

The board members of the Acoustic Stage had been keeping their eye on SPIN because it is such an innovative show:  part musical performance, part spoken word, part documentary. The reviews describe it as “brilliant” and “a breath of fresh air.”

SPIN uses the bicycle as a metaphor for social change, but also as an actual musical instrument – the bicycle (along with percussionist Brad Hart) is Evalyn Parry’s co-star. 

In an interview Parry notes that this is one of the attractions of the show. 

“We’ve played the show in big fancy theatres and also in small community halls – it’s versatile that way, and seems to work in both intimate and larger settings.   Part of the unique thing about the show is the musical bicycle – and that always seems to go over really well wherever we play – Brad Hart is a talented drummer, and creates an amazing accompaniment with the bike.”

A musical bicycle? As Whitworth points out, that will be another first. “We’ve had a lot of musical instruments played at the Stage, but never a bicycle.” 

Describing her motivations in creating SPIN, Parry says that it brought together not only themes she wanted to explore, but also different parts of her creative life. 

“I had spent my artistic career with one foot in music and spoken word, and the other in theatre, and I felt I wanted to create a show that would bring my two worlds together into one show.”

“I am an avid cyclist, and thought it would be fun to create something about my passion for my bicycle.  Also, I’m a bit obsessed with advertising and the way things get “spun” – so I thought the theme of “spin” could encompass both the bicycling and the advertising, and maybe result in something interesting.   And finally, I had also heard somewhere that there was a connection between the bicycle and the early women’s emancipation movement in the 19th century, and I wanted to research that.   So I dove into the research – and discovered all these unexpected and amazing historical characters and information which connected all my chosen themes.”

SPIN has recently completed an eight-show run in Kingston, most of which were sold out. Some of Parry’s favourite venues are in smaller communities. 

“I love performing in small communities, where people seem to especially appreciate things that are different.   SPIN is a pretty ‘outside the box’ show, even in a big city context, but the show seems to be enjoying a pretty broad appeal. The themes and stories about the history of women and cycling, and consumerism, and advertising, and ‘freedom’ within the show are certainly not only relevant to city-dwellers – they are pretty universal. “

Whitworth commented that the show is drawing a lot of attention. 

 “I do hope the local crowd gets their tickets and has a chance to see this.  I can’t tell yet whether we will be sold out, but there’s been more interest than usual with a lot of online sales from Ottawa, and that’s wonderful of course. But we brought this to Morrisburg to make sure our community has a chance to see it.” 

 Make sure to get to the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage in the OETIO/Morrisburg Meeting Centre  to see this fabulous show. Tickets are $18 in advance at Basket Case or online www.st-lawrencestage.com. The door price is $20, show time is 7 p..m on Saturday November 24th!

 

[…]

No Picture
Entertainment

Terra Hazelton: hot jazz at St. Lawrence Stage

 

Stage actor. Genie nominated film star. Radio personality. Model. Composer. Singer.

Especially a singer.

Terra Hazelton, who will be coming to the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, November 17, with her band, Easy Answers, is a multi-talented Canadian artist who will be offering a stunning mixture of blues and jazz at her show. 

Sandra Whitworth, of the St. Lawrence Stage, described Hazelton as a “..powerhouse singer. And the band is just a whole lot of fun. This is just going to be a terrific show.”

When Hazelton was asked how someone just 33 could have already accomplished so much, she laughed. “My passion for the arts started at a very early age.” 

Hazelton first earned her acting chops with the Loose Moose Theatre Company of Calgary, an organization founded by Keith Johnstone. Artistic director, Dennis Cahill, has had a profound effect on some of Canada’s best performers, including members of the Kids in the Hall, and of course, Terra Hazelton.

At age 14, Hazelton was already learning improvisational comedy and taking part in children’s theatre productions.

She credits Cahill and  the company with infusing her with “a taste for the stage, for telling stories and for making people laugh. My theatre experiences really nurtured all my natural urges to perform. And,” she laughed, “I also found I had a strong affinity for singing.”

Time spent at the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, really exposed Hazelton to the classic lyricists and composers, to Broadway legends like George Gershwin and Cole Porter. And her career soon took a new direction. “I discovered I loved that kind of music, loved singing it. I began veering away from my original Broadway stage ambitions” and instead found singing taking precedence. 

She returned to Toronto and started performing in cabarets and on stage. 

Then came the moment Hazelton calls “kismet.”

She had been performing around Toronto, particularly at the Brunswick House, when legendary singer/guitarist Jeff Healey heard her sing. His band, the Jazz Wizards, had been formed about a year earlier, and he was looking for a vocalist. 

“He sort of ‘musically courted’ me,” Hazelton laughed. “He came around to hear me at different clubs for a while, and then he offered me a wonderful job” as his band’s featured vocalist. 

It was a magical match: Hazelton toured with his band and Healey eventually produced the young performer’s debut record, “Anybody’s Baby” in 2004.

“The reaction to her (Hazelton) has been overwhelmingly positive to say the least,” Healey said. “I can say that I’ve rarely, if ever, seen a vocalist receive more of an outpouring of affection and adulation.”

Hazelton’s repertoire is grounded in her interpretations of classic jazz and the blues. 

“Jeff exposed me to some of the early great jazz musicians, singers from the 20’s and 30’s. I love Bessie Smith, for the blues and Connie Boswell is my favourite for jazz. Boswell was really the Brittany Spears of the 1930’s. Some of these artists are a little less known today, but I love singing them. Let’s just say my blues choices are earlier than my jazz choices.”

Hazelton is very much looking forward to her performance with Easy Answers at the St. Lawrence Stage. “It will be a great evening.”

Tickets for Terra Hazelton’s concert on November 17 are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. They are available at the Basket Case, Strung Out Guitars and Compact music or on line at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage.

 

[…]

No Picture
Entertainment

Kevin Fox, David Simard headline at St. Lawrence Stage

 

 It promises to be a night of music that is both unexpected and exhilarating.

On Saturday, October 27, at 7 p.m., artist Kevin Fox will bring his fresh and delightful sound to the St. Lawrence Stage. David Simard, first introduced in an Emerging Artists showcase in 2010, to much praise, will open. 

Kevin Fox, whose extensive body of work has been described by the Halifax Chronicle as a “set of glowing acoustic pop gems” and by Cadence Magazine as “poetic and even romantic,” has  a unique background and an equally unique musical sound.

He has arranged music for Justin Bieber and Kathleen Edwards, recorded with Celine Dion and toured with Chantal Kreviazuk, Steven Page and Olivia Newton-John.  

“I think his (release) Songs for Voice and Cello” is stellar, and his live performance is incredible,” said board member Sandra Whitworth.

Unusually, Fox has made the cello, most often restricted to classical music, the unique focus of his pop/folk approach.

“I believe that a cello is actually a kindred spirit to the human voice,” Fox explained. “When I sing and bow or pluck the cello, the sound resonates with my voice. There is simply great beauty in this string instrument.”

Fox added, with a laugh, that his unusual choice of instrument should be blamed on the fantastic music program that used to exist in the Maritimes. “In every grade, students were introduced to a musical instrument. Every year there was a new classical instrument and a new sound. The cello became my musical voice.”

A graduate of McGill in classical composition, Fox says that “song writing and arranging have always been part of me. You could say that I speak both pop and classical music. I describe my career by saying there have been many cookie jars on the shelf that I’ve dipped my hand into. I love arranging for the stage. I love arranging for the studio. And I love singing. Music has been the focus of my life since I was 10.”

I asked him about his songs.

“I have this interest in beauty. I seek beauty through my music, seeking out the colours that make me feel good, or reflect my mood. Then I want to put this unique beauty I have found down on pages to share. I also tend to believe that artists look inward and find a wealth of things that they can share with others.”

Kevin Fox released Set Right in 2011, an album that audiences are loving. “I wanted this one to have a collaborative element,” he said, explaining he had used several instruments and musicians in this work. “ But I did add lots of cello parts too,” Fox laughed.

David Simard is looking forward to his return to the Stage. “It’s such a treat to perform in that setting filled with people genuinely enjoying the music.”

Simard has been touring, but he finds that he loves “the rhythm of life on the road. It lets me focus all my energy toward music, which is exactly what I want to do.”

Generally, Simard prefers to stay away from labels. “I just say I’m a folk singer, straight up.” But he has been given one label that he finds intriguing, that of “avant-garde folk singer.” 

“It comes from an album review in Italy. It said I was avant-garde because I was ‘a folksinger who’s rooted in the past, and looking to the future’. I do sing traditional folk music, but I am always trying to create something new and progressive in my music.”

The influence of cabaret has been part of that creative process.

“At one time, while I was living and working in Montreal and Victoria, I performed with aerialists, contortionists and dancers, with circus people: they were always looking for music and musicians. That experience led me to try and fit a kind of theatrical edge to my music. It is a style I would like to explore again.”

The theme of movement is a strong component of a lot of Simard’s compositions. “I’ve moved all my life. On tour I constantly move, crossing new geographic regions, always arriving, always leaving, maybe staying a short time in one spot. That theme appears in my music. I write about life, I guess. I love music. Music is my life.”

With upcoming artist David Simard opening for him, Kevin Fox will be in concert at the St. Lawrence Stage on Saturday, October 27. 

Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door available at the Basket Case, Strung Out Guitars and Compact Music or at www.st-lawrencestage.com/shows.html

[…]