Thu, Oct 4, 2012.
It's time for Valdy's pass through the Maritimes, a yearly occurrence of late. He's built a loyal following over the years of course, based on a strong appreciation for his audience, a two-way street he's worked hard to maintain over the decades. Now 67, he's one of the hardest-working performers in the country, playing 200-plus dates a year, going overseas, and trying his best at every show. His best is first-rate. As you'll hear in a biographical tune on his new album, he learned a long time ago to care about every person in the audience, and about himself.
That song is called Mind's Eye View, and is about his former agent, a guy named Doug Kirby, whom Valdy calls his mentor. It's an interesting tune, as it's set in Saint John, a particularly rowdy gig years back, and Kirby had to convince Valdy to win over the crowd. For me, it explains who this fascinating guy is, what has driven him to continue his folk music journey, through peaks and valleys, and always being friendly, fun and a great show.
The new disc, Read Between The Lines, is his first in several years. Because of that, he got to pick from a bunch of songs over the past two decades, his own, or covers that speak to him. There's another N.B. reference is the tune VLT, a true story, about being in a restaurant in the Maritimes with a couple of friends, having to endure the bells and whistles of a gambling machine. One had enough and pulled the plug. This fun number describes the minor panic that ensues at such a move, right up to alarms going off at the Atlantic Lotto headquarters in Moncton. Amusing on an album, I bet it's a hoot live.
Most of Valdy's material is either true, mostly true, or inspired by what's happening in the world, a classic position in the folk world. Valdy's never wavered from his beliefs, and has no problem using his place behind the microphone to pass them on. In the 70's he was warning about nuclear waste, in Hot Rocks. Here, he sings about fish farming and sea lice problems in the B.C. aquaculture industry. Funny about those old folkies; they never seem to go out of style, or relevance.
Hey, help Valdy celebrate, too! In a long career with several major honours and sales rewards, he just got one he's especially keen on, one of the newest members of the Order of Canada. Nice. Valdy's New Brunswick dates start Thursday, Oct. 4th in Miramichi at the Beaverbrook Kin Centre., Friday in Ford Mills at the Greenwood Lodge, Saturday at the Imperial Theatre in Saint John, and Sunday the 7th in Moncton at the Capitol. He'll be supported at all the shows by Graham Wardrop from New Zealand, a unique arrangement, as Valdy tours over there with Graham, with the rolls switched. C'mon, isn't that great? Don't you just love Valdy?
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).