ANNAPOLIS ROYAL - It looks like 2018 will start right at King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal. Dave Gunning’s going to kick it off on Jan. 14 with a 2 p.m. concert.
And James Keelaghan will be there.
Gunning, the Pictou County multiple ECMA winner isn’t just Nova Scotia’s folk gem anymore. He’s toured Canada with Stompin’ Tom, hit the road with J.P Cormier, and packs shows across the country.
“Dave Gunning is one of Canada’s musical treasures,” said Mike Hill, artistic director at the Mariposa Folk Festival. “He is a songwriter who can be comfortably grouped with the likes of Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers and Murray McLachlan. As a performer, his professional approach is engaging, humorous and above all musically compelling.”
And of necessity he’s become an environmental activist in his own neighbourhood as he fights against air and water pollution from a local pulp mill.
On his 11th album Lift, Gunning pulls no punches in his song They Don’t Do That No More.
“That one is inspired by the fight we have here against a pulp mill that is just an environmental disaster,” said Gunning. The mournful sound of the pedal steel punctuates his lament that “there’s poison on the harbour floor.”
It’s a song from life, too:
“Home made bread was common.
“So was being poor.
“But there’s credit cards and big box stores.
“They don’t do that no more.”
“Truly, what makes Gunning so remarkable as an entertainer is his rare gift to be able to befriend the audience as a whole from the stage throughout the course of the concert,” a review in the Charlottetown Guardian reads. “And, indeed, you do feel as though he’s as good of a friend as any after a night of songs, stories and lighthearted laughs.”
Lift was the silver lining in the cloud of a brutally cold Nova Scotia winter.
“We were literally snowed in, but the power was on and I was good to go,” he says of the making of that album.
Among the people who have insired Gunning, are legends like Ron Hynes, David Francey, and James Keelaghan.
“I grew up listening to people like Ron Hynes,” said Gunning. “I look up to them but then it hits me sometimes that I’m their peer and they like my stuff too. It’s a weird headspace, flipping from being a fan to being a peer.”
Called Canada’s finest singer-songwriter by one of the most respected and lauded music journalists of the last 50 years, James Keelaghan is an artist who has proven to be a man for all seasons.
For almost a quarter of a century now, this poet laureate of the folk and roots music world has gone about his work with a combination of passion, intent and intensity, and curiosity.
Fusing his insatiable appetite for finding the next unique storyline Keelaghan also forges his pieces with brilliantly defined craftsmanship and a monogrammed artistic vision, making him one of the most distinctive and readily identifiable voices of not only the Canadian scene, but as a member of the international singer-songwriter community.
Armed with a songbook that has enlightened and enthralled, and been embraced by audiences around the world, Keelaghan’s life as an artist is one that is a perpetual journey on so many levels.
Concert - Dave Gunning & James Keelaghan
Date – Sunday, Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. Doors open at 1:15 p.m.
Tickets - General ticket price $36; Member advance price $32; Youth $12. All prices include HST. Tickets can be purchased from the King's Theatre Box Office or King's Theatre website.
Go To: www.kingstheatre.ca
With files from King’s Theatre