Royal Wood brings a one-of-a-kind concert to the Okanagan this month

Royal Wood gives Kelowna seating for blue bloods—and the Irish

Singer says his songs are about life, his music about love, his love about the musical life he and wife Sarah Slean collaborate on...

  • Oct. 17, 2012 4:00 p.m.

Singer says his songs are about life, his music about love, his love about the musical life he and wife Sarah Slean collaborate on…

In the music biz, they call it a hold. Here in Kelowna, we could call it a golden opportunity.

When Royal Wood tried to secure the Mary Irwin Theatre for his tour stop this month, he apparently was told another artist had dibs on the space. And so, when the prolific songwriter returns to the Okanagan next week, he will be playing the only small venue concert of his Canadian tour, with a one-of-a-kind set list sampling his extensive repertoire, and unparalleled access to the artist for this audience.

“It will be more about listening to me on the piano and guitar and the other members will be doing a lot of stripped down horns…Instead of big keyboards,” he said.

This is what separates the men from the boys as professional musicians go—that ability to adjust to another instrument, another arrangement, a quickly cobbled together composition to cope with gaps in the show—and Wood has talent in spades to challenge.

“Everyone in this outfit are masters of their craft,” he said, noting he’s very lucky to have found the best of the best.

Married to fellow Canadian musician Sarah Slean, another force to be reckoned with as a songwriter and composer, Wood says he knows his wife is a major influence on his music, though never in a conscious way.

Rather than overt obsessions over relationship drama, Wood’s romantic crooning has been compared to everyone from Hawksley Workman to Rufus Wainwright, likely for his ability to tackle the breadth of emotion in life.

The new album he is touring, We Were Born to Glory, is about the big picture.

“This record represents a celebration of life and all the aspects of it,” he states. “Not just love and loss, but life on a grand scale—knowing that we are born as a seed of potential to be anything we want.

“Life is about balance, but often we can get so caught up in the drama of everyday interaction that we take for granted just being alive.”

Wood is a decently lighthearted entertainer and the get-to-know-you style concert is something he’s grown used to in the Okanagan, particularly in the small room known for it’s backyard tree.

Just back from Europe, the musician said there isn’t another room he can think of like the Minstrel Café; although on the Continent he might compare it to Whelan’s, a Dublin watering hole known for its music, with similar cabaret-style seating.

As for songwriting inspiration, he says the well has never run dry.

“Personal relationships, things on a grander scale, a human scale, life, our existence, nature…They’re almost happy accidents how the real gems of my life have been made.”

Royal Wood plays the Minstrel Café Monday, Oct. 22. Tickets are $20 in advance, phone 250-764-2301.

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