He had the crowd when he sat on his stool after being introduced, grabbed his guitar and raised his left arm in the air like a rock star and said, “Hello Vernon.” Then joked, “Or maybe Hello Kamloops.”
Murray McLauchlan’s fabulous two-hour show Monday at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, in front of close to 500 fans, included lots of one-liners and zingers, and stories about each of the songs he played during the show, accompanied by Victor Bateman with his curious looking, self-made standup bass guitar that comes apart to make travelling with it easier.
McLauchlan, who turns 71 later this month, opened with arguably one of his most famous songs, Down By The Henry Moore, and other first set songs included classics like Whispering Rain, on the grand piano, and, of course, The Farmer’s Song, which ended the first set.
“I get asked all the time if I still enjoy playing the song,” McLauchlan said to the audience. “Of course I do. Yes. It’s a song that says thanks and I think a lot more of that is needed.”
After a brief intermission, the second set included songs from McLauchlan’s 2017 – and latest – album, Love Just Can’t Tell Time. McLauchlan opened with the title track, explaining he co-wrote the song with late Canadian sportswriter Alison Gordon, who once told McLauchlan that “writing songs sounds so easy.” A bet was laid down and the pair co-wrote the tune.
McLauchlan also performed the song The Luckiest Guy, which he said was written about his wife, former MuchMusic and Sony Records executive Denise Donlon.
After a lengthy ovation, McLauchlan and Bateman returned for an encore, an untitled song, said McLauchlan, written by him for the 10th anniversary of The Room 217 Foundation, of which McLauchlan sits on the board of directors.
The foundation is a social enterprise that uses music to change the culture of care, whose goal is to see music become a primary approach to care.