James Keelaghan kicks off his Western Canadian tour in Kelowna Thursday at in the Mary Irwin Theatre.

James Keelaghan to kick of tour in Kelowna

After 25 years of crafted top folk songs an artist returns to his roots to reflect

  • Oct. 22, 2012 11:00 a.m.

Renown Canadian folksinger James Keelaghan launches a tour in Kelowna Thursday designed to shape an album of reflection.

After 25 years of writing and performing, the Juno-award winning artist wants to put together a greatest hits compilation for his 25th anniversary working as a Canadian folksinger and songwriter, but he needs the input of the grassroots fans that build his name to get the job done.

As such, he’s spent the last few months unearthing old radio interviews, writing a few new songs and digging into stacks of hits to find the perfect material to showcase in this tour and his project.

“Kudos to my late mother. She saved everything that came in,” he said. “When she passed away a few years ago, there was just this massive box of stuff to go through.”

Keelaghan said he got a bit of a jolt when he realized his late mother had even traipsed down to the store to buy copies of the interviews he did with Playboy Magazine, noting there is a little horror in knowing she had to go to this extent, though he is very grateful for such unparalleled support.

Telling stories in song is a passion he says is easy to forget the value of, though when he does, he’s generally given a good reminder.

A song he wrote for his 1993 Juno-winning album My Skies has been returning treasured anecdotes and connections in droves over the last six months.

Kiri’s Piano tells the story of a family forced into a Japanese internment camp, but not before the mother spares her piano from government seizure by rolling it into the ocean. Keelaghan said was recently contacted by someone who had heard the story while in a camp and didn’t realize it was real; he was able to connect the fan to the family depicted in the song.

In as separate interesting connection, he was gifted a guitar that was sunk in a similar manner to the piano, but nevertheless survived.

“The funny thing about story songs is that they start to accumulate their own story,” Keelaghan noted.

Now the artistic director for Summer Folk in Owen Sound, just outside Toronoto, he says he’s come to appreciate how savvy today’s young musicians are and that hard work, and says his only advice is that hitting the pavement to perform for and speak with fans does tend to pay off.

He used to play small communities like Nelson on a yearly basis, for example, and said he realized it has been 12 years since he stopped into the old Kootenay stomping ground. From Port Hardy to Revelstoke to Nelson, he will use this 16-day Western Canadian tour to reconnect with some of the songs and fans that built his name.

Just what makes the final cut come album time next spring will have to remain a story for another day.

James Keelaghan Trio plays the Mary Irwin Theatre in the Rotary Centre for the Arts this Thursday, Oct. 25. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for a student, available by calling 250-717-5304.

Just Posted

Fire destroys Kelowna motorhome

Kelowna fire crews arrived to find a fully-engulfed motorhome Friday morning.

IH concludes review into breach of employee information

Interior Health concluded a comprehensive review of a privacy breach.

Smart Cities Challenge needs community support

What challenges could Penticton solve with innovative ideas and $50 million?

Kelowna council settles on 3.6 per cent tax increase for 2018

“Safety” budget heavy on a wide-range of public safety related spending

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Myers high on Canada

AT RANDOM: Mike Myers says it right, eh

B.C. government to launch coastal ferry review in January

The Province will begin a comprehensive review of the coastal ferry service in British Columbia in 2018

Federal Crown drops appeal after charges against pot activist dismissed

Dana Larsen said he was served notice at his home in Vancouver and the case was to be heard July 2

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Kensington Palace announced the date to the public Friday

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

Charges in car wash shooting stalled

Court waits for police watchdog report on Salmon Arm incident.

PART I: How Prince Rupert schools teach Indigenous language to hundreds of students

A multimedia series with videos and photos from children’s Sm’algyax classes on B.C.’s North Coast

Most Read