Andrew Smith, Sherri Funk and Norm Strauss will reunite once again this Christmas in Lake Country.
While it’s been about 12 years since the folk and jazz trio toured across Canada and Europe together, they will reunite for a second Smith, Funk and Strauss (SFS) and Friends Okanagan Christmas at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6 at Creekside Theatre.
To make their Okanagan Christmas encore extra special, they have recorded a brand new A Very Merry Acoustic Christmas album, including covers and one original song written by Strauss, “It’s Christmas Time Again.” The new album is available now at normstrauss.com and will also be available at the show in the form of download cards.
Both Smith and Strauss still perform separately as touring artists. Strauss, who in recent years has split his time between Kelowna and Germany, said that aside from the new album, the Okanagan Christmas show will be typical of an SFS concert.
“The audience can expect a lot of jazzy and folk arrangements of well-known songs, harmonious vocals and world-class finger-style guitar playing,” he said.
Standout tracks will include a gypsy jazz version of “Sleigh Ride” and a tap-style meets the blues version of “Little Drummer Boy.”
“There will also be a lot of spontaneous humour,” Strauss added. “On stage banter is one of our trademarks as a trio.
“I think because we are all good friends and we see each other fairly often, whenever we get together it’s the same thing. We laugh a lot.”
For example, he said they sometimes include audience participation as part of their shows and do musical improvisation.
“On the spur of the moment, we may ask for comments from the audience,” he said. “If someone says something that catches us off guard, we may start jamming on it and make a song out of it.”
Last year, the Smith, Funk and Strauss and Friends Okanagan Christmas came close to selling out.
“We had a really good time last year and it was really fun playing with other Okanagan musicians who joined us on stage,” Strauss said.
This year the trio will be joined by renowned jazz, blues and roots guitarist Neil Fraser as well as bass guitarist Jim Ryan, formerly of the Cruzeros and numerous other groups, and currently playing with Dirt Road Opera. They will also be joined by Scotty Gamble on drums and percussion, and new to the band this year, Dean Salyn on the piano.
“They’re some of the best musicians in the valley,” Strauss said.
Tickets for the show can be purchased online at www.kelownatickets.com/events/event/SFSXmas19 or by calling the Creekside Theatre box office at 250-766-9309. The theatre is located at 10241 Bottom Wood Lake Road in Lake Country.