Valdy - Gary Fjellgaard @Charslanding
Valdy meet Gary Fjellgaard; Gary Fjellgaard, this is Valdy.
Of course, introductions are unnecessary - these two guys have known each other far too long for any kind of formality. Now, with their first album together, Contenders, on the leading Canadian roots music record label, Stony Plain, and with a national tour underway, they make the most logical duo in Canadian music. Consider, if you will, what they share. They're both family men. They both live on small islands off the coast of British Columbia. They are both singer-songwriters with an eye for memorable tunes and finely-honed images. They're both road warriors who tour, and tour, and tour. They are also both committed Canadians, more particularly, committed Western Canadians. And their music draws on all the aspects of life in the west. "Western roots" they call it. It's music that, in every note, echoes the mountains and the sea, the cowboys and the fishermen, the oil well roustabouts and the loggers, the sunsets and the rain, the streak of rugged independence and contrariness that so many display, and the generosity and warmth that make Westerners so welcoming to all.
Valdy, born Valdemar Horsdal in Ottawa, has been part of the fabric of Canadian pop and folk music for years. A man with a thousand friends, from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island to Texas to New Zealand, he's a songwriter who catches the small but telling moments that make up life. Remembered for Play Me a Rock and Roll Song, his bitter-sweet memory of finding himself, a relaxed and amiable story-teller, facing a rambunctious audience at the Aldergrove Rock Festival circa 1968, Valdy has sold almost half a million copies of his 16 CDs, albums and 8-tracks, and has received two Juno Awards (from a total of seven Juno nominations), and four Gold albums to his credit. Along the way, he's taken his music to a dozen different countries, from Denmark to Australia, and recently New Zealand, been an invited performer on many occasions at the prestigious Kerrville Festival in Texas, and even played a lead role in an episode of The Beachcombers. Today, he's based on Salt Spring Island, where he lives with his wife Kathleen, two dogs and two large cats (the three grown-up "kids" are all now living in the southern mainland of British Columbia and Colorado).
Gary Fjellgaard has been described as a "national treasure" and one writer summed up his music this way: "It is so rich that his art is free of bitterness, whining, self-pity, and manufactured pathos. He is the poet of the extravagantly good side of the human spirit; breathtakingly humane and compassionate." Like Valdy, Fjellgaard came to the Gulf Islands (he lives with his wife on Gabriola Island) well into his 25-year career. The island's peaceful calm (not to mention the view from his living room window) can make it difficult for him to leave. It is not only a haven from the road, and a different geography than the one he knew growing up in Saskatchewan, but a place to write the sort of songs that lovingly recall the past, take an affectionate view of the present and look optimistically into the future. He has a stubborn streak, which is why he's never changed his Norwegian name so people who don't know him could spell and pronounce it properly; now nearly everyone knows it's pronounced Fell-Gard. As a songwriter, he's a storyteller - and the stories he tells come from his two decades in the logging industry, his annual stints as a trail-riding cowboy, and his travels back and forth across Canada. His reputation has been earned in the country music field, and if his songs bear little resemblance to the "hot new country" that fills the airwaves today, he has had more than his share of successes - and has a shelf-full of awards to prove it.
Together, Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard are a near-perfect team. The songs they've written for Contenders touch their common ground with the familiarity and warmth only old friends can share. They are both experienced entertainers who know how to earn the respect of their audiences, and deliver shows, night after night, that send people home with smiles and the feeling that they've experienced something special and heartwarming. The pair are in the midst of a national tour to support Contenders, and to bring the songs to audiences across the country. No spotlights. No stacks of heavy-duty speakers and power amplifiers. No all-star backup band. Just two guys, two guitars, and two dozen songs or more that tell where they've been, where they are and where they're going. A new decade really needs the old verities more than ever before, and these contenders prove the point.
Advance$25 / Sr$22 / Youth$22 (Showdate $30)
@Chars from 4pm daily,
charge by phone (778) 421-2427,
Chars 19+ Lounge open 5:30-12midnight 365+ days a year www.charslanding.com Chars Landing, 4815 Argyle @5th. Port Alberni V9Y 1V9
Char's Landing (View)
4815 Argyle St.
Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1V9
|Minimum Age: 19|
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: Yes!|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|