The air may be cold, but the atmosphere will be warm and inviting when old friends get together to make music.
Like old-time kitchen parties, the annual appearance of folk-masters Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard at Carlin Hall draw full-house audiences.
And, as in other years, the two well-known Canadian artists invite good friends and popular local duo, Blu and Kelly Hopkins, to the party.
Fjellgaard and Valdy share a long history and many similarities.
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.
And, they’re both road warriors who tour, and tour and tour.
Not only are they committed Canadians, their love of the country and her people is reflected in their “western roots” music – songs that paint images of mountains and the sea, cowboys and fishermen, oil well roustabouts and loggers.
Born Valdemar Horsdal in Ottawa, Valdy has been part of the fabric of Canadian pop and folk music for many years. 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 bittersweet memory of finding himself, 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, been an invited performer for five years in a row at the prestigious Kerrville Festival in Texas, and even played a lead role in an episode of The Beachcombers.
Like Valdy, Fjellgaard arrived in the Gulf Islands well into his 25-year career. The island’s peaceful calm can make it difficult for him to leave.
It is not only a haven from the road, 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.
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 he has had more than his share of successes – and has a shelf-full of awards to prove it.
Together, Valdy and 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.
Wrapping up a busy month, Blu and Kelly have completed a four-day Vancouver Island and a closer-to-home appearance set for Blind Bay Oct. 17 with Larry and Jane Stephnenson.
An award-winning singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Blu has been travelling in true troubadour fashion, writing songs and performing them for more than 30 years.
His influences include Bill Monroe and Woody Guthrie, Gordon Lightfoot and Stan Rogers. He has been nominated 16 times for Okanagan Music Awards (winner in 2007)and BC Interior Music Awards (winner in 2008) in both the songwriter and folk artist categories, and with his band Silvercreek as Folk Roots/Bluegrass band of the year.
Kelly is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, her songs ranging from rollicking fun to heartfelt and poignant ballads.
In between their warm harmonies, the pair, like the long-married couple they are, entertain their audiences with their affectionate banter.
Catch the warmth and fun Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Carlin Hall. Tickets are available at Acorn Music.