Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m.
5 St. Anne Street
Tickets: $36. Call 780-459-1542 or at www.ticketmaster.ca
Roots singer-songwriter David Francey returns to the Arden Theatre on Thursday, April 11, and his eager audience waits with embracing arms.
The multiple Juno recipient was slated to perform here in January 2015, but cancelled at the last minute.
After a successful three-week tour of the sun-soaked Australia, the Scottish-born Canadian-raised troubadour underwent the terrifying experience of losing his voice.
“The larynx was worn right out. The treatment was rest. The doctor suggested I stay silent, but that’s impossible if you have a partner, dogs and grandkids,” says the soft-spoken Francey, his lyrical Scottish burr still a magnetic aspect of his voice.
Prior to his affliction, he had recorded The Broken Heart of Everything released in 2018. Once more the tunesmith showcased his extraordinary skill as a lyricist with themes reflecting on small-town life, the drudgery of the daily grind, pride in an honest day’s work, sadness in losing loved ones and the joy of family bonds.
Still recuperating from vocal strain, Francey was unable to tour the album. However, his everyman signature shone through each song and his peers voted the album a Juno Award as 2019 Traditional Roots Album of the Year.
Poorer Than reflects on the shortness of life while Where Harry Sat remembers a lost Second World War pilot. The Flower of Colonsay and Only Love are two unrepentant love songs and Come Sunday pays tribute to a lost friend in Francey’s hockey league.
Forced into silence mode, Francey continued songwriting and expanded his interest in the visual arts.
“I’d been painting for 25 years – sporadically at times. When this thing happened I thought I’d better stay occupied and I went out and bought some big canvasses.”
He shifted his creativity to visuals and discovered similarities in both arts.
“I was drawing from the same well. There’s an individual struggle to finish a song. You get completely absorbed in it and you feel it’s never done until you complete it and look up and say ‘it’s done.’ It’s the same with a painting.”
Remarkably, although colourblind and self-taught, Francey’s pieces are striking. His landscapes, often using muted or subdued tones, speak of the Canadian experience. From open prairie fields to rocky ocean outcrops to Canada’s freezing north, his paintings – like his songs – reflect the forgotten corners of our country.
The upcoming concert is part of a three-day Alberta tour before heading off to Cork, Ireland, in late April.
“I 100 per cent needed something to look forward to. But I’m taking it easy. In the future, I’ll be taking short tours with big gaps.”
Lately Francey has also picked up the bouzouki, originally a Greek instrument introduced to Ireland in the 1950s.
“I followed it ever since it was introduced into Irish music. I finally tried it and I loved it.”
Longtime friends, guitarist David McEathron and multi-instrumentalist Darren Mullen will accompany Francey at the Arden concert.