deCoste fall lineup has wow factor

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The fall lineup for the deCoste Performing Arts Centre has music, comedy, CD releases and more all leading into a busy Christmas season.

Upcoming on Sept. 30 is a true Canadian legend.

Paul and Lily Horsdal could not have predicted the musical success their third child would have when he began his solo career in the early 70s.

Nearly 50 years later, Valdy is still revered for his folk singing.

Before becoming a solo singer, Paul Valdemar Horsdal was a member of the London Town Criers and The Prodigal Sons in the late 60s, but it wasn’t until the early 70s when he began his singing career, launching his first mainstream single, Rock and Roll Song, that he began to garner recognition amongst his fans and the music industry.

The Ottawa-born Valdy is a true entertainer and has toured many festivals, appeared on TV shows in the past like CBC’s The Beachcombers as the environmental activist “Halibut” Stu, as well as Sharon, Lois and Bram as a guest on one of their shows. He has released 14 albums during his lifetime, achieving sales of nearly half a million copies — four of these have been certified as gold records. Next to Gordon Lightfoot, Valdy was one of the most popular folk singers during the mid-1970s.

His accomplishments include seven Juno nominations and two Juno Awards — one for Folk Singer of the Year and the other for Folk Entertainer of the Year.

Valdy continues to entertain, performing upwards of 250-300 shows each year, and when he’s not on stage he can be found at his home in Saltspring Island in British Columbia with his wife Kathleen where he continues to write and record.

The deCoste will welcome Valdy to the stage again as one of the shows kicking off their fall line up on Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 and $32 for members.

International master

guitarist Martin Simpson

Born and raised in England, Martin Simpson’s love of playing the guitar and banjo came early on in his life.

His passion and talent for the instruments had him beginning to play in local folk clubs and bars in the early 1970s. His decision to drop out of college to become a full-time musician resulted in a lifetime career that has resulted in 21 albums of his own, and at least 20 other recordings that he’s guested on with others. His music reflects a wide variety of influences and styles including those rooted in Britain, Ireland, America and beyond.

One of Simpson’s greatest gifts is ability to help others learn how to play the guitar and banjo. He has written several instructional books and recorded a number of DVD videos in the hopes that others will learn and be able to share their love of the instruments. He embraces any opportunity to share his experiences with others who are learning. Anyone seeing Martin live at one of his solo acts would agree his performances are inspirational, especially for a young budding guitar or banjo player.

He has been called one of the finest acoustic and slide guitar players in the world, having once been ranked at number 12 by a reader’s poll in the Acoustic Magazine back in 2005. He is a master craftsman whose ability to tell a story through his interpretation of traditional songs is almost spellbinding.

The BBC Radio2 Folk Awards have garnered Simpson with 23 nominations over 11 years, nine of which were consecutive nods for Artist of the Year, which he has won twice. His album Prodigal Son was awarded album of the year, and the single, Never Any Good, received the award for Best Original Song of the Year in 2008. He will kick off his Canadian tour next week as part of the release of his latest album Rooted which became available the end of August.

Troy Greencorn, deCoste’s executive director, has had Simpson perform at Canso’s Stan Rogers Festival and indicated that Martin was certainly a “crowd favourite”.

This Oct. 2 performance at 7:30 p.m. was selected as a two for the price of one shows for any deCoste members, as Greencorn wants to give many the opportunity to see Simpson in person, especially those who might not consider it because he’s not as well known in the area.

“It’s not very often that we get the opportunity to feature the talents of such an amazingly talented musician, so we don’t want people to use the excuse that they can’t afford it,” he said.

Tickets are $25 each or $22 for two tickets for members

Whiskey Jack: Songs

and Stories of

Stompin’ Tom Connors

Stompin’ Tom Connors was able to describe the social fabric of this country’s great tapestry through a song. In March of 2013, Canada lost this Canadian legend.

His ‘rough around the edges’ personality, developed from growing up in a less than ideal setting is what gave him a certain charm that resonated with fans — it was his relatability to their own situations, and the words of his songs that gave them a reason to be proud, especially of their country.

His life was one full of music and narratives that are now shared by Connors’ backup band Whiskey Jack, through their tribute “The Songs and Stories of Stompin’ Tom Connors”. The relationship between Connors and the group resulted after he had personally approached them to record with him on his Dr. Stompin Tom… Eh! album that brought him out of retirement. Connors had become a big fan of Whiskey Jack’s after following them weekly on the Friday night Tommy Hunter Show when they performed their own segment of the show “The Ol’ Back Porch”. It was the beginning of many wonderful years together that garnered many outrageous stories during their experiences touring with Stompin’ Tom.

The show is one that musically presents a carefully crafted blend of Connors’ greatest hits mixed in with the stories of some of the antics that occurred while working with him. Also included are songs of singers who inspired Connors and even ones from those inspired by the legend himself. The concert is very personalized giving a behind the scenes view of the man himself presented through a multimedia presentation of audio, video and photos of the band during their many years on the road with Stompin’ Tom. It is licensed by Tom’s family and Stompin’ Tom Ltd.

The staff at the deCoste are excited to be able to share this production that not only showcases Stompin’ Tom, but also the band Whiskey Jack which, for over four decades, has become one of the most celebrated country|roots|bluegrass bands throughout Canada having had nine critically acclaimed recordings, some of which were nationally charted radio hits, and have received a number of Country Music Awards nominations.

The performance will be Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $38, $35 for members.

MILF Life Crisis

One-Woman stage show

On Oct. 4, stage veteran and Canadian Comedy Award nominee Anne Marie Scheffler brings her acclaimed solo production MILF Life Crisis to the deCoste stage.

A courageous writer and truth teller, Scheffler’s take on splitting up and “dating again” is loving, honest, funny, sexy, and completely transforming, whether you’re a divorced woman, a single man, or anyone in between.

She is opening her cross-country tour in Pictou. She jokes, “I honeymooned there 15 years ago. Now I’m back with my divorce show!”

Although MILF Life Crisis is geared at the relationship challenged, it’s a loud, raucous MILFs (and DILFs) Night Out for everyone. A little like a comedy rock concert where tribes of women have an excuse to put on their leopard print, drink wine cheer along with Scheffler’s post-marriage antics. And men come out in droves too, to see what all the MILFy fuss is about. Spoiler alert: there’s a hilarious improvised audience participation scene. Also known as The Plumber Scene. Scheffler is Second City alumna, after all.

MILF Life Crisis mirrors Scheffler’s real life narrative: just as she was set to get her post-baby career back on track, her husband suddenly asked for a divorce after 10 years of marriage. Which of course led to the ensuing mayhem of navigating herself and her kids through divorce, all while still believing anything is possible.

Scheffler’s leading edge work has always spoken society‘s current truth.

MILF Life Crisis is an intimate display of what a woman goes through: letting go of a marriage, finding her sexy again, loving her children, her girlfriends, maybe another man again, but most importantly, herself.

Scheffler is an award winning actress, writer, voice artist and comedian. She has created and toured eight one-woman shows across North America. Her fifth show, Not Getting It, is a one hour television special on CTV and The Comedy Network.

Her live production of Suddenly Mommy! regularly sells out across Canada and is booked well into 2019/20.

Show is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $32 for members, $35 for non-members.

These performances will have an Arts Are for Everyone Show Pass available at each of the seven local Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library branches for anyone wishing to take in the performance free of charge. Contact your local library for more information regarding the program.