Hear the story behind the song …

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When Bruce Guthro comes to town it’s almost like he’s coming home.

Although he was born and raised in Cape Breton and has been calling Halifax home for the past two decades, Guthro holds a special place in the hearts of Pictou County residents. If for no other reason than his song Ivey’s Wall, which he wrote and recorded as a tribute to his late uncle, Ivan MacDonald, who could frequently be seen sitting on a concrete wall on the border of Trenton and New Glasgow.

“I still miss the man; he was a great guy,” Guthro says about his uncle. “That wall still stands with a little plaque in it and every time I go down that way I try to drive by it and say a little prayer for Ivey.”

A powerful vocalist either on his own or as a member of the Scottish Celtic rock band Runrig, Guthro is a real crowd pleaser with a massive fan base.

And now, Guthro is coming back with what is quickly becoming another county favourite — his Songwriters Circle.

Guthro has been hosting Bruce Guthro’s Songwriters Circle for the past 20 years in select venues, including the deCoste Performing Arts Centre, and has another one coming up January 30.

“The concept, from an audience perspective, is like you’re at the kitchen party of these artists — songwriters — who sit in a circle, face each other and let the veils drop, and be themselves. You get into extra layers of the song and the story behind it, and the artists perform it acoustically,” the award-winning artist explains.

The songwriters circles, Guthro lauds, have been doing “nothing but growing since I started them.”

Guthro has been bringing the artists and their songs to Halifax quarterly — they all sell out — and has hosted several at the deCoste. “The last one we did there sold out. It’s been fun working with Troy (Greencorn) and getting back to Pictou and bringing the concept to the area.”

Joining Guthro on January 30 will be Adam Baldwin, Dave Sampson and Enfield rapper Classified.

Guthro has nothing but praise for his fellow artists.

“I’m a huge fan of all three of these guys.”

In fact, he says one of his favourite songs is the hit Classified and Dave Sampson had last year, No Pressure. “It’s one of my favourite songs of last year.”

Juno-award winning Classified is equally well known for his hits Inner Ninja and Oh Canada.

He is also looking forward to working with Adam Baldwin, who he calls a “great songwriter” and “a really interesting character to have in the circle” and Dave Sampson who is “an old buddy from Sydney who is one of the hottest new young songwriters coming out of the East Coast.”

With talent like this, Guthro promises: “It should be an absolute killer circle.”

Every songwriters circle is different, Guthro explains, because they feature different artists who have different chemistries. “I never really know what I’m stepping into,” he laughs. “Nothing is rehearsed. It’s just very real. We get down to the nuts and bolts of the music — and our own personalities and characters come into play.”

Concert-goers can expect to see the four artists on the floor — not on a stage; in fact, there is a section of seats for the audience on the stage and the artists are sitting in a round, on the floor, close to the audience.

“That format works really well — and it’s a beautiful room anyway and the production team there is excellent.”

There are still tickets available; contact the deCoste for details.

The Advocate is giving you the chance to win a pair of tickets for the show, all you need to do is visit our Facebook page and like, share or tag a friend to be entered to win. Contest closes Thursday, January 30th at 8:00 a.m. Winners will be contacted via Facebook Messenger.