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For over 35 years, Jim Cuddy has written songs that have become indelible in the soundtrack of Canadian lives. With the release of his fourth solo album, Constellation, he adds ten songs to that extraordinary songbook.
As one of the founding members and creative forces behind Blue Rodeo, Cuddy has received nearly every accolade Canada can bestow upon a musician, from the Order of Canada and induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, to countless JUNO Awards and a Star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. Behind it all, is a simple devotion to his craft as a songwriter, which remains Cuddy’s tireless pursuit after more than three decades.
“I’ve always found fascination in the smallest details of human behavior,” says Cuddy of his songwriting. “It has been something that I look at and remember, whether it is the details of an exchange that I witnessed or an exchange that I have. Of course, as you get older there are bigger things that happen in your life that you realize you’ll never totally understand. There never seems to be a loss of things to write about.”
Constellation was recorded during the summer and fall of 2017 at Blue Rodeo’s East-end Toronto headquarters, The Woodshed. As is the case with all great songwriters, Cuddy’s music has taken on deeper meaning with the passage of time, no small feat considering he has penned some of the most memorable songs in our nation’s canon. What comes across on Constellation is less of a separation between the bitter and the sweet, as is sometimes evident with Blue Rodeo, but rather an emotional honesty that resonates across the album. On the album’s many memorable moments, such as “While I Was Waiting,” “Lonely When You Leave” and “Cold Cold Wind”, Cuddy’s unmistakable personality shines through, a testament to how his sound has always resisted attempts to be categorized. This honesty shines through on the title track, “Constellations”.
“’Constellations’ is about a friend of mine who passed away last year. Some friends and I took him up to my farm and we sort of had our last supper. We had a riotous time, we drank a lot of wine, and we had a lot of laughs, and it was all tempered with the fact that we knew that our friend was not going to survive this illness.
I think all the songs on the album were tempered by that because there’s something very sobering about losing a friend, especially losing a friend that’s younger, because it makes you tally up mortality a bit. What it made me do on this record is write some more definitive truths for myself. Write things that had wounded me. Write things that I loved and held onto and write about things I had lost.”
Loss is certainly the theme of the beautiful ballad “You Be The Leaver” which takes on the shock of sudden separation in a relationship, though not necessarily a romantic relationship. “I think in everyone’s life there are relationships that become troubled, and either you survive or you don’t. There are all kinds of relationships that have a great impact on your life, not just the romantic ones.”
Cuddy’s creative drive led him, in 1998, to launch a solo career in conjunction with Blue Rodeo. With Constellation, he continues to find new ways to balance personal reflection and plainspoken storytelling, remaining both intimate and accessible. The new album also reunites him with his long-time band featuring stalwart Blue Rodeo bassist Bazil Donovan, guitarist Colin Cripps, violinist Anne Lindsay, keyboardist Steve O’Connor and drummer Joel Anderson, all of whom, along with and guest musicians Oh Susanna and Jim Bowskill help make this one of Cuddy’s most musically diverse albums to date.
Indeed, one of the album’s musical highlights is Beggar’s Banquet-influenced “Cold Cold Wind,” a traditional country styled track that ends in a flash and fury.
“By the time I finished the song, I thought you know what, this needs to have some explosive life at the end. And so I just started playing that little lick, and realized we also had two extraordinary guitar players in the room, with Jimmy Bowskill and Colin Cripps, and thought it would be fun to have a guitar gunslinger moment at the end. You need to have a bit of punctuation on the meaning of the song. Plus it was an opportunity for those two guys to inspire each other and play off each other.”
Yet, the top shelf playing never overshadows Cuddy’s writing, and the symbiotic relationship between the two is a further tribute to the distinctive Toronto roots rock sound that Blue Rodeo all but defined. As Cuddy explains, “For me, one of the joys in making a record happens when I get past the point of worrying about all the things I may or may not have done wrong, and I can sit back and really absorb and appreciate what everyone else’s contribution. There were so many moments like that on this record, where parts were laid down that really accentuated the emotional impact of a particular song. You only get that with a certain caliber of musician, and I’m fortunate to have them in both bands I’m in.”
That sense of trust is evident in Cuddy’s audience as well, especially those who have been along for the ride from the beginning. His keen ear for conveying the highs and lows inherent to all long-term relationships has helped listeners grow along with him.
“We’ve all had to deal with our own bumps and bruises and scarring along the way, and part of this new record is facing that reality,” he says. “But in other ways Constellation is a celebration of coming through it all and feeling grateful for these long-term relationships that have sustained us throughout our lives.”
Colin Cripps is a Canadian guitarist and member of Blue Rodeo and the Jim Cuddy Band.
Anne Lindsay has established herself as one of the most engaging and versatile instrumentalists in Canada, adapting her unique violin/fiddle style to the eclectic sounds and musical languages of this country’s rich cultural texture.
TICKETS ON SALE FOR Members JUNE 19 at 10am/ Non-Members JUNE 26 at 10am
General Ticket Price: $75
Member Price: $65
All prices include HST.
Nobody really knows who J.P. Cormier is for sure. That’s to be expected, believe me.
In 1974 he was a five year old boy, discovering an innate talent for playing the guitar, I had a little hand in that, guiding him through the beginning stages. He learned faster than I could teach.
By the mid eighties, not out of his teens, he was a sideman for bands and artists of many different genres in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and all across the deep south. As he travelled and worked he added more and more instruments to his arsenal of capabilities. He became indispensable to the bands he worked for.
In the early Nineties, he became a sideman for one of Canada’s favourite sons, Stompin’ Tom Connors and also became a staple of the recordings at Studio H in Halifax. His work with the CBC there, spanned musical, production and arranging duties.
All this before he was 20.
In the mid nineties he reentered the musical scene of his beloved East Coast and the Island called Cape Breton. He exploded onto the trad music scene there as a fiddler, performing some of the most difficult music ever produced by legends like Winston Fitzgerald and Angus Chisholm with a facility that stunned onlookers. Especially those who knew he wasn’t born there, but born in Ontario to Cape Breton parents. Somehow, some way, his music was the real thing, sounding like he had been steeped continually in a handed-down brew of family tradition from the old country.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
His previous gig was in Nashville playing mandolin and banjo in a grammy nominated bluegrass gospel band and performing on the Opry, and playing television shows with the likes of Waylon Jennings. All those people also thought he was one of them, American, reared in the ways of bluegrass, old time and Americana music. They knew he was from Canada, but it just didn’t seem possible.
Then in 1997, something amazing happened.
An album released in Canada, out of nowhere, called Another Morning. This time it was him as a songwriter and a lead singer.
And what a songwriter he turned out to be. Some of the performances on that album are literally part of the musical vocabulary today in the East Coast. Songs like the title cut, and Kelly’s Mountain, The Molly May (co written with his cousin Gervais) and others. It inspired, 25 years ago, some of the biggest names in the business today. People like Dave Gunning, Matt Andersen, David Myles, Joel Plaskett, all of which will tell you: that record changed things.
The Canadian industry thought so too, and it received a juno nomination and won an ECMA.
And that was just the beginning.
36 years later after stepping on stage as professional union musician for the first time at the tender age of 13, JP is still going, and frighteningly, still getting better.
16 albums followed the success of Another Morning, winning 12 more ECMA’s, another Juno nomination, a Canadian Folk Music Award and 5 Music Nova Scotia Awards. Each album was a snapshot of each thing that he can do. There are fiddle albums, Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar, tribute records, songwriting collections, a purely astounding spectrum of talent and musical vision.
His catalogue of recordings and the 150 or so records he’s produced on other artists, resemble the tapestry he weaves in live performance. Where he used to carry 3 and 4 piece bands, he tours alone now.
Just him and the instruments.
People still leave his shows confused, amazed and wondering what they just saw. Did they see a storyteller? A Songwriter? Arguably one of the best guitar players in the business today? Someone who crosses the lines between different instruments like there are no lines? Who was that masked man, anyway?
Accolades aside, and there are many from people like Chet Atkins, Marty Stuart, Waylon Jennings, Gordon Lightfoot; JP sees himself as just a performer. He’s shy, but has a razor sharp wit and lightning sense of humour. He can be reserved or edgy to the point no return. He speaks for soldiers, first responders, other artists, the forgotten and lost. He speaks sometimes only for himself and refuses rebuttal.
Of all the things he is, foremost he is an entertainer. I think one of the best. After you’ve seen what he does, I’m certain you will too.
*Check back soon for ticket info.*
On tour from Germany, we are thrilled to welcome audience favourites THE AMADEUS DUO back to King’s Theatre!
Dale Kavanagh & Thomas Kirchhoff have been playing together since 1991, and many composers have dedicated works to the duo. They often perform with orchestras and have given more than 1.400 concerts in 70 European Countries, Asia, and North America and South America in the last twenty years. The duo have produced seventeen CDs (NAXOS / Haenssler Classic), and have established one of the largest and most prestigious Guitar Festivals in Europe (the International Guitar Symposium Iserlohn: www.guitarsymposium.com).
Dale Kavanagh, Thomas Kirchhoff and their daughter Melissa Rachel are residents of Iserlohn, Germany. Amadeus Guitar Duo plays exclusively D’Addario Composite strings and guitars by Antonius Muller, Germany and Dennis Tolz, Germany.
The show will include gorgeous peices from Handel to Borodin. Check out the full program:
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
General Ticket Price: $30
Member Price: $26
All prices include HST.
King’s Theatre is thrilled to welcome Yarmouth-born country music artist RYAN COOK back to our stage with his hit show honouring HANK WILLIAMS and the Drifting Cowboys.
Ryan Cook began performing as Hank Williams in 2009 when he performed consecutive sold-out weeks of the Maynard Collins play “The Show He Never Gave” in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada.Having performed at some of the same stages as Hank Williams including the Ryman Auditorium, and Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree in Nashville, TN, Ryan has also studied Hank Williams life through the biographical work of Colin Escott, Sneezy Waters, The Country Music Hall of Fame (TN), Hank Williams Boyhood Home & Museum (AL), and The Hank Williams Museum (Montgomery (AL). Along with band mates the Drifting Cowboys, this two-act feature performance includes 22 songs from the greatest Country Music singer and songwriter of all time. Ryan Cook and company re-animate the sounds of Don Helms haunting steel guitar, Jerry Rivers fiddle arrangements, and the yodelling of the lovesick boy from Georgiana, Luke the Drifter himself: Hank Williams.
“I feel like I’m watching Hank in his prime on a stage that he was no stranger to… I flew to Nova Scotia to experience the magic for myself, and wasn’t disappointed!” – John Walker, Producer –Music City Roots
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
General Ticket Price: $36
Member Price: $32
All prices include HST.
- Samantha Louis-Jean, soprano
- Vincent Lauzer, recorder
- Camille Paquette-Roy, baroque cello
- Mélisande McNabney, harpsichord
King’s Theatre is pleased to once again partner with Debut Atlantic, one of Canada’s most highly esteemed classical music organizations, to bring some of the most dynamic touring musicians to Annapolis Royal.
The Baroque Ensemble Les Songes consists of soprano Samantha Louis‐Jean, recorder player Vincent Lauzer, baroque cellist Camille Paquette‐Roy and harpsichordist Mélisande McNabney. These four dynamic young performers were brought together by friendship and their common passion for the baroque repertoire. In 2015 and 2016, Les Songes were on the road across Canada performing their program Alma Innamorata, with two tours presented by the Jeunesses Musicales Canada.
With this program, they were nominated at the Prix Opus in the Concert of the Year – medieval, Renaissance, baroque music category. Les Songes have performed in the Clavecin en Concert and La Dauphine concert series, at the Bourgie Hall and the Chapelle historique du Bon‐Pasteur, as well as the International Baroque Music Festival in Lamèque. Their concert Agitata was recorded and broadcast by CBC ICI Musique.
Samantha Louis-Jean, soprano
The Canadian and French soprano Samantha Louis‐Jean received her vocal training at the Maîtrise de Radio-France, the University of Montreal, then with Marie Daveluy and Yolande Parent. She made her professional debut singing Euridice (Monteverdi, L’Orfeo) with the Montreal Baroque Festical and Lauretta (Puccini, Gianni Schicchi) with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Since then, she has performed with the Portland Trinity Consort, the Orford Festival, the Ensemble Caprice, the Lamèque International Baroque Festival, Clavecin en Concert, the Ensemble Masques, Les Violons du Roy and the Quebec Opera Festival.
Samantha Louis‐Jean is a winner of the Froville International Baroque Competition, the Prix d’Europe Competition, the Lyndon-Woodside Oratorio Society of New York Competition and the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation. She is a grant recipient of the Conseildes Arts et des Lettres du Québec, the Canada Council of the Arts and the Jeunesses Musicales du Canada.
Vincent Lauzer, Recorder
Révélation Radio‐Canada 2013-‐2014 and Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2012 Opus Awards, recorder player Vincent Lauzer is the artistic director of the Lamèque Internation Baroque Festival in New Brunswick. Winner of several prizes in nation and international competitions, he has recently been awarded the Fernand Lindsay Career Award, a scholarship given to a young promising Canadian musician for the development of an international career.
A versatile performer, he plays with Flûte Alors!, Les Songes, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, La Bande Montréal Baroque, Les Idées Heureuses, Arion Baroque Orchestra and La Cigale. Vincent has also performed for various series and festivals in Canada and the United States, as well as in Mexico, France, Germany, Spain and Belgium.
Mélisande McNabney, harpsichord
A Graduate of McGill University and the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, Mélisande was granted her Master’s degree from the Amsterdam Conservatory in June 2010, where she studied harpsichord, continuo and fortepiano in the classes of Bob van Asperen and Richard Egarr. She is now pursuing her Doctorate degree at McGill University under the guidance of Hank Knox and Tom Beghin, thanks to the support of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program.
Currently based in Montréal, Mélisande is regularly invited to play with ensembles such as Les Violons du Roy, Arion Orchestre Baroque, Les Idées Heureuses, the Theatre of Early Music and Ensembles Caprice. She is also a member of Pallade Musica and ensemble Les Songes, which will be on tour with Jeunesses Musicales Canada in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons. Mélisande has received scholarships from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Banff Centre, the FQRSC and the CALQ.
Camille Paquette-Roy, baroque cello
Having shown an interest and talent for music at a very early age, cellist Camille Paquette-Roy was admitted to the Music Conservatory of Trois‐Rivières in 1999, where she studied under Jean-Christophe Guelpa for ten years. In 2009, she graduated from the conservatory of Trois‐Rivières with a Diplôme d’Études Supérieures. In the same year, she began her Master’s degree at McGill University under Brian Manker, which she completed in 2011.
A versatile artist, Paquette-Roy works frequently with a variety of ensembles, including Les Songes, l’Orchestre Baroque Avion, Caprice Ensemble and Quatuor esca. In addition to her activities in the Classical and baroque realms, Paquette-Roy is an active performer in Montréal’s pop music scene with artists such as Ingrid St-Pierre, Jean Leloup and Half Moon Run.
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
General Ticket Price: $32
Member Price: $28
All prices include HST.
From Winnipeg, Lizzy Hoyt is an award-winning songwriter who delivers music with soaring melodies that are rooted in Celtic and folk traditions. Not only does she have a gorgeous voice, but she’s a master of the fiddle, guitar, and harp… and she step dances too! Her Christmas concert of ancient carols brings a Celtic flavour to the season.
Lizzy Hoyt is one of Canada’s most powerful Celtic-folk artists. Known for bringing Canadian history to life with music, her songs like “Vimy Ridge”, “White Feather”, and “New Lady on the Prairie” have garnered awards and nominations while also connecting strongly with audiences across the country. In 2013, Lizzy was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Governor General of Canada for her outstanding contribution to commemorating Canadian veterans and history through music.
A talented multi-instrumentalist, Lizzy toured for ten years as a side musician before pursuing her own projects. She has been praised for her mastery of the fiddle, guitar and harp by the Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, Penguin Eggs, Bluegrass Unlimited, Star News, and more. CBC’s Chris Della Torre calls her “a musician’s musician” and notes “fans that want their artists to play well can find that with [her]”. In addition to this praise, her voice has been described as “otherworldly”, “angelic”, “sweet”, and “pure” and as a singer, she has been recognized for her clarity and precision.
Lizzy is a full-time musician who travels and tours throughout Canada during the year with her trio. She has performed at renowned folk festivals (Edmonton Folk Festival, Montreal Folk Festival, Goderich Celtic Roots Festivals), folk clubs (Calgary Folk Club, Nickelodeon Folk Club, Northern Lights Folk Club) and through performing arts networks across the country. Throughout her career, she has released four independent albums and two music videos.
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
General Ticket Price: $36
Member Price: $32
All prices include HST.