Special to The Record
April Verch is a fiddler on the move, travelling the globe and continually meeting new people.
When she comes to the Comox Valley to perform May 12 at the Sid Williams Theatre, there’s at least one face she’ll recognize.
MusicFest maestro and dobro pro Doug Cox, who was in a quartet called Strung with Verch almost a decade ago, will produce her next album in Nashville, she said in a recent interview.
Cox, who will be busy with the annual MusicFest volunteers’ appreciation event the same night as Verch is at The Sid, said he hopes to drop by and say hello.
Her next album will follow the 2017 release of the 18-tune April Verch Anthology.
“It was pretty cool,” she recalled. “A part of me dreaded it … looking back and listening to all that stuff because, like a lot of artists sometimes listening to yourself through the years is not the most pleasurable thing. I thought, ‘Is it going to make me cringe?’
“But it wasn’t like that at all. I was surprised to find that it just felt like looking back through an old photo album.
“Every album and specific track reminded me of the people who surrounded me at that time, who was in the band at that time. It was more of a trip down memory lane than anything.”
The Ottawa Valley native said her travel schedule, which included recent dates in the U.S. Northeast, the U.K. and Austria, is both energizing and challenging.
“I find that travelling and getting to a new audience, and sharing music with new people can be invigorating, but the actual travel itself is pretty exhausting. It hasn’t got any easier over the years.”
That would include performing in England just three days after a show in Pennsylvania. The Comox Valley is her second concert back in Canada (after Duncan) before heading to the U.S. again.
“I tend to take things in stride. I think I’ve learned through the years of my career to sort of level out the real highs and the real lows,” which mirrors an old sports adage about not getting too high or too low.
A multiple fiddle competition winner as a girl, Verch evolved over time from high-energy stepdancer to fiddle prodigy and appealing singer. Her music grew to include regional Canadian, American old-time, bluegrass, country and Americana influences.
Was that evolution intentional or organic?
“I guess it’s deliberate in the sense that you have to make up your mind that it’s OK to do that. I was being exposed to stuff and becoming passionate about things that were different than what I grew up with.
“It was a conscious, deliberate decision at some point to say, ‘You know what? It’s OK for me to experiment with that and play that,’ and I’m OK playing what I love rather than what I first knew.”
How does the multi-talented Verch find a healthy balance between playing, singing, dancing and songwriting?
“I think it’s trickiest in the live show, and there was a bit of a learning curve there as I started adding more … knowing how to pace a show so that if you’re going to sing you’re not out of breath from dancing.”
That being said, she’s looking forward to playing at The Sid with Cody Walters (upright electric bass and banjo) and Alex Rubin (guitar and mandolin).
Their setlist will include new music along with a healthy slice of favourites.
For concert details and tickets, visit sidwilliamstheatre.com, phone 250-338-2430 or visit 442 Cliffe Ave.