By Mark Allan
Special to The Record
A recent series of pre-recorded performances by Comox Valley musicians went so well, another has been planned for later this month.
Four acts have been recorded at the Sid Williams Theatre as Songwriters of the Comox Valley. The video of their shows will be streamed June 25 starting at 8 p.m.
One of the performers has earned many awards, solo and as a member of folk-pop duo Big Little Lions with Paul Otten from Ohio. After years of writing songs while busy as a musical stand-up comedian in the U.K., Helen Austin moved to Canada in 2002, jump-starting her musical career. While most of her time is focused on Big Little Lions, she also writes exclusively for Riptide Music Publishers and has had countless placements on TV, ads and film. Her awards include a Juno and John Lennon Songwriting Competition Song of the Year. You can hear her music regularly on CBC.
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Vancouver Island native Alannah Clark isn’t shy when it comes to writing about what truly matters to her. The up-and-coming songstress has been playing music for most of her life, and began performing when she was just 14. In 2019 alone, she performed at many Vancouver Island venues and on surrounding islands (including Cortes and Quadra. Festival bookings included 39 Days of July in Duncan, Nautical Days in Comox, Woodstove Festival in Cumberland and Vancouver Island MusicFest in the Comox Valley. In 2018, she toured the U.K. and Europe with fellow Comox Valley singer-songwriter Joey Clarkson.
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Celtic Thyme, as its name implies, performs traditional Celtic music. Bill MacPherson (lead guitar, mandolin, bodhran, vocals) was born and raised on P.E.I. Self-taught, he’s been playing for more than 50 years since his mom gave him a guitar for Christmas. He got his start in the Maritime tradition known as kitchen parties. Perry Johnson (rhythm guitar, vocals) hails from Newfoundland, where he first heard reels and jigs at a young age in his mother’s kitchen. He’s also a songwriter. B.C. native Heather Sprout (vocals) was a young girl when she first heard her parents and their friends play Irish and Scottish tunes. She also has a long history with kitchen parties.
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Amanda Hicks and Paul Rodgers have been playing music together for the past eight years. They have performed live shows in the Comox Valley, and opened for Canadian country artist George Canyon at the Sid. Since both hail from the Maritimes (P.E.I. and Newfoundland), writing songs together showcases their down-home roots, and East Coast feel. They bring their own sound to everything they play together, adding humour and storytelling to each performance.
Creative BC has joined Comox Valley Arts as a partner to present the streamed June 25 show at 8 p.m., says organizer David Stevenson. Anyone with a ticket may watch the show for 24 hours afterward.
Tickets cost $15 and will be available online at www.sidwilliamstheatre.com beginning June 11.