“I believe poetry, prayer and song allow us to access the deeper parts of ourselves and take us to a place that is beautiful, lovely and rich,” Jennifer Warnes said in a recent telephone interview from her home in southern California.
“When I sing, I’m not fixated on musical styles, popularity or personal expression. I’m more interested in what the music is causing in the heart of the other person.”
On Sept. 29, High Tide Entertainment will present An Evening with Jennifer Warnes at the Sid Williams Theatre.
The award-winning American singer/songwriter is known for her rich distinctive voice which Leonard Cohen once referred to it as “…like the California weather, filled with sunlight. But there’s an earthquake behind it.”
Many folks are familiar with her interpretations of work by Cohen, James Taylor and Buffy Sainte-Marie, as well as from the soundtracks of An Officer and a Gentleman and Dirty Dancing.
But Warnes isn’t much interested in what’s happened in the past.
“I have no nostalgia and tend not to look back,” she said. “Looking back calcifies life; looking forward energizes it. As for my career, it’s just a job I do every day. It’s like what’s next for breakfast, lunch or dinner? When I’m working it’s like shovelling dirt into a hole. My relationship with the audience is the biggest thing for me.”
What Warnes is interested in is music by other performers. “I like to listen to what’s happening now,” she explained. “I want to know what Bob Dylan and Ry Cooder are doing and enjoy listening to opera singers who have managed to hold onto their voices. And I’m interested in Carminho, a Portuguese fado singer.
“It’s more about the energy behind the song than the notes or meaning,” Warnes added. “If the energy is there, I like it no matter what it is. If the energy is there, everything falls together beautifully.”
Right now Warnes’s energy is focused on the Wrecking Crew, both a movie and book commemorating a group of Los Angeles studio musicians who played background sound for hits by the Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher, the Mamas and Papas and other well-known bands in the 1960s.
“They were playing hits when I started out,” said Warnes. “I revere the colleagues I’ve worked with in all different ways. When you’re sharing your soul with sound, you’re creating a relationship of your most essential selves.”
Warnes also has a new CD in the works and is looking for partners.
“The music industry is in such disarray,” she said. “Things have changed so much. There’s still tons of good music out there and people want to hear it. But in order to make it happen musicians need partners.
“Change happens every 30 to 40 years; that’s normal,” she added. “But right now the music industry is in a state of reconstruction and it will take time to work itself out.
“We need a system that allows great singers and great musicians to create music that touches our hearts and souls — that give us something to feed off and help us in our day-to-day lives.”
Warnes is looking forward to returning to the Comox Valley, which she called “one of the prettiest pockets on the globe. The mountains, water and trees are unbelievably gorgeous. Everyone that lives there is so lucky.”
An Evening with Jennifer Warnes will feature a collection of songs that she enjoys singing and that the band likes playing and that have meaning for these times. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets at $53 and $60 are available through the Sid Williams Theatre.
For more information on Warnes, visit www.jenniferwarnes.com.
Paula Wild is a published author and regular contributor to the Comox Valley Record’s arts and entertainment section.