Fred Eaglesmith coming to Barrhead Sept. 19

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Alternative country artist says he likes coming to small towns to perform because the audiences still come because of the music

You never know what you will see when you go to a Fred Eaglesmith concert.

That is what Eaglesmith told the Barrhead Leader in between shows in Duluth, N.D.

Currently, Eaglesmith and his wife and artistic partner Tif Ginn Elgersma are traveling across North America performing in what is billed as “Fred Eaglesmith Travelling Steam” show.

On Sept. 19, the couple along with their band will be at the Barrhead Legion and the tickets are $30 in advance, or $35 at the door and are available online at www.fredeaglesmith.com, or at the Barrhead Legion.

“I never put on the same show, it is always different and I really don’t know what I will do unitl I walk onto that stage or room and see how the audience is feeling,” he said.

Regardless of the audience, every Eaglesmith concert has some commonalities — first being there will be lots of original music, mostly penned by Eaglesmith. The other is that there will be a lot of humour.

“I like to say my typical concert is a mixture of Johnny Carson and the Rolling Stones in that they will hear a lot of beautiful music and a lot of stories and jokes,” he said.

Eaglesmith, whose legal name is Frederick John Elgersma was born July 9, 1957, and grew up as part of a large farming family in southern Ontario.

“Dairy mostly, but we, like most other farms, did a lot of other things to survive,” he said.

Eaglesmith added growing up he and his siblings were always surrounded by music.

“My father was a great singer and there was always music in our family, but most of it was gospel music,” he said, adding while he enjoyed the music it really did not call out to him.

However, he said that all changed when he was about 10 or 12 years old when he first discovered rock and roll music and he was especially taken by a young Elvis Presley, who he first saw on TV performing in a concert in Hawaii after coming in from working outside in the cold.

“I thought Elvis wrote his own songs, so when I decided that [performing]was what I was going to do with the rest of my life, I stopped doing all of my school work and redirected my energy to writing my own songs,” Eaglesmith said, adding on average he wrote two or three songs a day. “By the time I was in my mid-twenties I finally wrote a good one and I started playing coffee houses and open stages. It was a long process, but eventually, people started hiring me and I started touring on a regular basis.”

Eaglesmith said another turning point in his career is when he left home and hitchhiked across the country, performing in everything from lumber camps to youth hostels.

“It was an experience and I developed my performing chops from that,” he said.

Another turning point in Eaglesmith’s career was when he met Tiff Ginn touring in the southern United States about eight years ago.

“The van she and her sister had broken down and I pulled over and helped them get it going and it wasn’t too long after that we got together,” Eaglesmith said, adding meeting Tiff Ginn not only added a great deal to his personal life, but his career.

“She’s a much better musician than I am. She plays eight instruments and makes me sound and look a lot better.”

As for why Eaglesmith is coming to Barrhead, he said he is at the point where he no longer has to perform every day, and as a result, purposely looks for smaller venues.

“Now don’t get me wrong, we still play the bigger venues, but we love playing in little towns because they appreciate us coming. Places where people still come just to listen to the music and where it will benefit the hall as well as us,” Eaglesmith said.

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