Canadian folk icon Valdy is getting excited to play his first show ever at the Charlie White Theatre, and he’s got the new shoes to prove it.
“I have new shoes,” he says, laughing, as he talks about his first solo show of the year. “I always play in red shoes for some reason.”
A lifelong musician with a penchant for jazz chords, his passion shines through as he talks about the musicians he’s played with, “cutting his teeth” on Henry Mancini and the progress of his singing voice over the years.
But despite his 44 years of stage experience, Valdy is quick to downplay his own gifts.
“For this show I’m playing acoustic guitar,” he says, “and I’m learning how to play it. After all these years, there’s still so much to learn.”
His 14 albums have sold nearly half a million copies and four have been certified gold. He has also won two Junos, for Folk Singer of the Year and Folk Entertainer of the year, with seven additional nominations. And in 2011, the musician was appointed a member of the Order of Canada.
He’s also unfailingly modest.
“I think I’ve been moderately successful,” he says, adding, “I’m still doing it.”
At 69, Valdy is still performing in about 200 shows a year, from coast to coast across Canada, up into the arctic, down through the United States all the way to Texas and even plays in New Zealand regularly.
It’s safe to say his success has been more than “moderate.”
The show at the Charlie White Theatre will be a blend of the old favourites and new material over two sets.
“It’s a bit of a musical potpourri,” he says.
Famous for the hit Play Me a Rock ‘n Roll Song, his recent albums include Contenders, a collaboration with friend and fellow singer/songwriter Gary Fjellgaard, and his solo release, Viva Valdy: Live at Last.
He has been on the touring circuit since 1971 and in and around Sidney for even longer, but he never managed to get into the Charlie White.
“I’m looking forward to this, the sound is going to be so lovely,” he said of the 300-seat theatre. “One of the tech guys gave me a tour and I fell in love with it.”
After thousands upon thousands of shows, it’s still the feedback from the live audience that he really loves, and he’s particularly looking forward to the intimate nature of the Charlie White.
“The big ticket for me is just seeing a bunch of smiles in the audience. When the room warms up, everybody gets to feel that buzz, and that to me is a successful show.”
Tickets are $25 plus tax, and are available at marywinspearcentre.ca or by calling the box office at 250-656-0275.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6 at the Charlie White Theatre at the Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave. in Sidney.
For more information on the artist, visit valdy.com.