Gurr opens for Byrnes on Feb. 5

Brentwood Bay native Babe Gurr will be making her way to Sidney in early February.

Brentwood Bay native Babe Gurr opens for Jim Byrnes on Feb. 5 at the Mary Winspear Centre.

Brentwood Bay native Babe Gurr will be making her way to Sidney in early February as the guest performer opening for Canadian blues man Jim Byrnes.

Living these days in Vancouver, Gurr spent her high school years on the Island, but moved all over the place as her father was in the Air Force until she was 12. She still considers the Saanich Peninsula her hometown even though she hasn’t lived here for many years.

She met Byrnes years ago when he had his own television show in the late ‘90s. Gurr was a guest on the show. The two were also at the same Canada Day celebration and met again later at a singer/songwriter mini tour.

“So we’ve done quite a few gigs with each other on and off over the years,” she told the PNR.

Gurr will be at the Charlie White theatre with a three piece, stripped-down band — Adam Popowitz on guitar and Steve Hilliam on sax. The group will be pulling songs from the various CDs Gurr has put out over the years, which she says is a blend of roots blues and world beat.

Gurr said she began playing guitar when she was sent off for some classical guitar lessons at 12. She said she learned from a man who used to live down the road.

“But it wasn’t really my thing, classical guitar. I’m really glad I got some training because it really did help with the finger picking techniques but my heart was really in rock and roll.”

After quitting the lessons, she fumbled her way through until she was around 25 and got into her first band, a jazz pop ensemble. From there, she got into bands playing Top 40, funk and jazz, but didn’t start writing her own material until she was in college.

Her more recent album Hearts Up To The Sun was released in 2014 which she said is a concise version of the title of the tune that inspired it: Throw Our Hearts Up To The Sun.

“It was inspired by just spending one too many rainy winters in Vancouver; rainy, rainy, rainy, grey winter and thinking “I need some sunlight, I need to get me some sunlight,” she said with a laugh.

She then travelled down to California and New Mexico, where the album cover image was taken.

Gurr said the album is a little bit deceiving as the title sounds like it’s going to be all upbeat tunes, but that’s not the case.

She said it’s a combination of world beat music with commentary on politicians, people in mid-life crisis and, yes, even about being in the sunshine.

“It’s a wide swath. I’m always inspired by so many various things that I either hear, see or experience myself.”

Gurr recently performed at the Deep Cove Shaw Theatre in Vancouver with a seven piece band, which she said was a lot of fun. She is now gearing up for some more recording and will be doing some more writing and will see where it goes from there.

Gurr performs Feb. 5 at the Mary Winspear Centre. Tickets can still be purchased by calling the box office at 250-656-0275.

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