Valdy - Canada's Troubadour - A Review
A Canadian Treasure
A review by Rosemary Phillips, June 1998 and still relevant in 2013 - he's just an amazing guy!
Valdy stood perched on a table balancing his in-a-jiffy lighting
system. “This is a great hall,” he said. “We didn’t
know what to expect, but for a box it’s really good. The drapery
around the walls really helps the sound.”
The box he spoke of was Nanoose Place where Valdy performed on June
13 for the launching of fund-raising to buy lights and staging equipment.
“Next time I come, you’ll have your own lights,”
Valdy is ‘on’ the moment he walks through the
door to set up
Most performers are ‘on’ when they leave the wings
and walk out to the spotlight at center stage. Valdy is ‘on’
the moment he walks through the door to set up. He carries in his
own gear and prepares the stage, all the while talking with organisers,
volunteers, and anybody who wanders up to say hello. He mingles
with the audience, particularly at intermission and after the show,
listens to people, and shares stories. He’s that kind of guy.
Valdy is personable, likeable, a terrific entertainer, and real.
Valdy is genuine
You get that feeling while he’s on the stage too. His genuine
warmth and good humor shine through. Said one lady from across the
table, “It’s like he’s right in our own living
room.” He shares his own life in his anecdotes, throws a few
politically correct quips and jokes, and charms the listener with
his rich, smooth singing voice.
Valdy had just flown in from Ottawa (his hometown) and stopped in
at Nanoose en route to Saltspring where he now lives. Just before
the show began he ducked into the makeshift dressing room and dug
out an outfit for the evening - it included his trade-mark sneakers
- this time bright red.
The audience sat around candle-lit tables, sipped on coffee, tea,
beer or wine, ate dessert and listened. “If you know a song
just sing along,” suggested Valdy. “If you don’t
know the words wait for a chorus or two then jump in when you do.”
Jim Salmon (a.k.a Fish) percussionist extraordinaire
Sidekick percussionist Jim Salmon (a.k.a. Fish) added full rhythm
to Valdy’s voice and guitar with congas and variety of percussion
instruments. Salmon not only plays rhythm, he is rhythm. Salmon
and Valdy work together as though they had been doing it for years,
presenting an outstanding polished, and yet seemingly effortless
performance. And they enjoyed every minute, as they smiled from
ear to ear.
“We had a great time,” said Salmon after the show.
Valdy sings favorites
The pair opened with “Magdalene”, a Spanish number
with great foot-tapping rhythm, then slid through to “Yes
I can”, a favorite of any Valdy fan. At that point, Salmon
dances around Valdy while playing his specialty three-in-one instrument,
the Jestick, which he invented and which is now played by most major
bands around the world, including the Rolling Stones.
It wasn’t long before the audience was singing along as Valdy
led them through his hits of the 70s to the 90s. “Love is
the key to everything,” he commented when beginning his most
recent big hit “Link in a Chain” from his album “Heart
at Work”. Then the audience was invited to sing a key line
in a song he wrote especially for the benefit concert in Ottawa
this spring to raise funds for the victims of the ice storms. On
cue everyone sang, “hard rain.”
Valdy wove his tales through soft gentle ballads with the emotions
of caring, love and family right through to the comedy of the realities
of bureaucracy and border crossings. “Scruffy Dudes”,
a story about Waylon and Willie being turned away from a Vancouver
golf course, drew hearty laughter, as did “Get a Haircut Dad”,
a song about teenagers and their ex-hippie parents. At the end of
the evening, everyone in the hall was standing, cheering, whistling
and begging for more - which he gave.
Valdy is a Canadian treasure
Valdy is a Canadian treasure who travels from East Coast to West
Coast bringing his energy and music to the fine print on the map
of this great country. He is as at home in a hall like Nanoose Place
singing to a few hundred as he is at Moby’s Pub on Saltspring,
or in a stadium in the country’s capital city singing to a
crowd of 12,000.
As a true troubadour and supporter of performing arts Valdy gave
Nanoose a real boost Saturday night. Nanoose Place is now on its
way to buying lights for the stage in preparation for future performances
by local and out-of-town artists and a hoped-for return visit of
For more information visit Valdy's
site and for bookings go to JMA Talent.
For information on Jim Salmon visit Jestick.
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