It takes two

Sally Cole
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P.E.I. performers, Matt "Nudie" Putnam and Meaghan Blanchard are recognized for their individual talents.

Putnam is front man for Nudie and the Turks, the neo honkey-tonk band that formed in 2005, took its music to the streets and was rewarded with an ECMA showcase three months later.

Since then the band, which also includes Gordie MacKeeman, Thomas Webb and Dean Dunsford, has recorded two albums and toured the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario numerous times, performing at theatres, festivals and clubs.

Blanchard is a solo performer riding the wave of success. Her latest album, Chasin' Lonely Again, won country recording of the year during the 2011 East Coast Music Awards.

She performed for William and Kate during their Royal Visit to P.E.I. in 2011, played 47 shows in 15 days at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 and toured in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario as well as the Maritimes. Most recently, she played the Mariposa Folk Festival and appeared in her first television special, The Songs of Gene MacLellan.

Now, the two singer-songwriters are teaming up for a special concert, Country Duets, on July 23 at Victoria Playhouse 7:30 p.m., part of the theatre's annual summer concert series.

"It's our maiden performance, and we're excited it about it," says Putnam, adding the show will consist of two sets, with each performer showcasing his or her own material.

"Meaghan will join me at the end of my set. And I will join Meaghan at the end of hers," says Putnam, adding the duo will sing duets made popular by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagner, George Jones and Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn and Ernest Tubb.

Blanchard is looking forward to it.

"We both have a love for that kind of music. It also feels natural. We know there are many people around P.E.I. who love old country music. I know my family grew up listening to it, and they'll be there," she says.

The two got a taste of singing together last year, when they performed a song by the Everly Brothers during After Dark, the Friday night concert series at The Guild, says Putnam.

"We were there to perform and thought, 'why not learn a tune together?' So we're taking it a little bit further this time," he says.

The project is striking a chord with Putnam's agent.

David Malahoff says it's a great pairing.

"With Nudie and Meaghan, you have two talented songwriters. Both are personable and have a sense of humour. Both are showing the courage to do interpretations of classic duet songs in a fresh way. They complement each other so well that the music they'll make together can't help but be natural and memorable," says Malahoff of Campbell Webster Entertainment.

Putnam can't wait for the show to begin.

"It's going to be a treat, especially in that beautiful theatre, Victoria Playhouse," he says.

Sally Cole, a Guardian features writer, welcomes comments as well as columns ideas at 629-6000, ext. 6054 or


Organizations: Royal Visit, Everly Brothers, The Guild

Geographic location: P.E.I., Ontario, Quebec Vancouver Alberta Manitoba Country Duets

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