A storied life

Sally Cole
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Singer-songwriter Matt Minglewood will bring his Songs & Stories shows to P.E.I. next week. He will perform at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Harmony House Theatre in Hunter River on Sept. 15 at 8 p.m.

East Coast musician Matt Minglewood is a master storyteller.

And he’s looking forward to plying his craft during two Songs & Stories concerts on P.E.I. this month.

“I’ve got a lot of stories, you know ... and a well-storied life,” says the singer-songwriter during a recent interview from his home in Glace Bay, Cape Breton.

In fact, his stories have become so popular that he tries to weaves in as many as possible.

“Many people who have seen my show often comment on the stories as much as the songs,” says Minglewood, who will perform at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and at Harmony House Theatre in Hunter River on Sept. 15 at 8 p.m.

His all-time favourite yarn is how he came to write the song, Dorchester.

“Over the years, I have played at prisons all over the country. Once I played Dorchester when it was a maximum-security penitentiary. It was a moving experience.

“After that gig, the band would be playing all over the country and women would come up to us and say, ‘You played for my old man in the joint. Thanks, man.’ Often, the women didn’t look any happier than the guys inside. So I wrote the song Dorchester about a woman who fell in love with a career criminal and the dual prison she was in (at home),” he says.

Shortly after recording the song, it became a hit.

“That was especially true in Dorchester. When I went back and played the song at the penitentiary, of course, a lot of the guys I had played for years earlier were still in there. Many of them thought I had written the song especially for them ... I really didn’t have the nerve to tell them that I had written it about their girlfriends,” says Minglewood of one of the songs on his CD, The Story, which will be showcased during the show.

Other times his stories are somewhat autobiographical as in Me and the Boys, a song about the carefree days of his youth.

Still others show his social conscience, as in Long Way From Texas.

And sometimes his stories have nothing to do with the songs at all. Instead, they’re tales that help to introduce the next musical number.

“I like to do songs that I like, something that means something to me, like a Rita MacNeil song. They don’t necessarily have to be my songs,” he says

No stranger to Island audiences, Minglewood is looking forward to the shows.

“I love P.E.I. I have friends from my years of playing the (now defunct) Showboat in Charlottetown and the Iceland Arena in Montague. Then when I did Canada Rocks, I got to new meet new people. So I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again,” says the music man who performed in Canada Rocks: The Hits Musical Revue, as well as Canada Rocks Christmas.

Because he knows Island audiences, Minglewood predicts a fun night.

“We’ll be doing songs from the Minglewood band history in an acoustic setting. During each show I plan to go back and forth with different instruments — playing a few songs on guitar, two or three on piano, then back to guitar then to electric slide, on low volume,” he says.

Sally Cole is a features writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at scole@theguardian.pe.ca or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.

Organizations: Harmony House Theatre, The Story, The Guardian

Geographic location: Dorchester, East Coast, P.E.I. Glace Bay Georgetown Hunter River Iceland Charlottetown Montague

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