Keeping with the classics

Sally Cole
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George Canyon to celebrate golden oldies during his shows at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on April 10 and 11

George Canyon is excited about bringing his show to the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on April 10 and 11. The concert is in support of his Classics II album. Tickets are available by calling 652-2053.

In 2007, George Canyon recorded a musical tribute to the traditional country artists and songs that inspired him as a child.

Entitled Classics, it included songs like Ring of Fire and quickly became a hit, certifying gold in 2011.

In fact, it was so popular that the Nova Scotia singer-songwriter headed back into the studio to record another, Classics II, released this past November.

Now it looks like Canyon’s newly minted album might be headed in the same direction.

“The response to Classics II has been terrific. I’ve sold lots of copies already across Canada,” says Canyon, who will bring his Classics II Tour to the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown for two concerts, April 10 and 11.

The new 15-track album includes Rhinestone Cowboy, a song made hugely popular by Glen Campbell, and Pancho and Lefty, covered by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.

For him, what makes the CD special is the way it conjures up memories for audience members.

“The big thing for me is that when I sing a song, people see a mini movie in their head. So these songs bring back all their wonderful memories.

“That’s the story that I heard when we toured out west before Christmas. (After every concert) people were coming up to me and saying, ‘Oh my gosh. I remember when ....,’ “ says Canyon, adding that singing them often triggers recollections of his own.

“Rhinestone Cowboy reminds me of every time I play the Grand Ole Opry — all the rhinestone suits everywhere when I am back stage,” he says.

Another thing that makes the CD special is the way these old songs touch the heart.

“For me, that’s what music should be about — emotion,” says Canyon, adding that other favourite tracks include Tight Fittin’ Jeans, Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain, Mama Tried, King of the Road, Jambalya (On the Bayou), I’m a One Woman Man, Today I Started Loving You Again, Devil Woman, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, She’s Gone, Gone, Gone, Together Again and Green, Green Grass of Home.

Because these songs span several generations, the music appeals to all ages.

“We have five-year-olds and 95-year-olds coming to the shows and knowing the songs. It’s freaky for me to see the kids singing Rhinestone Cowboy,” says Canyon, with a laugh.

One song he’s especially proud of is Pancho and Lefty, a song made popular by Nelson and Haggard.

“(Fellow musician) Dave Gunning and I used to sing that together all the time in pubs. But, this time, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo sings on the recording with me. He does such a great job. We were really, really honoured that he agreed to do it,” says Canyon, adding he is looking forward to sharing these and other songs during his Georgetown concerts.

“Coming back to the Island to play is something that is special for me. Because I was born and raised in Pictou County and the Island was just across the puddle, I always considered P.E.I. home. “

In particular, Canyon is pleased to be returning to Georgetown.

“Georgetown for me is a very special place. I remember the first time I played in the (Kings Playhouse) theatre. I told them that it was pretty nice that they named the town after me. So maybe I should come back more. Since then, it’s been a big joke (with us).”

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 or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.

Organizations: Grand Ole Opry, The Guardian

Geographic location: Georgetown, Nova Scotia, Canada Glen Campbell Green Grass Pictou County P.E.I.

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