Carroll Baker will perform her show, Carroll Baker Country Classics, today and Saturday at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside. She performs a limited number of engagements a year, after retiring from her a busy touring schedule in 2011.
When Canadian country music star Carroll Baker steps onto the stage at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside this weekend, she will pay tribute to a favourite P.E.I. singer-songwriter.
And she won’t be alone.
During a segment dedicated to the late great Gene MacLellan P.E.I. performers Jolee Patkai and Tim Archer will join her.
“Jolee is singing Snowbird. Tim is doing The Call and I’m going to sing Biding My Time. Then we’re all going to do Put Your Hand in the Hand together. I think it’s going to be very touching,” says Baker, who is doing the tribute out of the deep respect she has for the man, who died in 1995.
“I have admired Gene MacLellan more than you’ll ever know. He was an incredible writer. Anne Murray did a great job on his songs, there’s no doubt about it. But, I think that his songs are so great that it wouldn’t matter who recorded them. They all would have been hits,” says Baker, recalling a conversation she once had with Jack MacAndrew, MacLellan’s manager.
“He was talking to me about Gene. He was saying how talented and what an amazing guy he was. And I said, ‘I don’t know him.’ And he said, ‘you should get to know him.’ Sadly, I never did. So I hope that while we’re there (in Summerside) he will be listening.”
Patkai, a Music P.E.I. Award nominee, is thrilled with the invitation.
“I’m super excited about it. I first saw Carroll at the Confederation Centre of the Arts when I was 16 year old. And never dreamed I would be singing with her on stage,” she says.
The tribute will be included in Country Classics, the second half of the show, which plays today and Saturday at 7 p.m.
That section will feature cover tunes that Baker sang during her early days.
“I decided to go back to how it was when I first started, when I didn’t have any hit records of my own. So I surfed the Internet to find some of the songs that were country classic that I had covered, over the years. So I picked the ones I thought were the best for me sing,” says Baker, adding the program includes, among others, songs by Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Patsy Cline and Roy Orbison.
“So it’s a mixture of different material that will come out sounding like Carroll Baker,” says the chanteuse during a telephone interview.
The first half of the show will feature Baker’s hits, which include I’ve Never Been This Far Before, The Morning After, Baby Let Me Down, The Hungry Fire of Love, I Can’t Stop Loving You, Why Me, Lord? Just A Closer Walk with Thee, Coat of Many Colours, Please Help Me, I’m Falling and Hooked on a Feeling.
“Those are the songs that everybody truly wants to hear.
“But, after doing the same songs over and over and over, I got tired doing the same (program) all the time. So I said, ‘You know what? If I’m getting tired people are getting a little tired of seeing and hearing the same show. So, I asked, ‘what makes me happy?’”
That’s when she got the idea to do the Country Classics themed show, with a tribute to MacLellan.
“I know that if I do something that makes me feel good and feel happy, it will be contagious and will make other people hopefully feel the same way I do. So it’s going to be a great show.”
Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.
- What: Carroll Baker Country Classics.
- When and where: Harbourfront Theatre, Summerside, May 2-3. Friday night's concert is sold out.
- Special guests: Jolee Patkai and Tim Archer, who are musical friends of Baker's.
- Bio: Baker received Juno award for country female vocalist of year five times in the 1970s. She had her own series on CBC television in the summer of 1983 and frequently appeared on The Tommy Hunter Show. She was also the first Canadian entertainer ever to do a TV special from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. From October 1970 through August 1982, Baker was on the country hit parade for a total of 528 weeks.
- For tickets, contact the box office at 888-2500, toll-free, 1-800-708-6506 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.