Chris Coole

Folk icon wows North Island fans

PORT HARDY-Multiple JUNO winner David Francey kicks off North Island Concert Society season series

PORT HARDY — First and foremost, David Francey is a consummate storyteller. He just happens to have an uncanny ability to set those stories to memorable and accessible melody and deliver them in a voice as warm and comfortable as a favourite old sweater.

Folk music fans on the North Island Saturday were treated for the first time to Francey’s aural alchemy Saturday as the North Island Concert Society kicked off its 14th season at the Civic Centre.

Francey, who was backed by Mark Westburg on guitar and by Chris Coole on banjo and guitar, has toured throughout North America and Europe in the nine years since walking away from a career in carpentry to take up music full-time. But, while the three-time JUNO Award-winner has previously played on Vancouver Island, this was his first trip to Port Hardy.

“I’ve never been this far up the Island. The GPS said, ‘Here there be dragons,'” Francey joked before launching into an a cappella version of Borderlands, one of two vocal-only pieces he shared with an audience of more than 200 appreciative fans.

The vocal pieces were fitting, as Francey does his songwriting without an accompanying instrument. On the other hand, the sublime fretwork and picking of Westburg and Coole created a perfect counterpoint to his Scots-accented vocal on a range of songs from his nine-album catalogue.

Much like his recordings, a Francey concert is a no-frills exercise in music. Without the benefit of an instrument to lean on — or hide behind — Francey stands alone at a microphone, hands in his pockets or folded behind his back as he delivers tales of love, loss, travel, working-class life and, especially, reflections on the news.

The trio is currently touring in support of his latest release, Late Edition, which came out in April. Port Hardy was the 35th stop out of 50 schedule on what his playing companions jokingly refer to as the “Tour de Francey”.

Each song is introduced by a story, which may or may not directly describe the tune in question. Francey began his introduction to Grateful, one of several songs from Late Edition, by describing it as a love song for his wife Beth. But by the time he wrapped up the intro and Westberg plucked out the opening notes on his guitar, Francey’s tale had veered from Beth’s formidable gardening skills to the hand-digging of a koi pond to trapping a feral cat in his barn — followed by a sales pitch to the audience for a great deal on a slightly used, ill-tempered cat.

At no time did the crowd grow restless, however, and it coaxed a pair of encore tunes from the trio before Francey and his mates retired to sign CDs and chat with the patrons on their way out into the rain.

The NICS will take a break through the holidays before returning with the second event in its five-concert, 2011-12 series Jan. 14, featuring the Afro-Cuban and latin rhythms of Adonis Puentes and his band.

 

More information on the society is available at niconcert.ca; for music and info on David Francey, visit www.davidfrancey.com.

 

 

Just Posted

Port Hardy Fire Rescue gains eight new recruits

Port Hardy Fire Rescue is still accepting applications for more personnel to join the team.

Port Alice loses four volunteer fire fighters

The village has only nine active members left.

Mayweather vs. McGregor

Like most people, I ordered the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor boxing pay per view.

7 Mile Landfill Sundays not profitable

RDMW to reconsider September Sunday hours

Cottonwood tree causes North Island power outage

BC Hydro’s local crew responded to the outage immediately with a ground patrol to identify the outage

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Tyson’s Thoughts: Seven Hills Memories

To this day, I still smash my driver like it’s a baseball bat to show that I can outdrive my brother.

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Most Read