Juno Award-winning folk music veteran James Keelaghan kicks off the North Island Concert Society's 15th season with a concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Centre.

Juno Award-winning folk music veteran James Keelaghan kicks off the North Island Concert Society's 15th season with a concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Centre.

NICS celebrates 25 years of Keelaghan

NICS will kick off its 15th season Saturday at the Civic Centre by hosting Juno Award-winning Canadian folk legend James Keelaghan.

PORT HARDY—The North Island Concert Society has settled into something of a pattern for its season-opening act the past few seasons.

NICS will kick off its 15th season Saturday at the Civic Centre by hosting Juno Award-winning Canadian folk legend James Keelaghan in the westernmost stop on his 25th Anniversary Tour.

If that sounds vaguely familiar, it is no accident.

Two years ago, Juno-winning Canadian folk icon Murray McLaughlin appeared in the NICS kickoff event as part of Lunch at Allen’s, a latter-day Canadian folk-pop “super group.” Last year, the 14th season began with Juno-winning folk singer-songwriter David Francey, who is well on his way to Canadian icon status despite not beginning his music career in earnest until his mid-40s.

“It just kind of happened that way,” said Brian Hicks, NICS president. “But I’m trying really hard to get as many Juno winners to Port Hardy as I can.”

Further closing the circle, Keelaghan collaborated with Francey, among others, on his most recent CD, 2009’s House of Cards.

Like the best folk singer-songwriters, Keelaghan mines the range of the human condition in intelligent yet accessible lyrics. In particular, he has carved out something of a niche with his powerful historical songs, drawing on his degree in history, a voracious appetite for non-fiction books and his own curiosity and life experiences for source material.

And Keelaghan doesn’t shy away from the darker or tragic sides of mankind’s struggle. Two of his best-known works, both based on historical records, are Cold Missouri Waters, about the doomed firefighting crew from Montana’s Mann Gulch fire in 1949, and Kiri’s Piano, a haunting tale of a woman faced with a heart-wrenching choice when her family is caught up in the Japanese internment-camp roundups during World War II.

The latter comes from his Juno-winning 1993 album My Skies, and is sure to be a part of both Saturday’s show and a prospective greatest hits recording to commemorating his 25 years as a Canadian troubadour.

That historical bent made Keelaghan a natural to perform Gordon Lightfoot’s Canadian Railroad Trilogy, a song commissioned by the CBC to celebrate the nation’s centennial in 1967, on Beautiful, the 2003 Lightfoot tribute album that also included a contribution from McLaughlin.

Other Keelaghan hits include Hillcrest Mine and Fires of Calais, songs delivered in a rich baritone that blends impeccably with melodies often lush and textured with the aid of backing bandmates. He is scheduled to play Saturday with a pair of sidemen on bass and mandolin.

The Port Hardy stop is Keelaghan’s second on his B.C. tour, most of them in smaller communities, and it comes on the heels of a swing through the eastern United States.

Saturday’s show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available in advance at Cafe Guido, For Scrap Sake and Port Hardy Museum in Port Hardy, at The Flower Shoppe in Port McNeill, and in Port Alice by calling Gail Neely at 250-284-3927.

More info is available on the concert society’s website at www.niconcert.net.

 

Just Posted

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Blueprints for the seniors housing project in Port Hardy. (North Island Seniors Housing Foundation photo)
BC Housing declines North Island Seniors Housing Foundation’s proposal to build units

BC Housing will be explaining why exactly the project was declined at a June 18 meeting

An aerial view of the marine oil-spill near Bligh Island in Nootka sound that the Canadian Coast Guard posted in a live social media feed in December. ( Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Oil from vessel that sank in 1968 off Vancouver Island to be removed

DFO hires Florida firm to carefully remove oil from MV Schiedyk in Nootka Sound starting in mid-June

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read