PORT HARDY—The North Island Concert Society resumes its 2012-13 season this weekend with the yodelling and old-school campfire country of Woody Holler and his Orchestra.
But this isn’t your grandfather’s cowboy crooner.
Woody Holler is the prairie pseudonym of Darryl Brunger, a classically trained singer who also performs with the Manitoba Opera chorus and with Winnipeg’s Little Opera Company.
Absolutely, there will be yodelling when Saturday’s show kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Centre. But fans of jazz swing, folk and vocal performance should all have something to cheer about when this highly skilled quartet takes the stage.
Holler’s honey-smooth vocals earned the group’s debut album, 2010’s Western Skies, a Canadian Folk Music Awards nomination for Traditional Vocalist of the Year.
And, like “Woody”, each member of his aptly named orchestra is a professionally trained musician who performs in other bands or in other projects, across a range of music styles.
Violinist Richard Moody is a classically trained veteran who has played everything from chamber orchestra to folk-rock to jazz, including work with The Bills, a previous NICS headliner.
Guitarist Greg Lowe is a composer for theatre, radio and television who instructs in jazz guitar and bass and who has played with a wide range of groups.
Upright bassist Daniel Koulack is actually a multi-instrumentalist who has released two albums of instrumental music and who may be most recognized for his work with a variety of bands performing the wild, up-tempo Klezmer style.
Together, they perform traditional country swing and cowboy songs in impeccable style, with plenty of surprises in their saddlebags courtesy of the performers’ improvisational chops. In one notable performance from the group’s tour bus, recorded by Lowe and uploaded to YouTube, Holler — while driving the bus — breaks into an operatic aria as Moody joins in on violin without skipping a beat.
In short, Saturday’s show is fit for fans of old-timey country, country swing, jazz and more. And as an added bonus for those with a sweet tooth, the show serves as the concert society’s annual Decadent Desserts night, with a variety of delectable delights available for an additional $5 ticket at the door.
Tickets for Woody Holler and his Orchestra are $25 and are available in advance at Cafe Guido, Port Hardy Museum and For Scrap Sake in Port Hardy, at The Flower Shoppe in Port McNeill, and in Port Alice by calling Gail Neely at 250-284-3927.
For more info, visit www.niconcert.ca.