In its most recent show, the North Island Concert Society featured a Canadian newcomer who showcased the music of his native Cuba.
NICS unveils another group of songmaking immigrants, who will treat guests to the gospel sound of the U.S. South.
The Sojourners, a Vancouver-based trio formed originally as a backup group for blue legend Jim Byrnes, will perform Saturday, backed by their band in the concert society’s annual dinner show at Port Hardy’s Civic Centre. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 6 p.m., with the concert to follow at 7:30 p.m.
The Sojourners sound blends soul, R&B, blues, country and doo-wop. Founding members Dustin Mosely, who originally hails from Texas, and Will Sanders, from Louisiana, both became Canadian citizens in 2008. They are joined by newcomer Khari McClelland, originally from Detroit, Mich., who brings his own Motown influence and a dash of street a cappella and hip-hop to the group.
Relative newcomers to the Canadian recording scene, the Sojourners came together after Byrnes called Mosely to see if he could get a couple other singers together to sing backup on an album he was working on.
Mosely rounded up Sanders and Ron Small for the project, which turned into Byrnes’ 2006 House of Refuge, which went on to win a Juno Award for Best Gospel Album. Byrnes dubbed the trio The Sojourners, and they went on to record their own debut CD, Hold On, in 2007 and followed up with The Sojourners in 2009.
Each of the performers brings his own influences to the act, which features a wide range of styles. Doug Heselgrave, writing a review published on the group’s website, noted the Sojourners “sound just as at home in a road house bar as they do in a revival tent.”
More commonly, the group has been found at most of Canada’s major folk and roots music festivals over the past four years. They have also backed other renown performers like Byrnes and blues songstress Treasa Levasseur.
Somewhat ironically, the newly minted Canadians have also been “discovered” back in their home country.
The song Eyes on the Prize from Hold On was included in Let Freedom Ring, a compilation celebrating the U.S. Civil Rights era. And they also appear on the CD and DVD versions of Things About Comin’ My Way, a tribute to the music of the Mississippi Shieks. The traditional NICS dinner show includes a catered, multi-course dinner from Malone’s Oceanside Bistro, accompanied by music from the North Island Community Band.
Tickets are $45 and seating is limited. For advance tickets, check with The Hobby Nook, Port Hardy Museum and Cafe Guido in Port Hardy, the Flower Shoppe in Port McNeill, or by calling Gail Neely at 250-284-3927.
Additional ticket info is available by calling Kathleen Davidson at 250-949-7676. More info at niconcert.ca.
NICS notes: Adonis Puentes, the transplanted Cuban who performed here in January’s NICS concert, was nominated last week for a Grammy Award for his work as lead vocalist on the album Jose Rizo’s Mongorama, which was nominated for Best Tropical Latin Album. The Grammys will be broadcast on Feb. 12 on CBC.
On Tuesday, David Francey, who kicked off the 2011-12 NICS concert season, earned his fifth Juno nomination. The three-time Juno Award winner was nominated in the Roots and Traditional Album of the Year category for last year’s release, Late Edition.