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

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation takes the next step towards getting Trustee Road land

Seniors rejoice, Port Hardy council is very much in favour of helping… Continue reading

Port Hardy Volleyball club requests funding from Port Hardy council

The sport of Volleyball is alive and well in the North Island,… Continue reading

Should aquaculture programs be offered at North Island College in Port Hardy?

“I think it would be very timely to have an aquaculture program”

Island Health issues press release regarding Port Alice Health Centre service changes

Island Health will be hosting a community meeting in Port Alice Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in the rec centre.

Vancouver Island Regional Library wants to team up with the Town of Port McNeill to build a new multi-use facility

“A new library for the town, as you know, will quickly become an exciting hub of literacy”

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Flying squirrels found to glow pink in the dark, including two from B.C.

Squirrels from Hope and Abbotsford were included in the biologists’ database

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

Most Read