Tim Williams regales the audience with a story between songs during Saturday's North Island Concert Society event at Port Hardy Civic Centre.

Williams plays the blues with a smile

PORT HARDY - North Island Concert Society wraps up successful season; announces opening act of 2011-12 schedule

PORT HARDY — For a guy singing the blues, Tim Williams seems to have a lot of fun on stage.

Maybe he was just picking up on the vibe as the newly solvent North Island Concert Society closed out its 2010-11 season with a rollicking show by the Calgary-based Williams Saturday at Port Hardy Civic Centre.

A year ago, the society announced at its season-ending show that its future was in doubt due to a lack of funding and drop in season-ticket holders. Last weekend, however, announcer Shawn Gough said the society is already at work on next season and will kick it off with three-time Juno winner David Francey.

That drew a hearty round of applause, but it paled in comparison to the crowd’s response to Williams, a veteran stage performer who took listeners on a musical and storytelling tour that ranged from a front porch in the Mississippi Delta to the rail of a B.C. rodeo arena.

Displaying a deft touch on guitar, mandolin and dobro, Williams resurrects the early 20th Century sounds of such diverse artists as Blind Willie Johnson, Muddy Waters, Felipe Valdez Leal and Hank Williams.

A master of the bottleneck slide technique, Williams wrings a wall of sound from his resonator guitar, or dobro, by combining an open bass string with chording, finger-picking and bottleneck. Some of the best examples came on his traditional instrumental arrangement of Poor Boy, which was used for several years as the theme for CBC’s Almanac program, and on Waters’ Can’t Be Satisfied.

He switched to the mandolin for a rollicking take of Statesboro Blues and the upbeat version of the Mississippi Shieks’ 1930 recording Sittin’ on Top of the World.

Williams immersed himself in traditional blues and country songcraft at an early age, and he remains true to that tradition in his own songwriting. The Fool You Always Knew is a classic piece of down-and-dirty Chicago blues, while Dixie Reverie is a Beale Street romp through the Deep South featuring the line, “I woke up this mornin’ with a headful of down-home blues.”

As much a teacher as a student, Williams entertained the crowd between songs with histories of subjects ranging from the blues to the guitar’s introduction in Hawaii to the evolution of African ancestor worship into Louisiana Hoodoo, to rodeo in Western Canada.

His introduction to My Heart Can’t Take Another Rodeo was longer than the song, which has been covered by Valdy, and showcased Williams as cowboy poet.

The show was opened by the promising young local duo of Richelle Andre and Matthew Benedict, who played a short set of self-written folk-roots songs accompanied by acoustic guitars.

Claimer and the bluesy Fountain of Love were written by Andre and featured her unique vocal style, which is simultaneously urgent and vulnerable. Benedict provided the poignant Rocks along with Brother, on which Andre provided percussion with an egg shaker and foot tambourine.

The two were at their best when trading both vocal harmonies and guitar licks, particularly their guitar counter-solos on Fountain of Love.

The night was a fitting way for the concert society to wrap up one season — and to kick off its next.

 

Just Posted

Distracted Driver crashes into ditch along Byng Road

Port Hardy public works department confirms the incident was caused by distracted driving.

Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign needs volunteers in Port Hardy

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign is starting up on Nov. 29… Continue reading

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

UPDATE: North Island highway crash resulting in serious injuries still under investigation

The two drivers were seriously injured and sent to a hospital in Victoria.

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas votes in favour of eliminating overtime pay for confidential secretary

“I think when staff makes a recommendation I have to support staff’s recommendation.”

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

B.C. police watchdog calls for investigation into police board spending on former Victoria police chief

Police Complaint Commissioner says accountable and transparent review is in public interest

South Korean named Interpol president in blow to Russia

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president edging out a longtime veteran of Russia’s security services.

E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Trump defies calls to punish crown prince for writer’s death

The U.S. earlier sanctioned 17 Saudi officials suspected of being responsible for or complicit in the Oct. 2 killing, but members of Congress have called for harsher actions, including cancelling arms sales.

British, EU leaders to meet as Brexit deadline looms

The U.K. and the European Union agreed last week on a 585-page document sealing the terms of Britain’s departure.

Richard Oland was killed ‘in a rage,’ prosecutor tells son’s murder trial

The verdict from Oland’s 2015 murder trial was set aside on appeal in 2016. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

B.C.’s HMCS Edmonton rescues two more sea turtles

Warship credited with a turtle rescue earlier in November

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Most Read