March 29 , 2007

Family of Troubadours Coming to Galiano
By Tim Harvey

There's no finer vintage of Canadian folk than what Andy Vine and his musical family will be decanting upon the Grand Central Emporium on Saturday, April 7th. One of Canada's best-loved songwriters, folk balladeer Andy Vine will treat Galiano Islanders to masterful guitar overlaid by a rich and emotive baritone voice, accompanied by his French-Canadian wife Danielle Arcand on vocals and percussion. They will be joined by the next generation of Vine virtuosos, sons Elgin and Simon, in what will be an evening for all ages to enjoy. Andy, whose songs have been played by Gordon Lightfoot and published in The Great Canadian Songbook, will thrill us with maritime folk, old-time rock and Celtic songs, and sons Simon and Elgin will rock the house with the cohesion and harmony of brothers raised on Andy's music as well as modern rock, blues and reggae.

“It'll be like one of our after-dinner jam sessions at home, when we sit down and play after a family meal,” says Elgin, who at 29 is two years older than Simon.

“Simon and I play music influenced by our Dad's folk and Celtic, but more modern,” says Elgin. “My brother and I are a combination of really technical picking style and great song melodies. Simon's technical guitar is really, really awesome. We play harmony and lead on each other's songs, and the effect is a cool combination of fast picking and harmony and good danceable grooves”

The brothers are a couple of chips - well, make that grapes - off the old Vine. Now a spry and vigorous sexagenarian, Andy has been playing in folk clubs since starting in the 1960s in his native England. These days, you're more likely to find him serenading the eagles and seals of Desolation Sound from the deck of his sailboat Gwyneth, although he's been known to pack a bar on Main Street as a fundraiser for young Simon's profusion of parking tickets.

Many of Andy's songs reflect his active sense of humour and political vision. “The New American Century” he calls a “more than slightly ironic take on current American politics”, while “Duped” is “a bitter take on the war in Iraq.”

Andy says he's had a lifelong passion for folk “because these songs tell the truth. They are not filtered for market acceptability or political correctness. That gives them a unique power and beauty. At least it does for me.”

Some of Andy's lilting ballads appeal to a nostalgia for the Maritimes and for the sea itself, including “Woman of Labrador” and Andy's musical rendering of John Mansfield's classic poem “Sea Fever.” According to Elgin, Andy might delve into some old Beatles or Buddy Holly upon request.

“It's great to bring our music to Galiano,” says Elgin of what's being billed as A Very Vine Evening at the Grand Central Emporium. “But the best part is the music itself. It's a great feeling to play music together as a family.”

Cover is $5 at the door, and Andy's new album Making Waves will be available. The show starts around 8 PM.


Tim Harvey can be reached through