The Urbanite – Jon Liedtke – Jan. 15, 2014
Receiving an Order of Canada and being colloquially referred to as a national treasure might be enough for some artists to hang up their hats and put their feet up, but not for Valdy.
The seasoned folk singer has made waves across Canada for the past four decades. and with a recent album under his belt, re- leased in 2012, and a national tour scheduled, Valdy is ready to weather just about any storm forecasted in his direction.
Valdy will perform a mixture of songs from his 2012 album, Read Between the Lines, and his past works at Mackenzie Hall on Jan. 18.
“They’re going to hear a blend of new material from my recent album from 2012, and selections of the more popular songs from over the years,” said Valdy. “By that I would mean radioactive songs and songs that they would be aware of if they’ve never seen me before.”
Valdy’s popularity has yet to diminish throughout the country and the musician still regularly draws a crowd to listen to both his old and new work.
“There’s waves of popularity in my career. I wouldn’t call them storm waves, but sometimes they get bigger and sometimes it’s a quieter sea,” said Valdy. “Sometimes I play audiences of 100 to 200, recently up to 500 to 600, sometimes over a thousand, but it comes and goes. I don’t anticipate a specific number coming out.””
For the upcoming year, Valdy has an “adventurous” show planned with Nadina Mackie Jackson, a bassoonist from Toronto, titled Valdy to Vivaldi; Folk to Baroque. “She’s a stunning player. She’s quite adventurous and she wants to stretch out in different musical directions and she had inquired if I would be interested, and of course I’m jumping at it.”
When asked what it meant to be presented with the Order of Canada and to be referred to as a ‘national treasure,’ Valdy humbly responded that it was a “huge honour and to be included in that bracket of people.”
“I hope that whatever earned it for me will continue in the years to come,” he said. “Also it’s the fact that I’ve got legs, I keep doing it. What it means to me is that I’m being thanked for what I’ve done, instead of just being paid.”
Valdy has been known to interject politics into his art from time to time, and he explained that will continue to be the case.
“Every interaction I have with anybody is political. I’m a political person, I’m not a political animal, but I do have a voice that people listen to,” he said. “If I see something that is askew or something that is perhaps not in the best interests of the country and its future, then I will speak up about that.”
Music as a harbinger can be a strong tool to influence public opinion, said Valdy. “I’ve been flippant with it in the past, but I’m a little more aware of it now.”
“I will continue to be an outspoken folk singer, and I’m glad to have some friends in the folk business who hold my feet to the fire and say, ‘This is your job. You don’t get up there and sing about what you want to, you sing about what you have to.”
Jonathon Liedtke is the managing editor of The Urbanite, Windsor’s alternative newspaper. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.