By Miriam Ostermann, Associate Editor
Strathmore will act as a soapbox for Canadian musician John Wort-Hannam when he brings a four-piece band to town and plays brand new music to be turned into a record in November.
The Juno-nominated roots musician is no stranger to Strathmore, but only performed as a solo artist previously.
This time around, the Strathmore Musical Arts Society (SMAS) is presenting John Wort-Hannam and the Blue Collars on Oct. 14, following the opening act of the Dearhearts.
“We’ll be playing quite a few of the songs that we’re going to be recording so people have definitely not heard them before if they’ve even been to previous shows,” said Wort-Hannam.
“I kind of just see it as a job. It’s certainly not that I don’t love it and some days I feel like I’m living a bit of a dream, but I don’t really see myself as being that much different than anybody else. I don’t see it much different than being a plumber or an accountant or a lawyer. When I get up in the morning I take my guitar out and I write songs. What I get to do is stand in front of people and share these things that I create in my head and I get to share them with people, which is what is happening in Strathmore.”
Those many mornings spent in at his kitchen table writing songs paid off for the songwriter-performer, who originally spent five years teaching Native American studies on a southern Alberta First Nation’s reserve. After hearing Loudon Wainwright in 1997, Wort-Hannam made a bold move and decided to pursue a career in music.
That journey led to international tours, releasing six albums, performing with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, writing the official song for the 2011 Alberta winter games, and winning numerous awards – among them Kerrville New Folk Award, Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Album of the Year, and three times winner of the grand prize at the Calgary Folk Festival Song Competition.
His love for music opened the doors to perform at the Smithsonian Institution Washington D.C, Trafalgar Square in England, and the Kennedy Square.
While he averaged 200 days of travelling a year, the artist – who lives in Lethbridge – has slowed down to 100 days of travelling per year in order to enjoy more time with his family; he’s father to a six-year-old boy.
“I’ve certainly seen some places in the world which I would not have seen if I hadn’t been a musician, and it’s certainly something I enjoy, travelling around, but it’s work I just get up and sort of do it,” he said.
“I don’t want to be on the road as much. I really enjoy being a dad and I want to be home and be a dad. I try to do everything I can to sort of tour smarter… then I make sure that I’m home for good chunks of time too so that I can stay home with my son.”
John Wort-Hannam and the Blue Collars – Jason Valleau, John May, and Scott Duncan – will perform at the Strathmore Travelodge on Oct.14. For more information visit www.strathmorearts.com or 403-680-7721 or 403-630-3180.