The Preview and the Show

Cody Woelfle plays "Wheat Kings" on Voyageur to kick things off at Port Hardy Civic Centre

After Friday's two school sessions, Elizabeth and I swung back to the HQ (home of the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Office and North Island Concert Society) to conduct a FacebookLive session with Saturday's two players, Jeremy Parker and Cody Woelfle under the direction of the North Island Gazette. We set it up like a festival workshop with me acting as facilitator - doing a bit of interviewing between a couple of songs each from Jeremy and Cody.

Cody is a tall, laconic Albertan with an easy manner and a smooth-as-silk stage presence. We found common ground in the music of Steve Earle and Cody tends to that country-tinged singer-songwriter style. He's got a great natural country voice and oozes presence. Jeremy is almost the exact opposite - a self-taught instrumentalist full of self-doubt and nervous energy, still finding his style and voice as a guitarist. Suffice to say that he customarily plays a classical guitar and tends toward finger style improvisations but is loathe to define himself just yet. The FB live session was a chance not only for me to get to know them a little bit before the show at the Civic Centre but also for them to get to know Voyageur a little bit and find their comfort zone on the instrument.

Cody took to Voyageur easily - breezing through a cover to warm up and testing out both an original and a Neil Young tune for Saturday's show. Jeremy had a further distance to travel - being accustomed to a wider fretboard and nylon strings but in spite of his nerves he seemed to make the transition seamlessly. During his second piece, something strange and beautiful happened with the sound emanating from the guitar - almost as if a second player had kicked in or someone had flicked the switch on an expander module but it was all coming from Jeremy and Voyageur. I had wondered whether it might have just been the acoustics of the room but it happened again during his Saturday performance at the Civic Centre. Cody kicked off the performance segment of the presentation with Tragically Hip's "Wheat Kings" then played an original, "Getting Gone", to follow up. As the final song, Cody played and sang "The Needle and the Damage Done" on Voyageur while Jeremy added tasty fills on Cody's Fender acoustic.

Jeremy Parker's instrumental.

As always, I was so grateful for the comments after the show as people lingered to take photos, tell stories and get books signed.
Thanks to North Island Concert Society director Elizabeth Aman-Hume and her team - including Malcolm, Verna, Sandra, Bob, John, Muffy and other volunteers. A very special thanks to event sponsors (and my hosts for my stay in Port Hardy) Sharon and Marty of First Choice B&B.

And another very special thanks to the team at Pacific Coastal Airlines - including Paula, Lorne, Steve and Meaghan, who not only figured out a way to make my baggage work without extra charges but also took me out to the hangar to view the spectacular collection of four pristine-looking vintage Grumman Goose amphibious planes - even letting me climb into the cockpit. Lorne explained that in spite of the fact that they were over 80 years old and had all been wrecked at some point or another, they were all in perfect working order and looked brand new. It's not often that you wave goodbye to your ground crew as your flight takes off but that's what I did and they waved right back. Thanks everyone!

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