Jeffery Straker and friends to bring talents to Weyburn Concert Series

A classically-trained pianist, singer and songwriter will be joined by a renowned blues guitarist and a folk singer-songwriter to present the event for the Weyburn Concert Series.

Jeffery Straker headlines the show, and he will have as special guests guitarist Jack Semple, and folk singer Annette Campagne for the show to be held on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cugnet Centre.

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Straker released a new single, “One Foot on Main Street”, from his upcoming album to be released next year to kick off the tour of 18 communities around Saskatchewan through the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC).

He performs over 100 shows a year across Canada, Europe and Latin America, and whether as a solo artist or backed by a symphony orchestra, he’s been compared to the likes of Harry Chapin, Carole King and Billy Joel.

He has recorded for CBC Radio’s ‘Canada Live’, had a music video chart in the Top 10 nationally and has toured internationally as far as Peru, Chile and Mexico. His tour stops range from intimate house concerts to club and theatre shows and include folk and jazz festivals.

Each of the three musicians will perform on their own, doing some of their own music, and then they will combine their talents for some songs.

“Each of us have really different styles. I’m more of a folk singer and songwriter, Annette is a folk singer with her guitar, and Jack plays the blues,” said Straker, pointing out this will bring a great diversity to the music they will perform.

“We’ll mash it up,” he said. “For my part, I’ll have my new single, but also songs from past shows.”

Straker said he and the other two musicians had just held a rehearsal the day before the interview, and added, “I’m really looking forward to playing these shows.”

He noted he had a Christmas show two years ago with these two musicians as guests. “It worked really well with the audience, and I really enjoyed making music with Jack and Annette. As this was the 50th year for OSAC, they wanted a special show to help mark the anniversary, so it worked perfectly,” he explained.

He will have a trio along for the show, which includes a drummer and bassist, both experienced session players that Straker has played with before.

He has played in Weyburn before, as Straker recalled the first show he did here was at the Grace United Church, which was a venue he loved playing in.

Originally from Punnichy, Straker said he enjoys playing in smaller communities, and they appreciate the shows that are brought to their towns.

“A lot of touring acts who come through Saskatchewan might play Regina or Saskatoon,” he said, but tours like this one brings some really good music to the smaller centres. “It’s fun to go to a smaller centre. I have had such great experiences.”

Straker pointed out that his new single is based on his experiences of growing up in a small town, and after he moved away from it, he realized the charm and beauty that a small town can have.

All three of the performers also love to be interactive with the audience as they chat about their songs, he added. “We love to talk. It raises that extra level of interest.”

Semple has reached an international audience with his songwriting, recordings and performances, and has received a Juno award along with being a two-time winner of the Western Canadian blues album of the year, and he had a Grammy nomination for contemporary blues album.

Campagne was a founding member of the group Hart Rouge, and has been a performer for over 25 years as a folk singer-songwriter. She has also won a Western Canadian music award.