After popular demand, the Harrison Festival Society is bringing Canadian folk music icon Valdy back for his second Harrison appearance in the past three years.
Valdy, born Valdemar Horsdal in Ottawa, has been part of the fabric of Canadian pop and folk music for over 35 years. A singer, guitarist, and songwriter whose work captures the small but telling moments that make up life, Valdy will perform at the Harrison Memorial Hall on Saturday, November 14 at 8:00pm.
Harrison Festival Artistic Director, Andy Hillhouse, has great memories of growing up with Valdy’s music as a kid in the early ‘70s. “My older siblings had has first big record, and hearing his warm voice on the record player is an early memory for me ,” says Hillhouse. “His heartfelt songs appeal across the generations, from the baby boomers to the gen x-ers like myself, and to our kids.”
Valdy is best known for Play Me a Rock and Roll Song, his bitter-sweet memory of finding himself, a relaxed and amiable story-teller, facing a rambunctious audience at the Aldergrove Rock Festival circa 1968. He has sold almost half a million copies of his 13 albums, has two Juno Awards (Folk Singer of the Year and Folk Entertainer of the Year), a total of seven Juno nominations, and four Gold albums to his credit.
One of Canada’s most influential songwriters, Valdy’s composition A Good Song was recorded under the title Just a Man by the venerable Quincy Jones (he sang lead on the recording!). Play Me a Rock and Roll Song has been recorded by a few artists, including John Kay of Steppenwolf.
As well has Valdy’s songwriting credentials, he has honed an informal performance style that nonetheless shows a confidence gained over decades of touring. “Valdy has a way of making the crowd feel comfortable from the first note, and of making any room feel intimate,” says Hillhouse. “He’s the consummate performer.”
Today, Valdy is based on Salt Spring Island, where he lives with his wife Kathleen, three dogs and a large cat. All three of his children are grown, flown and doing famously living in or near Vancouver or Colorado. Despite his fame, Valdy lives the relatively simple life he has sung about in his songs for decades, and he is known for his lack of pretension. Hillhouse recalls bumping into him on the Saltspring Ferry one sunny summer day. “When Valdy saw I had my guitar, he ran to his car without saying anything,” remembers Hillhouse. “He came back a few minutes later with his bass and we jammed. I thought, this guy has no rock star attitude- he’s in it for the music.”