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Murray McLauchlan plays intimate show at Yates

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It isn’t often you get to see a Canadian folk icon perform in the flesh, so I was pleased to make it Murray McLauchlan’s intimate show at the Yates Theatre, Thursday, Oct. 2. The show was like he invited you  into his living room for a night.

Murray McLauchlan played Lethbridge last week. Photo by Kevin Kelly True North
 Dressed casually in jeans, cowboy boots and vest, he sat perched on a stool and plucked his guitar next to a table loaded with various types of harmonicas and sang  mellow melodies. Upright bassist Victor Bateman joined him added a sustained bottom end and bowed his bass for a couple of the spookier numbers. He told stories about growing up  outside of Toronto, going to art school against the wishes of his stoic Scottish father and embracing hippie counter-culture, making his own clothes and learning to guitar in vain to impress a woman and his father, who he said didn’t come to see him play  until he invited him to his first sold out show at Toronto’s Massey Hall.


He played an early hit “Child’s Song,” which he noted he wrote  for his father and noted a cover of hit was part of the hit TV show “ This is Us.”
“ So I said thank you Jesus and cashed the cheque,” he chuckled.


 While in his interview, he promised the show would focus on his last two albums, the first set was all about his early hits, most of are on his 2007 Best of compilation. He opened strong with probably his best known song “Down by The Henry Moore.”


When the moment stuck him, he switched to grand piano, describing his show aptly a a mix of concert and music business tutorial, as he talked about co-writing some of his biggest hits and even getting the Jordanaires who sang on a lot of great classic rock and roll records including many from Elvis Presley, to sing on one of his classic songs “Whispering Rain.”

There were a lot of highlights including “Never Did Like That Train,” and several from his 2011 CD  “Human Writes,” including “Run Away to Sea about Newfoundlanders moving to Alberta, for which he got the audience to try to while along with him and  “Painting Floors,” which he noted was inspired by watching Road Runner cartoons, watching the Roadrunner paint an escape route when Wile E Coyote was chasing him.
 He ended his first set with “Farmer’s Song.”
 The second set  focused more on his jazzy latest album “Love Can‘t Tell Time,” opening with the title track, which he wrote with sportswriter Alison Gordon,” who he spoke reverently of, noting she was one of the first female sportswriters to cover major league baseball.


He expressed his love for Rosemary Clooney and played “Hey There.”


 The second set, featuring jazzy guitar and melodies, was a big departure from his country and pop roots, but the new music really seemed to appeal to the audience.
 One of my favourites from set two was  “Ambitious Life,” about “the joys of my favourite things sloth and laziness,” which he played on the grand piano and which he described as being written whole considering what Tin Pan Alley songwriter Hoagie Carmichael would write today if he was still alive.


Another new  song “Martini,” he noted was inspired by his ambitious brother Calvin, who thought he could write songs and gave him some lyrics abut his favourite drink the martini, and turned it around into one of his own songs.
After a few newer songs he went back to his early career and chatted about his 36-year-old daughter, who is studying   for her doctorate and played a song he wrote before she was born called  “Don’t Put Your Faith in Men.”

—By Richard Amery, L.a. beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 October 2018 13:14 )  
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