It has been a long, bountiful road for Canadian acapella quartet The Nylons since the group’s inception in 1978. Along the way, the band released more than 20 albums, charting both here in Canada and the U.S. on the strength of singles including the group’s take on the Turtles classic “Happy Together” and “Kiss Him Goodbye.”
All good things must come to an end, however. The Nylons’ current tour – touching down in Moncton on Saturday evening – is the group’s final hurrah after almost four decades of impeccable vocal harmonies.
With one of the band’s members slated to move to Australia in the near future, original Nylons member Claude Morrison suggests that while the move was not prohibiting the band from moving forward, he came to realize the time was right to bring down the curtain.
“I was 26 years old when I joined the group and am on the cusp of turning 64. I’m thinking there is no dishonour behind calling it a day after almost 40 years,” Morrison says, proudly. “The band has given me so many memorable experiences, including having had the opportunity to travel all over the world. As much as I’ve done with the band, however, there are even more places I have not been that I want to go while I’m still of sound mind and capable body. It’s the right time for me to begin checking items off my bucket list.”
Although he doesn’t explicitly say so, one factor that could be helping cement Morrison’s decision to retire is the fact that many of his brothers who passed through The Nylons ranks over the last 40 years are no longer able to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Founded by Marc Connors and Paul Cooper in 1978, Morrison points out the duo recruited him to join their ranks that same year. He notes, however, that with the passing of his former bandmates in 1991 and 2013, respectively – Cooper had retired from the group in 1990 – being the last surviving member of the band’s original lineup has been bittersweet in many ways.
“It certainly has been a challenge at times,” Morrison says. “There have been so many instances over the last 20-odd years that I would do my best to channel the guys and ask myself, ‘What would Marc do? What would Paul do?’ Even though they have been gone from the group’s lineup for many years, the Nylons is very much their legacy. I just happen to be the one that has carried the band forward in their honour.”
The fact that Morrison has almost four decades of music-making to look back upon marvels even him. Inspired by the greats of Motown along with the Beatles, Bee Gees and Beach Boys, Morrison jokes he assumed he would simply remain a member of the Nylons until his own dance music career took off.
Needless to say, Morrison never did get the opportunity to pursue that solo career.
“I grew up in what I would consider to be the golden age of pop music. I was always drawn to harmonies and the beauty of the voice. When The Nylons formed, acapella music was not something that was in vogue, but to see the strides that other bands including the Manhattan Transfer have made pursuing the exact same mission over the last 40 years has been incredible to witness.”
Asked what he will miss the most once the group’s farewell tour comes to an end, Morrison says, without hesitation, that it will be having the opportunity to be on stage every night. He declares the group is in the midst of performing some of the best shows of their career and that while a sense of sadness underlines each of the performances, he is simply happy the group is having the chance to give its fans a proper goodbye.
“I’m not going to lie. I certainly will not miss early morning hotel lobby calls for 6 a.m. flights,” he says with a laugh. “The reward for me and the other guys in the band has always been the live show; bringing our music to the people. I was fortunate to have been asked to join the group all those years ago because once things got rolling for the band, the momentum took on a life of its own. When I walk off stage with The Nylons for the last time, there will be nothing but gratitude filling my heart.”
What: The Nylons
When: Saturday Oct. 15, 8 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
Tickets start at $19.99 plus taxes and service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone 1-866-943-8849 and online at www.casinonb.ca