There is a wandering spirit still alive and vibrant in Canadian songwriting treasure Valdy. Will that spirit ever diminish? In speaking with the musician born Valdemar Horsdal, the answer is most likely no.
The truth is, Valdy could be forgiven if he was looking to slow down the pace of his life somewhat.
With 14 albums, 22 singles, two Juno Awards and more than a half million records sold internationally, the man has certainly paid his dues.
He continues to tour, playing upwards of 200 shows per year. And though the bulk of those shows are based in Canada, Valdy has extensively toured America, Austria and Germany in addition to a host of other countries.
And perhaps the icing on the cake to Valdy’s 40-plus-year career was his induction into the Order of Canada in May 2011 by Governor General David Johnston.
To call this man’s career remarkable would be an arguably big understatement.
From his hotel in London, Ont., last week, the kind and gracious Valdy acknowledged his heavy tour schedule is a sort of way to stay connected with people he knows and has come to know throughout this great country of ours.
‘I absolutely love touring and aim to play somewhere in the vicinity of 200 shows a year. 2012 will probably come in the 150- to 160-show range, though,’ he begins.
‘It is definitely ambitious. Not only do I get to regularly visit people I have known for a number of years, it also provides me the opportunity of working with a number of exceptional players from right across the country.
‘I’m very lucky that I am making a living doing something that I love.
It is a huge return for the amount of time that I put into it.’ With such an ambitious tour schedule, Valdy admits he has to exercise caution to avoid exhausting any particular market. Nonetheless, the treasured singer-songwriter routinely plays anywhere between 200- and 1,000-person capacity halls, although he has no aversion to playing smaller venues. Give the man a stage, and he will call it home.
‘I am lucky that my music does broadcast in a larger hall. But when I can see people’s eyebrows from the stage, I enjoy that intimacy as well.’ While some artists are content to rest on their past success, the Trans-Canada Highway is not the only thing that keeps Valdy occupied. The musician has maintained an almost equallyambitious recording and release schedule, with four releases to his credit since the turn of the century.
The singer’s newest record, Read Between The Lines , is comprised of 14 songs that are musically varied yet ultimately still bear the hallmarks of the same songwriter that has delighted audiences with prior hits like ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Song’ and ‘A Good Song’.
‘I think Read Between The Lines is a little weird but good,’ Valdy laughs. ‘Lucky for me, I get to play every style of music under the sun and this record really reflects that. It really is a true folk record in every sense of the word.’ In continuing conversation with Valdy, it becomes apparent he is not one to accept complacency.
Although his spirit may be wandering, there is something very real and grounded that comes to the surface while speaking with him.
One gets the feeling that offering some variety to his live shows in terms of the songs he performs might be a key to Valdy’s longevity. Performing a mix of new material alongside old classics keeps the show interesting for both the performer and the audience.
‘My live show consists of songs that people would expect to hear with some newer material mixed in as well. I really enjoy keeping the shows fresh, incorporating audience requests while also dragging out some songs that aren’t performed all too frequently.
Ultimately, I just want to do the best I can with the songs. Some of the songs demand a little more treatment live and I am more than happy to provide that. I am always rather happy to try something new each night.’
Article published in the October 5, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript