Johnny Reid’s Christmas Gift To Moncton

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Canadian country music star Johnny Reid is coming to town with A Christmas Gift To You. The three-time Juno Award winner and acclaimed multi-platinum singer-songwriter returns to Metro for a show at the Moncton Coliseum on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Over the last seven years, the personable Reid has inspired legions of fans with his songs. His catalogue has sold more than a combined one million copies in Canada alone.

Reid’s most recent album, A Christmas Gift To You, was released this past October. His fans wasted little time in giving him another platinum plaque for his wall: At the start of December, the album was certified platinum in Canada for sales of 80,000 units.

A Christmas Gift To You is a 12-song collection of traditional and time-honoured songs, recorded for the purpose of embracing the Christmas spirit. In fact, if there is only one thing that Reid wants to get across with his latest record, it is that it is a Christmas record through and through:

“I didn’t want to make a holiday album this time around,” Johnny says. “With this collection of songs, I wanted to celebrate Christmas and all that it means. For a lot of people, there is a religious connotation when you talk about Christmas and rightfully so. For me, that is only a small part of it.

“To me, Christmas is all about the goodness of people. I wanted to make a record that celebrated that kindness. I specifically picked songs that brought back memories: ‘Hark The Herald Angels Sing’, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and ‘O Holy Night’ are all songs that spoke to my past and me.

“At the outset of making the record, I sat down with Bob Ezrin (producer of A Christmas Gift To You) and told him that I heard a big orchestra behind these songs. Generally, I tell people the record is like Braveheart meets Christmas,” he laughs.

Johnny isn’t one to take success for granted. While he has been encouraged by the response given to the record so far, he also realizes that nothing is a given in the music business.

“People are out there buying the record and enjoying the music. That is all I can really ask for. I am so fortunate to be able to take these shows right across Canada.”

Growing up, Johnny says that Christmas was a big thing in the Reid household. Acknowledging that the Christmas season means many different things to different people, he believes that on a moral and fundamental level, the season represents peace and happiness.

“Everyone, myself included, is guilty of getting caught up in the daily routine of life. So many of us don’t take the time to look back, to reflect on how we have arrived where we are at. All anyone needs to do is take a look at the world around them. Canadians generally have plenty of reasons to be thankful. Christmas is the time to share with the people you love and be thankful for what you have,” Johnny says.

Johnny promises his show at the Coliseum will include some of his biggest hits in addition to a generous helping of Christmas songs. He says that because he has been playing with his band for the past decade, it allows them some flexibility to alter their set list as their show progresses. Johnny says that many evenings, the songs performed are often dictated by the crowd’s energy level.

“Depending on the vibe I am getting from the crowd, we can always pull out the songs that are needed to help us through any performance. Some nights, the crowd can be pretty rowdy so we dive in and really focus on the upbeat songs while other night, the crowd can be a little mellower, wanting to hear songs like ‘Thank You’ and ‘A Woman Like You,’ Johnny says.

“I have always felt it was important to customize the show as the night rolls on. If you play the same set list and perform the same show night after night, it becomes redundant for the band and then you are missing the chance to form that personal connection with the audience. We would rather the audience go home from the show excited about what they have just seen.”

During the course of his interview with the Times & Transcript, the one trait of Johnny’s personality that probably resonates the most is just how genuine and grounded the entertainer is. He speaks fondly of his family with whom he is looking forward to reuniting at the end of the tour.

When talk turns to what his fans mean to him, Johnny expresses genuine gratitude for the opportunity to share his music, night after night.

“I think people can tell who is real and who is putting on a show,” he says. “The road hasn’t always been the smoothest. There have been a lot of ups and downs over the years but no matter what, I have always been myself.

“I think that is what has brought me to this point in my career. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to make a living doing something that I love.”

Article published in the December 14, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript

What: Johnny Reid
When: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Moncton Coliseum, 
 377 Killam Dr., Moncton
Tickets: $53 to $96 (including taxes and surcharges). Advance tickets are available at the Moncton Coliseum box office, online at tickets.moncton.ca and by phone at (506) 857-4100.