Performing at the ninth annual Heart Truth Gala in Moncton on Saturday evening is Steven Page, a founding member of Canadian pop band Barenaked Ladies, and the voice behind a number of their hits, including “Brian Wilson,” “What A Good Boy,” and many more.
Since leaving the group in 2009, Page has continued making music, releasing his solo debut Page One in 2010, followed by Heal Thyself Pt. 1: Instinct last year.
Music hasn’t been Page’s only creative outlet, however. In addition to scoring the music for five productions featured in Stratford’s Shakespeare Festival, and also hosted his own globetrotting food program, The Illegal Eater, which aired on the Discovery Network internationally.
“All the different projects I began doing once I had left Barenaked Ladies was all stuff I wanted to be doing while still in the band. We were in the enviable position of being a successful group, and with that went writing, recording, touring, and meetings to keep it moving forward. And when you’re a part of a band, you have to be cautious about what you do outside of the group so that the other guys know where your priorities are. I would have almost definitely had to say no to everything I’ve done if I was still part of the group, where now I’m in the position to say yes to everything I want, which feels amazing,” an affable Page says.
Helping bring Page’s latest pop masterpiece to life was his long-time musical brother in arms Craig Northey, who also contributed to some of the material on his solo debut.
According to Page, Northey’s group the Odds probably spent more time supporting the Barenaked Ladies in concert than any other group.
“The Odds were always our ideal rock band,” Page says. “Going into the making of Heal Thyself, I had upwards of 30 songs for which I had no idea how to finish or make sense of, so Craig got the call. We actually ended up demoing the songs with the Odds, which is what I had always wanted to do anyway.”
Page says those demos became the basis for Heal Thyself, the recording of which was complemented and rounded out by his regular live backing band The Original Six.
In a beautiful twist of fate, it is more than appropriate that Northey and the Odds will be serving as Page’s backing band at Casino New Brunswick on Saturday night. Fans attending the show can expect a selection of hits delving into the present and past of both Page and the Odds.
“When it came right down to it, it was natural for us to back Steven,” Northey says. “He’s been a long-time friend through touring, which created a like-minded bond between us. It’s a lot of fun for us to play these songs live with him.”
Not surprisingly, the admiration is more than mutual.
“I couldn’t have The Odds on stage and not have them play a bunch of their own material. That’s a significant part of the joy of them being a part of this show.”
Both Page and Northey recently wrapped up a slate of Southern Ontario shows with The Pursuit of Happiness’ Moe Berg and Sloan member Chris Murphy. The foursome, who have dubbed themselves The Transcanada Highwaymen, each bring a selection of their best-known hits to the concert stage, changing up instruments along the way to give each songwriter their turn in the spotlight.
While the possibility of future shows remains to be seen – but hasn’t been ruled out – Page says the experience was exhilarating for all involved.
“Those shows are such a treat for the band as well as the audience, as they get the best of each of us. It’s pretty electrifying to be on stage with those guys,” Page says.
What: Steven Page, performing as part of the 9th Annual Heart Truth Gala
When: Saturday May 6, 8 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
Tickets are $65 and $75. Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone 1-866-943-8849 and online at casinonb.ca