Local singer/songwriter Kenneth Paul Cooper – many in these parts know him as the retired band manager of the Campbell River Indian Band – is continuing to delve further into the music scene, and has just announced another show in his Writers on the Stage series.
The series began with his presentation of John Gogo and Blue Sky Miners last fall at the Rivercity Stage and continues with his presentation of Canadian Roots icon David Essig on March 5 at the same venue.
When he “retired” early last year, Cooper says he had been writing and performing his solo act all over the Island, but he quickly realized, “local folks would get tired of shows by me alone on a frequent basis,” he laughs, “but that there are a lot of similar singer/songwriters who would be of interest. I envisioned providing listening concerts with me as host, presenting notable guest writing performers.”
When asked if the development of this performance series – which Cooper hopes will become a quarterly event – was based on a perceived gap in the regions’ current musical programming offerings, his answer was an unequivocal, “No.”
“There were no ‘negatives’ in the development of this vision,” he says. “I just want to see if there is an audience for good writer/performers and I want to facilitate that (if there is).”
He says there is already plenty of opportunity regionally to see musicians ply their trade, citing numerous local bars and lounges frequently offering, “quality musicians,” as well as “high quality performances by both cover and original artists presented at the Tidemark all the time.
“This series was just designed to offer the chance to present a concert, of original work, in an intimate listening venue I could afford,” he laughs.
“That part is important,” he says, “because these concerts receive no public funding, and a good listening concert with 40 to 70 people is an absolute pleasure in a small venue, but it’s a nightmare in a large venue with hundreds of empty seats.”
There shouldn’t be too many of those at the March 5 event.
David Essig was introduced to Canadian audiences in 1971 as, “a talented newcomer,” at the legendary Mariposa Folk Festival.
Now, 45 years later, he pursues an international career as one of Canada’s finest roots music performers.
He has appeared at every major folk festival in Canada and at concerts throughout the world, releasing 23 albums and continuing to tour across Canada and Europe.
Described as a “spellbinding” performer, Essig embraces the Bluegrass and Delta Blues traditions he grew up with, but moves with grace between country, blues and avant-garde and is considered one of Canada’s finest slide guitarists.
And tickets for the Campbell River show at the Rivercity Stage are only $20.
You can get tickets for the show online at tidemarktheatre.com, the Tidemark Theatre box office, The Music Plant on 11th Avenue downtown, or by calling 250-923-9916.