Songwriters take centre circle

Tara Bradbury
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Lennie Gallant will host Bluebird North event at Masonic Temple

Lennie Gallant

A night of unadorned, unfettered, simple, pure music in a warm, informal atmosphere is what Lennie Gallant is promising of tonight’s Bluebird North St. John’s event at the Masonic Temple.

“Bluebird North: Where Writers Sing and Tell” is a series of songwriters’ circles, musical showcases bringing together some of the country’s most inspiring — and inspired — songwriters for an intimate performance. In St. John’s, the event will feature local musicians Chris LeDrew, Karla Pilgrim and Katie Baggs.

Gallant, a Juno and East Coast Music Award winner from P.E.I. who is known as one of the country’s best performing songwriters, will host the event.

“I love songwriters’ circles in general, because I find that you never really know what’s going to happen,” Gallant told The Telegram. “You have to play your song the way it was born. The song has to stand on its own, and I think that’s the true test.

“Also, what’s often really fun when you put four people together who haven’t necessarily played together before is they could jump in with harmonies or instruments, and some real magic can be created.”

LeDrew has been a member of Brothers in Stereo with his brother, Andrew, for the past seven or so years, winning the 2003 MusicNL Rising Star award and three East Coast Music Award nominations. His 2007 solo album, “Stronger Man,” earned him two MusicNL awards for Male Artist of the Year and Country Artist of the Year. He has penned songs for other albums, including two of Gallant’s.

Pilgrim, a native of Roddickton, opened for Alan Jackson when he performed at Mile One Centre last August, and was recently chosen to open for Terri Clark.

Pilgrim’s debut album, “I’ll Think of You” was released last year, and garnered her the 2009 Female Artist of the Year and Country Artist of the Year MusicNL awards.

Baggs recently returned to St. John’s after spending a year teaching in British Columbia, and is currently working on a collaborative project called The Wiles.

Each of the musicians, including Gallant — who will leave Friday for Winnipeg, where he’s nominated for three Canadian Folk Music Awards — will take turns performing acoustic versions of original songs, and explaining the inspiration and meaning behind them.

At least in Gallant’s case, just what those songs will be isn’t decided until the very last minute.

“I usually have 15 or so songs lined up, but it really depends on the mood and the song the person sang before you,” he said. “That’s a great thing — a theme might come about. One guy sings a song about something, and another guy says, ‘I’ve got one about that, too, from a different perspective, and here’s the way I look at it.’ The next person in line might just pull a rug out from under both of them by singing a song that also pertains to that form, yet from another perspective. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s cool like that.”

Presented by the Songwriters Association of Canada, the St. John’s Bluebird North event takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the door, and $10 for association members who show their card.

Organizations: The Telegram, Songwriters Association of Canada

Geographic location: P.E.I., Roddickton, British Columbia Winnipeg

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