Canadian Singer/Songwriter James Keelaghan will perform at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House on Fri., Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m., as part of the Folk in Fredonia Music Series.
Called “Canada’s finest singer-songwriter” by one of the most respected and lauded music journalists of the past 50 years, Keelaghan is an artist who has proven to be a man for all seasons.
As the calendar pages have turned, for almost a quarter-century now, this poet laureate of the folk and roots music world has gone about his work with a combination of passion, intent and curiosity. Fusing his insatiable appetite for the next unique storyline with brilliantly defined craftsmanship and a monogrammed artistic vision makes Keelaghan one of the most distinctive and readily identifiable voices of not only the Canadian scene, but of the international singer-songwriter community.
Many of the lyrics in Keelaghan’s songs display a concern about social problems and justice in society. Examples of such themes include “Kiri’s Piano,” about the internment of Japanese Canadians, and “October 70,” about the FLQ crisis in Montreal, both inspired by events and figures in Canada’s history. Some of his songs concern tragic historical events, such as “Fires of Calais,” about the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation of Allied troops during WWII, and “Cold Missouri Waters,” about the Mann Gulch Fire of 1949. His lilting baritone voice, driving rhythm guitar, and sense of scene and narrative combine to result in an ability to bridge traditional folk music with roots revival and Celtic music.
In 2003, Keelaghan won first prize in the Folk category of the 8th Annual USA Songwriting Competition. He also was the recipient of a Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy).
It was Dave Marsh, the award-winning American music critic and historian who not so long ago stated that Keelaghan is “Canada’s finest singer-songwriter.” Those few but powerful words of praise say it all about an artist who continues to set the bar at a lofty height!
Tickets to Keelaghan’s concert are $17 ($15 Opera House Members, $10 Students) and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 716-679-1891, Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. Tickets also may be purchased online at www.fredopera.org anytime.
The event is part of the Folk in Fredonia Music Series, now in its 23rd year at the Opera House and sponsored by The Gilman Family.
The 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. A complete schedule of Opera House events is available at www.fredopera.org.