Valdy Danced That Old Dance Once More


Story:  Sandy Graham

On a windswept, rainy night in Toronto, the inside of the legendary Hugh’s Room was warm and comfortable, with a sold out crowd for the one night appearance of Canada’s folk treasure, Valdy.  A cultural emissary, Valdy is one of Canada's trusted spokespersons, and a seasoned performer to boot.  Nearly thirty-seven years of relentless concert touring have made his show a disarming and practical blend of respect for the audience and charming stage performance.

With two 40 minute sets that just sailed by, the crooning folksinger had the crowd in the palm of his hand, singing all his hits and some future hits as well, from his upcoming CD, set for release sometime in 2012. Valdy understands that people have come to be entertained; he tailors each of his shows, as many as two hundred a year, to suit the audience at that specific venue.

He sang all the songs the crowd requested of him and as all good folksingers do, asked them to sing along to hits like “Play Me A Rock ‘N’ Roll Song, Simple Life, A Good Song, Peter and Lou, Yes I Can, Dirty Old Man, Renaissance” and added an impromptu version of "Farewell to Nova Scotia." (Valdy even brought a song up to current speed with the new addition to the verse of "A Good Man", changing “I have a family and you have a mother” to “I have a family, then another”.

Manager Kathy Hahn, guitarist Bobby Cohen, ValdyManager Kathy Hahn, guitarist Bobby Cohen, ValdyTelling tales from his times in folksinger hippie bands to his stint playing the environmentalist character of ‘Halibut’ Stu on the hit CBC Series The Beachcombers. Valdy explains, "The Beachcombers has always been such an accessible show. It's all about community and I wanted to be a part of that community, to help develop a musical character. What a great stretch for me, acting, tune-smithing, arranging."

On his new CD, working title ‘Between the Lines’, Valdy has a song written with fifteen other songwriters who attended a workshop seminar for aspiring writers. The song, "Big Momma" had everything in it, even down to naming of a motorcycle of one of the attendees.

Nodding to a current trend in music, Valdy offered up his own rap song, in honour of our Christmas Season entitled  “Wrap It Up” that had the whole crowd  ‘yo yo yo-ing’ in beat with his chorus.

Valdy and singer songwriter Don GrahamValdy and singer songwriter Don GrahamShannon Martin (Aporia) and Kathy HahnShannon Martin (Aporia) and Kathy HahnAudience participation at it’s best!

The show closed with a great John Martyn song, “May You Never” and directed the heartfelt lyrics to his fans that felt all up close and personal for a good three hours.

So Valdy gave his all, and let us all “dance that old dance once more”, with the anticipation of the new CD in the works.
Look for news of it here in Cashbox Canada in early 2012.

Editor’s Note: Valdy was appointed by The Governor of General as a member of the Order of Canada in June 2011.