Fred Eaglesmith’s gravelly voice speaks of a life lived. The titles of his songs; Codeine, Crashin’ & Burnin’, Alcohol and Pills and Careless all point to a man who has had a life full of wild adventures, rural life, loss, quirky characters and machines.
On February 26, the Fred Eaglesmith Traveling Steam Show will arrive in Sooke in a 1990 Bluebird touring bus and will be performing at EMCS at 7:30 p.m.
If labels had to be put on his music, at 58 years old, Frederick John Elgersma, known by the stage name Fred Eaglesmith, is a Canadian alternative country singer-songwriter. His music is called “alternative” country because of the influences of other musical genres, like folk, bluegrass, rockabilly or even punk. Eaglesmith’s music is gritty and down to earth. His songs are written from experience and are more like short stories of a life lived hard. All 20 of his albums have consistently evoked critical raves. His releases consistently hit the upper reaches of the Americana charts, and he’s the only Canadian to ever write a No. 1 bluegrass hit.
The heart of rock and roll is alive and well with Fred Eaglesmith’s 20th album, Tambourine. Fusing together all of Fred’s past influences, the result is pure rock ‘n ‘roll reminiscent of 1966.
“When I put the songs together for Tambourine, I was thinking about the days when there were five push buttons on an automobile radio,” Eaglesmith explains. “Everyone was listening to AM stations and, at any given time, one of those five buttons was playing a song worth listening to. The album is a walk through the garden of rock ‘n’ roll. The music’s roots are firmly dug in the mid-to-late 60s. The primary essence is 1966 – the year that gave us Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and Question Mark & the Mysterians.”
Eaglesmith was one of nine children raised by a farming family in rural Southern Ontario.
He left the family farm at the age of 15 to become an itinerant troubadour.
His life story, in fact, could be the subject of one of his songs. Fred has such a deft touch for finding the literary significance within the lives of seemingly common people, rendering their tales, thoughts and feelings into songs with profound humanity and sensitivity. On stage Fred is a sharp raconteur between songs with tales and observations as keen and compelling as his songs. The Fred Eaglesmith Traveling Steam show also features opening songs by Tif Ginn and includes Kori Heppner on drums, Justine Fischer on bass, and Matty Simpson on everything else.
A typical Fred Eaglesmith show includes his music set between several lengthy between-song comic monologues by Eaglesmith. His fans are known as “Fredheads”, a nod to deadheads, who followed The Grateful Dead.
In 2010, Eaglesmith was featured on the Late Show with David Letterman as the musical guest. He performed Careless from the album Cha Cha Cha.
Tickets online http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-fred-eaglesmith-show-tickets-8661569989 and in Sooke at Shoppers Drug Mart and Stick in the Mud Coffee Shop.
Proceeds got to the Sooke Crisis Centre and the Edward Milne Community School Society.
BTW: the Traveling Steam show folks travel in a 1990 Bluebird tour bus converted to run on recycled vegetable oil so if anyone knows of a good source of vegetable oil for the bus please email firstname.lastname@example.org
With files from
The Edward Milne community school theatre is located at 6218 Sooke Road.