If self-sufficiency in the face of adverse weather is a Canadian trait, then Valdy was certainly living up to it when he spoke to the Peninsula News Review.
At the time, Salt Spring Island was covered in snow. His power was out, so he had a fire going and he was making coffee and hot water on a propane burner outside.
Valdy pointed out that while he uses amps, he is still a folk singer who produces everything “in an analogue and acoustic manner,” so his signature sound “does not require any power source to make it work.”
The 72-year old singer is playing his fourth show in four years at the Mary Winspear Centre on Jan. 13. His concert in Sidney is his “month-versary” with his wife of 32 years, Kathleen, “so I thought I might focus on love songs for this one, just because it’s a special day for us.”
The big anniversary is August 13, but they observe it each month “to celebrate our love as the year goes along.”
He moved from Victoria to Sooke and bought five acres of waterfront when he was 25. It was the early 1970s, and he met many Vietnam draft dodgers there, which he said really influenced his music in those years politically and philosophically.
Now, he said, “I tend to be a little less obscure,” citing a recent tribute to Stompin’ Tom Conners or the fire in Fort McMurray as examples.
As a bit of a Canadian folk icon, Valdy had a memorable Canada 150.
On July 1, he performed with a choir of over 100 kids between the ages of 8 and 15 where they sang O Canada in both official languages, as well as a new song that Valdy wrote himself called “We Are The Future.”
Valdy said it was written with young singers in mind, because it reminds their elders to “be careful with this planet because [kids will] get it when we’re done.”
The folk singer has won two Junos and has been inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and he still tries to play 200 shows a year, but Valdy said “it’s just a target; I seldom make it.” He actually thinks he plays between 140 and 160 a year.
At 72, he has no plans to slow down, saying “it does the soul good to sing.”
It’s good for my soul and I do encourage other people to join me when I’m in concert,” he said.
“It always lifts the room when there’s more than one voice.”
Valdy is performing at the Charlie White Theatre on Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m. For info and tickets, visit tickets.marywinspear.ca.