Diverse set of shows on the way to City

Doc Walker plays Memorial Centre; tunesmith Alfie Zappacosta at The Hub

Kicking off a western Canadian fall tour, Doc Walker brings their unique, expressive set of country hits to the Memorial Centre Oct. 14.

Showtime is 8 p.m. for the show, which is being presented by Second Storey.

It’s been a superb season for the acclaimed group, having been named Group of the Year at last month’s Canadian Country Music Award.

This is the third consecutive year and the fourth time the guys have landed the accolade.

Over their more than 10 years as a band, Doc Walker has earned the title of the ‘hardest working country band in Canada’ through lots of perseverance and relentless touring. Life on the road has simply been a given from the get-go.

As for style, staying true to one’s roots is indeed a proven formula.

“Simplicity is the best hook sometimes,” says frontman Chris Thorsteinson of the guys’ latest disc Go.

And that perseverance to forge ahead in the music biz has landed them several top ten and top five hits on Canadian radio and some of the industry’s highest awards including six CCMA’s in 2008 alone.

Their history stretches back to their youth in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

Thorsteinson and bandmate Dave Wasyliw (Murray Pulver later signed on) had their first group when they were 12.

High school days brought the guys closer together, and as Thorsteinson has pointed out, that kind of history is invaluable when it comes to making music.

Meanwhile, with the conception of their latest project Go, when the guys got together in Nashville for songwriting sessions they didn’t have another record in mind.

But what came out those sessions were a stream of worthy tunes and surefire hits that they knew wouldn’t just please longtime fans, but could draw a bunch of new ones into the fold as well. It was indeed time to head to the studio and lay down tracks once again.

As for balancing the demands of the road with family life, no one knows more about longings for both home and the road than people like the guys of Doc Walker, who pretty much split their time between homes and family in Manitoba and Nashville.

“You have this longing to go home, but then when you’re at home you have this longing to get your music out there to show people,” he explains. “It’s this push and pull, this tug of war between family and the road – both passions.”

But at the end of the day, the success Doc Walker has experienced can really be boiled down to a simple strategy of sorts — it’s all about connecting with audiences.

“What you have to do is see your fans,” says Wasyliw. “It’s a relationship, and you have to keep your end of the bargain.”

Also ahead for Second Storey is a concert by artist Alfie Zappacosta at The Hub, slated for Oct. 16.

Having long been considered one of the finest vocal talents in Canada, Zappacosta is know for his tunes like Nothing Can Stand in Your Way, Passion, When I Fall in Love Again, and We Should Be Lovers. He also contributed the tune Overload to a little something known as soundtrack to Dirty Dancing which sold in the millions and exposed him to loads of fans and international acclaim.

His artistry is richly reflected in CDs including Innocence Ballet, Dark Sided Jewel, Start Again and Bonfide!

“I wanted to get back into a form of music that I knew I was not only capable of doing but also a style of music that would fulfill me both artistically and spiritually,” he says. “I realized that chasing down fads is really a losing proposition.”

Tickets for Alfie Zappacosta available at the door. For tickets to Doc Walker, call 403-755-6626 or visit www.blackknightinn.ca.

mweber@reddeerexpress.com

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