Singer Michelle Wright can’t help but be a bit nostalgic these days as she preps to hit the road for her annual fall tour.
She plays the Memorial Centre Nov. 4 for the ‘WrightSongs 2010 – An Acoustic Evening with Michelle Wright’ tour.
Wright will be kicking back with her lead guitarist and her keyboard player for a slate of tunes spanning her eight CDs plus a few brand new cuts.
“It’s made me brush up on my own skills and I’m enjoying the challenge of it,” she explains during a recent chat from her Nashville home.
Adjusting to the relative calm of an acoustic show has been something to get used to as well.
“I’m used to bringing along all the bells and whistles, and I’m used to running around the stage and rocking the house,” she adds with a laugh. “I remember thinking, how am I going to sit still and be calm?”
She’s currently putting the finishing touches on a new acoustic CD as well, which will be available during the tour and officially released early next year.
As to the sense of nostalgia, that would stem from the remixed and remastered released of her 1988 debut Do Right By Me. Wright knew the record had been unavailable for some time, but wasn’t sure what to think when her management suggested remastering and remixing it for a new release.
After all the technical brush-ups were wrapped up, she took a listen. And she loved what she heard. “I thought well I’ll be damned – that sounds fantastic.”
It was also affirming to know that in many ways, she’s still that same girl she heard on that CD in terms of style and creative vision.
“I look back at this record with such affection,” she says. “No regrets, just happiness that it all came together so well and sounds so right today. The nostalgia part of it has been so fun.”
Growing up in Merlin, Ontario, Wright heard the rhythm & blues and Motown hits coming out of Detroit, just 45 minutes away.
A passion for music continued to develop as did a powerful voice – Wright soon found herself drawn to making music and finding it a natural career choice. Back in the mid-1980s, she started out with Marilynn Caswell who was the main country music talent booker at the time.
“Mostly we played cover songs, but I had made a cassette tape of myself singing a Judds song, Mama He’s Crazy. So when Marilynne told me that Brian Ferriman, who had a label in Toronto, was looking for a female artist, I sent him the tape.”
That led to a recording and management deal that has lasted more than 25 years. Steve Bogard and Rick Giles wrote seven of the 11 tunes on Do Right By Be, and went on to produce the disc as well.
Three of the sons vaulted into the Top 10 including the title track. The tunes continue to resonate with listeners today and of course remain popular staples at concerts.
“It surprises me sometimes. The fans on facebook ask me about these songs all the time, and when I sing them people even know the words,” she says. “I hope people who have been following me for a long time will enjoy having the record available again, and the new fans will be able to discover where I started.”
Do Right By Me proved a major hit in Canada, and opened doors in the U.S. as well. Wright relocated to Nashville and a successful career continued to take shape. In 1992 she released Now & Then which spawned the U.S. Top Ten hit Take It Like A Man.
The Academy of Country Music named Wright Top New Female Vocalist in 1993. And the momentum generated by 1994’s The Reasons Why enabled her to headline a 40-city Canadian concert tour during the first quarter of 1995.
For Me It’s You followed in 1996. Michelle Wright: The Greatest Hits Collection marked the start of the new millennium. Shut Up and Kiss Me followed in 2002 and Everything and More in 2006.
Amidst her musical journey, she’s also made time to give back. Teaming up with World Vision, she traveled to Zambia in 2002 to learn firsthand about World Vision’s works in that aids-ravaged country.
In 2004 she headed to Honduras.
Ultimately, it’s been a fabulous ride for Wright, and she relishes every moment of it. More than anything she’s grateful for the loyalty of fans, which allows her to continue on a path she never grows weary of.
“I love to be on the road and I love that people want to hear me sing.”
For tickets, visit the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre at www.blackknightinn.ca or call 403-755-6626.