Valdy still writing songs about freedom
Paul Valdemar Horsdal got a phone call in early June
The caller wanted to know if — should he be nominated — he would accept the Order of Canada.
“I didn’t say ‘Duh’,” Horsdal said with a laugh. “And, then he told me I was getting it and I couldn’t say anything to anyone about it until it was announced on July 1.
“So, I forgot about it,” said the man most Canadians know simply as Valdy.
“And then, I got a text from someone in Calgary on June 30 congratulating me. The Globe and Mail had released the information.”
He’s proudly wearing the pin that signifies the honour, Valdy said, and accepted it “in the name of all music instructors everywhere in Canada.”
Valdy is passionate about music, about its role in society, about how it enhances life — and about how it’s being given, in his view, not nearly enough attention by government.
It’s why he’s about to embark on his 11th tour of the Interior with his longtime friend, Gary Fjellgaard, all to support the George Ryga Centre.
Touring as The Contenders, the pair takes the stage at Sagebrush Theatre on Oct. 29.
He’s happy to help the Summerland-based centre named for the renowned B.C. playwright that mentors and fosters writers and artists.
“It is an important place,” Valdy said. “It gives writers who are the voice of dissent a place to go because, in our [Stephen] Harper world, they’re never gonna get a cent to be writers.
“So, we sing about it — but they write about it.”
Valdy’s still a militant on issues that matter to him, but said “the edges have been knocked off a bit from all the mileage” he’s experienced in his decades-long career.
“But, you have to stand up for things once in a while.”
He loves playing at the Sagebrush, he said, because it’s the kind of place built for his kind of music.
“It has beautiful sound there and they have this sound guy there, Doug Perry, who has a very good ear.”
Talking about the theatre that is also home to the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra takes Valdy into another musical direction in the conversation.
“We forget about how much work the musicians in symphonies put in. They practise for hours every day and then there are the rehearsals for the shows.
“There is such a huge amount of work that goes into one show.”
Classical music is as vital as dissent in some ways for Valdy — it will always find a way to exist.
“If the symphonies all tanked, we’d see classical music start to show up in bars and smaller places.
“It will always find a way.”
He’ll be adding to the body of Canadian music in coming months as he finishes off another studio recording, tentatively titled Read Between the Lines.
For those who think of him just as the guy who sang Play Me A Rock and Roll Song — and haven’t heard anything else since it was released in 1972, they may be surprised.
“It’s very inconsistent,” He said. “It goes from acoustic to full rock.”
There are horns, woodwinds and brass included and, although there are no strings yet, “we may use some to fill in some gaps.”
He hopes it will be released by the end of the year.
Tickets for the Sagebrush show are available at the Kamloops Live box office, 1025 Lorne St., 250-374-5483, kamloopslive.ca.