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Chris Gheran plays Rose and Crown

Calgarian Chris Gheran will bring his personal brand of folk music, along with card tricks, vegan soap and stories of shamans, to Banff’s Rose & Crown, May 29. The show will be the final date of two months of touring throughout Western Canada.
Chris Gheran
Chris Gheran

Calgarian Chris Gheran will bring his personal brand of folk music, along with card tricks, vegan soap and stories of shamans, to Banff’s Rose & Crown, May 29.

The show will be the final date of two months of touring throughout Western Canada.

“Touring is exhausting – a lot of driving and not much sleeping – but it gives you a lot of time to write new stuff too,” said Gheran. “I have found it’s interesting how friendly people are on the road. A lot of bar owners and other bands are super good, giving us places to stay and helping us out in any way. The kindness of strangers runs rampant on the open road.”

Gheran has played in Banff several times before. His first experience was at the Saltlik Restaurant, and his most recent show was at Wild Bill’s last fall.

“It was like a hockey night, so the hockey crowd and folk crowd was interesting mixing,” he said. “But I wasn’t assaulted, so I’ll put that in the positive category.”

Gheran explained how he was once attacked, though not harmed, by a man with a knife after a show, who was claiming to be a shaman. He expects no such crazy incidents this time.

“When I was really young I wanted to play guitar, and then I was pretty sure I was going to be a fighter pilot, but that was a pipe dream,” he said. “When I really started pursuing it was after I discovered The Beatles and seriously started listening to them.

“I started playing music in junior high, but only really got serious about five years ago,” he said, explaining the content and emotion are more important than ability. “I’m more focused on the lyrics.”

Gheran has released three albums in three years. His first, Monster (2008), rocks out with a hard folk style. Coup d’etat, released two years later, is a solo collection of unique perspectives on war, society and sweet love.

His third album, Calgary, released in March, is described as being “much like the city – if you don’t like the music, wait for the next song!”

“I play as much as I can and take every show that’s offered to me,” he said. “That’s what’s important to me, at this stage, to not get too picky or think that you’re awesome; to just stay humble and play as much as you can to make people aware that you’re out there. There’s like a million people making music in this city alone, it’s a little tough like that.”

Describing his own music is a difficult thing, said Gheran.

“It seems to change day to day,” he said. “I started out as rock, and then I went super folky, and now I find I’m returning to this strange amalgamated folk country rock. It’s whatever inspires me.

“Folk is such a flexible term, it’s more a feeling of the times than a specific style to me. I try to sing about the struggles in life nowadays.”

Through music, his aim is to examine the day-to-day inner workings of the modern man, he said.

“The stuff I really love to write is to expose something in a way that’s not a common way to show it, like trying to get inside somebody’s head and show their justifications,” he said. “I try to use a lot of classic comparisons, almost like taking a looking glass from the 1930s and examining through that. People will hear a lot of old terms. I don’t want to get too modern with it, I feel as a folk singer you have to carry on that lineage of the Woody Guthries and Bob Dylans.”

Music is based on emotion, not fact, he said.

“The interesting thing for me personally is that I look at folk music not as an isolated incident, but more we’re part of a long line. It’s a progression that we’re all working together, seeing where the music is going through us. That’s the way to go, that’s what music is about.”

If Gheran’s stage presence is anything like his interviewing style, the performance should be a very entertaining evening indeed.

To hear Gheran’s music, visit www.chrisgheran.com


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