Local folk upstart to play Key City Theatre

Cranbrook's Connor Foote joins Valdy, Ken Hamm at OCt. 27 concert.

Connor Foote

Connor Foote

Ferdy Belland

“I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed to be sharing a stage with such huge artists,” admits Cranbrook’s country-folk troubadour Connor Foote, who will appear live at the Key City Theatre on October 27 in support of Canadian folk legends Valdy and Ken Hamm.

“It’s obviously a huge honour. There’s definitely a lot of local musicians besides me who would fit the role of the opening act, but of course I’m very excited that it’s me!”

Despite his youth, Connor Foote has been building a strong local reputation among the Cranbrook/Kimberley music scene as a gifted alternative-country songwriter and a compelling live performer. Foote’s jangly acoustic tunes of low-down heartache, drifter’s blues, and beer-sodden debauchery are born from true earthy experience across the Kootenays and the West Coast.

“I was on my way to the library when I was stopped on the street by one of the concert promoters. This fellow told me he was working hard to get me on the show, and lo and behold … here we are! I was suitably inspired to quickly look up Valdy online and thought: it’s Gordon Lightfoot’s twin brother!”

Foote grew up in a musical family who enthusiastically encouraged his obvious artistic passion; his grandfather is the famed local gospel-country musician Ed King. “I’ve been playing guitar for five years,” says Foote. “Drums were my first instrument, but I got into guitar because I couldn’t set up my kit and play in the places I was living in at the time. I didn’t want my family to get evicted from endless noise complaints, but I sure didn’t want to stop playing music! My sister Jacia had an Epiphone SG electric guitar, so I’d always grab that and learn Eric Clapton riffs. Copping licks and riffs from every song I could. I ran with rock and roll for a while before delving into the folk-rock and alternative-country dudes…Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt. That lead me backwards to John Prine, which lead me further backwards to Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan, which landed me on Woody Guthrie and the Carter Family! And now I’m just confused, because I like everything I hear.”

Foote is focusing more and more on seriously pursuing his solo musical career, come what may. Recent performances with noted Saskatoon folkie Zachary Lucky (at Fernie BC’s Arts Station) and Cranbrook musical ex-pat Dirty Luke have kept his talents sharp, and he’ll be hitting the Key City Theatre stage running following a month-long pub crawl of Ireland.

When asked of his musical ambitions, Foote replies: “I just want to write a good song. I know that’s cliche, and everybody says that, but I’m never really satisfied with any song that I write. I guess every songwriter says that, too. There could always been something else said, something done better, and I just want to grow on that. I want to keep writing songs and making the next one better than the last. After I return from Ireland I’ll be saving up to record my debut album, ten or eleven songs. I want these songs documented …dissatisfaction or no!”

Foote eventually plans to move back to Vancouver to immerse himself back into the bustling West Coast alternative-country scene, where he has already spent good time making his mark. “I was playing in no less than three bands when I was in the city,” remarks Foote. “All my musician friends are there: Ben Rogers, the Sumner Brothers, Ola Olak, King Fisher, Miss Quincy, Dustin Bentall…”

Not that Foote has any reservations of being an East Kootenay musician. “It’s definitely growing and getting good around here for live music,” says Foote. “And I’m very happy to be part of it. I’m still learning, and still becoming aware more and more of the talent around here. I’m excited to be part of the recent local resurgence!”

The Fisher Peak Performing Artists Society (FPPAS) presents Valdy and Ken Hamm in concert at the Key City Theatre Tuesday, Oct. 27.