Words and photos by Rod Wilson
In this day and age performers like Geordie Tentrees are labelled as Singer / Song writers. In Geordie’s case that is true but it is not the whole story. Singer / Song writers can run the whole gamut from trivial pop music through the most esoteric music possible. In a different era Geordie would have been simply labelled as a “Folk Singer” but these days that is a rather a quaint label to hang on an artist.
When was the last time you saw “Folk Singer” given any promotional prominence? Never-the-less, that’s what Geordie is, an honest-to-goodness folk singer and storyteller in the tradition of Woody Gutherie (without the politics), Pete Seeger (without the banjo), John Prine (without the twang) and, closer to home, the Canadians Freddie Eaglesmith and David Francy. With these masters the story is the thing and in Geordie’s case the songs are slices of life polished to a gem like lustre to enhance the story.
Geordie Tentrees (vocal, guitar, harmonica, Dobro, foot tambourine and stomp box) was accompanied by his side kick, the “ikon of the Yukon”, Bob Hamilton on pedal steel guitar, mandolin and arc top guitar.
They travelled down from Whitehorse in the Yukon to do a string of twelve performances and, despite the horrendous weather, torrential rains, floods, wash outs and road closures they made it all the way through to Kimberley for their last gig of the tour on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2021. The next day they headed off to Calgary for the long trip back up north to their home base in Whitehorse. That is a lot of kilometres to traverse to play twelve gigs in venues governed by strict COVID rules.
The show opened with some nice, gentle pedal steel guitar on the song Wind Walker. For the next hour and a half the audience was treated to a plethora of stories and songs that touched on Far Away Friends, Ring Speed (experiences as a boxer), Bye Gone Days (a desire to rewrite Canadian history), Craft Beards and Man Buns (dubious man fashions), Less is More (you don’t have to be a deadbeat dad), a Tlingit song and lots of stories culled from and interesting life that started in Bancroft, Ontario then across Canada and the world.
Along the way he spent time in New Zealand and Western Australia and in one of my favourite places: Byron Bay, New South Wales.
Bob Hamilton played his appointed role as an accompanist on Pedal steel guitar in a C6 tuning (for those interested in that sort of thing), some driving mandolin and arc top guitar.
Geordie gave him lots of solo space and spiced up the music with some tasteful foot tambourine and stomp box. Because of covid restrictions there was no interval. In these trying times we are thankful for the Kimberley crew who planned and organised the evening’s music. Well done guys.