Two concerts in one

Rodney DeCroo and Herald Nix team up for Lotus show, June 13

Ferdy Belland

“I prefer alternate venues,” admits singer-songwriter Rodney DeCroo, “especially for solo shows.

“My songs are lyric-driven. I want to play shows for listening audiences so they can connect with the song. That means I’ve been playing in art galleries, the odd theatre, bookstores, house concerts, and such.

“Pubs and cabarets are okay for band-oriented shows, but it’s not the best way to connect with an audience. There’s are always people in a bar that aren’t there for the show, and they often ruin the show for the people who want to hear. Especially if the songs are quiet, or lyric-focused.”

So says Vancouver’s roots-folk maverick troubadour, who appears live in concert at Lotus Books the evening of Thursday June 13.

Born in a Pennsylvanian coal-mining town, DeCroo is the son of a troubled ex-US Marine who deserted the military to avoid a second tour of duty in Vietnam and fled with his family to British Columbia. After a troubled, tumultuous childhood, the young Rodney found solace and focus in music, and for many years has been recording critically-acclaimed underground folk albums for the Vancouver-based Modern Electric label: Rodney DeCroo and the Killers (2005), War Torn Man (2006), Truckers Memorial (2006), Mockingbird Bible (2008), Queen Mary Trash (2010), and the spoken-word Allegheny (2012). DeCroo’s deeply personal world-weary lyrics are delivered with a sincere back-country drawl; the sentiments of pre-rehab Steve Earle with Dylanesque vocals. And there’s a Cranbrook connection, as well; DeCroo’s father managed the long-lost Tudor House Hotel for a spell.

“After I toured my album Queen Mary Trash, I parted ways with my band and stopped playing shows for over six months,” DeCroo said. “I’d been quite involved with the local scene before that, but I wanted time away from it. I spent a year and a half writing my book and making my record Allegheny, BC. I’d do the occasional solo show, but those were in intimate rental venues, like Little Mountain Gallery. I unplugged from the scene. Over the last two years things have changed a lot, so I’m a little out of the loop, but that’s fine by me. People come to my shows, and that’s what matters to me.”

Joining DeCroo on his current tour is Modern Electric labelmate Herald Nix, who has built a rabid Vancouver fanbase for his smoky, mysterious brand of roots-rock for nearly 30 years running,

Years before the terms “Americana” and “Alt-Country” were coined and fashionable, Nix displayed his stunning country-blues masterpieces to tightly-packed and mesmerized crowds. An eccentric yet compelling character (he rarely gives interviews), Nix is a truly unique talent, and his upcoming performance is indeed a community privilege.

“I’ve shared stages many times with Herald,” says DeCroo, “but this is the first time I’ve toured with him. I admire him greatly. There’s an unwavering commitment to his own vision.”

DeCroo also has a parallel career as a writer of prose, and has melded his two muses into a multimedia performance-art piece entitled Allegheny BC. “It’s about growing up in Pittsburgh,” he explains, “it consists of songs, poems and monologues. My double-bass player Mark Haney accompanies me and creates amazing soundscapes. We toured a rough version of the show and it went great. I’ll be doing ten nights at the Cultch in September, and at the Vancouver International Writers Festival. We’re doing intense rehearsals with a theatre director to hone the show and develop lighting design, video, etc.”

It would seem that DeCroo’s schedule is sewn up for the remainder of 2013. “I’m supposed to do some touring in Europe later in the year. My new album Campfires on the Moon is nearly finished, and I’m very excited about it. I’ve also been rehearsing with a rock band and plan to make a record with those guys…I think I’ll call it Strong is the Hold.”

With well over a hundred strong songs in his personal repertoire, DeCroo certainly has the experience and the talent to pass along to other singer-songwriters. “It all depends on what you want out of songwriting,” he explains. “I want to write good songs, and record and play them…on my terms. If that’s what’s important to an underground / indie songwriter, then my advice? Do exactly that; don’t make compromises with your work you can’t live with in order to get ahead. You’ll regret it later, and you’ll find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be. I’d like to be remembered as someone who wrote good, authentic songs that meant something, and made good, authentic records, and played some memorable shows; someone who stayed true to his own vision.”

Rodney DeCroo (left) and Herald Nix will be performing at Lotus Books in Cranbrook Thursday June 13; showtime 8 p.m. For more information call 250-426-3415.

Just Posted

The Kimberley Aquatic Centre is set to reopen its doors to the public on July 6, after being shut down due to the pandemic in March, 2020. The Centre will be initially operating with reduced occupancy and limited program offerings. Bulletin file.
Kimberley Aquatic Centre set to re-open July 6

New safety infrastructure, limited guests and programming allow facility to open again

Interior Health is reporting a COVID-19 exposure at Selkirk Secondary in Kimberley. Bulletin file.
COVID-19 case identified at Selkirk Secondary in Kimberley

Interior Health is conducting contact tracing

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

Calvin Dickson photo.
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for East Kootenay

Conditions favourable for the development of thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

x
It’s hard out there for a billionaire

I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that while many, many people… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Most Read