“I haven’t played the Kootenays since last winter,” remarks roots songwriter Stephen Palmer. “I did a show at the Snoring Sasquatch in Creston: very friendly room! I played for the Kootenay Bluegrass Association and had a great jam session afterwards with lots of acoustic pickers; I played Silverton…a very historic area which gave me a lot of good song ideas!”
So here’s hoping Mr. Palmer receives much more memorable song ideas when he performs live at BJ’s Creekside Pub in Kimberley the evening of Thursday, August 1.
“Songwriting’s definitely an ongoing process with me,” Palmer admits. “I get a lot of my best ideas on the road, and I get lots of inspiration from other pickers and writers, young and older…always lots of new material. After over 47 years of gigging, I love touring more and more. I love meeting new people and playing for new audiences, and I always enjoy performing my own music. It’s been better since I started playing my best music for people, rather than following some bar manager’s hackneyed formula for maximum alcohol consumption. People can always tell when it’s the real goods, and it’s just what they deserve for taking the time out to come to my shows.”
Stephen Palmer cut his teeth musically in the late-1960s with Edmonton’s psychedelic rock band Graeme Wafer, moving to country-rock in the early 1970s with Sweetgrass. Building solid musical respect across western Canada through the rest of the ’70s as a formidable guitarist, Palmer moved into singer-songwriter mode in the 1980s.
After living on Vancouver Island for many years, Palmer has called Moose Jaw home for the better part of a decade, and obviously loves it and the musical cronies he associates with.
“Deep Dark Woods are amazing,” Palmer says. “Jack Semple can play blues, jazz, or folk extremely well. North America’s guitar champion Bob Evans is from Regina. In May I played two shows for about a thousand 16-year-old high-school choir and band kids at the Mae Wilson Theatre… I encored with “Ring of Fire” and they sang the roof off!”
Palmer’s new album Prairie Airs will be released this coming winter, featuring mostly original material and a brisk take on Stompin’ Tom Connors’ “Roll On Saskatchewan.” With music indeed keeping him young, the good-natured Stephen Palmer looks set to keep on keeping on as long as his guitar’s strung and tuned. “It just keeps getting better and better, the longer you can keep it going. No wonder Gordon Lightfoot isn’t retiring!”
Stephen Palmer performs live at BJ’s Creekside Pub at 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 1.