Meaghan Blanchard performing in launch of new deCoste series

Amanda Jess
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PICTOU – Discovering a musician before everyone else can feel like an accomplishment. The deCoste Centre recognizes that and wants to help create that feeling.

P.E.I. singer-songwriter Meaghan Blanchard will be performing at the deCoste Centre in Pictou Sept. 24 with UK banjo player Dan Walsh. The show is part of a new endeavour in the Murray Room called the discovery series, which allows for people to grab a glimpse of emerging artists they may not have heard before. SUBMITTED

Their new discovery series in the Murray Room gives emerging artists an intimate place to perform in an area where people may not have heard of them yet. 

Meaghan Blanchard and Dan Walsh are first up to introduce themselves to the community on Sept. 24. 

“It’s gonna be a great show,” says Blanchard, a MusicPEI and ECMA award winner from Prince Edward Island.

Blanchard may be young, but she’s no stranger to the music scene. The red-haired country singer-songwriter has been using her stellar pipes since she was a child and hasn’t stopped since.

She’s toured across the country, played 47 shows during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 and performed for William and Kate during their royal visit in 2011.

More recently, she recorded a new album in Athens, Georgia, with producer John Keane, who has worked with bands such as REM and the B-52’s.

“It’s definitely a record worth listening to,” she says of the “mixed bag” of tunes. 

The 12 tracks on She’s Gonna Fly go from danceable county-pop to ballads that are close to Blanchard’s heart.

The CD release party is tomorrow in Charlottetown.

The Pictou show offers her a chance to play some of her new songs, but it’s also part of her Maritime tour with Dan Walsh, a banjo player from England.

Their tour is part of an exchange that allows the two artists to feed off each other in the songwriting process.

Together, they’ve written two pieces they’ll present at the MusicPEI showcase on Sunday before they go on the road.

“It’s almost like speed dating,” Blanchard says of the platonic partnership. She says the turnaround was quick with only a week for meeting, writing and presenting.

The co-writing went well, she says, partly because they’re both in their 20s and have a love of story-telling.

Troy Greencorn, creative director at the deCoste Centre, says the bright stars are a great collaboration. 

He’s happy to offer them up for the discovery series. They sifted through a lot of artists before choosing four “real gems” for the two shows.

“I think any of these four could carry a show on their own on the big stage,” Greencorn says. 

The only reason they’re not on the main stage at the Pictou venue is because people may not know them yet.

The other show on Oct. 5 features big names from this past year’s Stan Rogers Festival. 

“People were really digging them both,” Greencorn says of Belle Starr and Jordie Lane.

When Greencorn heard they were touring together, he was quick to bring them in.

The series also gives people a chance to see music at a lower price point.

Each show will be $15, as opposed to their typical prices between $25 and $50.

“It’s a pilot to see if the community is receptive to come out and see the show.” 

Both shows will begin at 8 p.m.

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Vancouver, Athens, Georgia Charlottetown England

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