NEW GLASGOW – If you’ve been to a show to see Lennie Gallant before, it’s clear he’s one of the most talented East Coast singer and songwriters of all time. According to Gallant he’s still working at that.
“I think that you tend to learn more about your craft as you go along and learn that sometimes less is more,” he said. “I think you get more comfortable with what you’re doing. I’ve gained confidence in my writing to the point that I think I’m more comfortable on stage. I’ve had fans come up to me recently and say shows have been the best they’ve ever been and they keep getting better and better. I like that feedback.”
His superb songwriting was recognized in March at the 25th annual East Coast Music Week during CBC’s Top 10 East Coast songs of all time, with “Peter’s Dream” being No. 4. He said he wasn’t able to attend the performance or show, but heard it live on the radio.
“I was pretty blown away by it,” he said. “I found it a little odd that it’s the Top 10 East Coast songs of all time. I kind of joked about it and said ‘does that mean we’re locked in and nothing else written after that can make the list?’ I found that a little funny and laughed about it. At same it was a major honour to have my song voted onto that list.”
He continued, saying that having others perform the songs as part of the ceremony was something special, especially hearing his song with Maureen Ennis interpreting it.
“The most terrific thing about it all was they had other people interpreting the songs,” he said. “Hearing Maureen sing ‘Peter’s Dream’, she knocked it out of the park. I wasn’t there, but heard it on the radio. When I heard her singing it, it was like she made the song new again. I was moved to have someone else singing it and having the opportunity to listen to it. It wasn’t ‘my song’ because she put such an interesting interpretation on it and I really enjoyed that.
“There are so many fantastic songs that have been written in this part of world that I didn’t really expect to be named, but it was a very nice surprise to find myself on the list.”
Next Thursday the recipient of 15 East Coast Music Awards and three time Juno Award nominee will perform at Glasgow Square in New Glasgow. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the show at 8 p.m. He will be joined on stage by his nephew Jeremy Gallant on keyboard and Anthony Rissesco on fiddle.
When asked if there are any particular songs fans ask to hear at shows he said that they tend to change from show to show, but “Peter’s Song” and “Pieces of You” tend to be two that are requested regularly.
“It’s interesting and I’ve been asked that before,” said Gallant. “In terms of one song I’d like to play or that fans want to hear, it changes with each show. I’ve played a few times with Symphony Nova Scotia and it changed everything. The orchestra brought songs to life that you wouldn’t necessary think you’d really enjoy playing in a certain setting. It really seems to be constantly moving and changing and there’s not one song I like to play over others. I know it’s not the best analogy to use, but it’s like asking which one of your kids is special. You don’t really want to do that. You want to give each song its own space.”
According to Gallant it was a performance with Symphony Nova Scotia this year that was one of the most amazing of his career. Although they accompanied him twice this year, it was their performance in Lunenburg at St. John’s Anglican Church that stood out.
“When we played the first show this year the orchestra was miked up, but when we played in Lunenburg they said they were playing without mikes that night,” he said. “I wondered if it would carry because myself and my players were miked. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but when we started the music seemed to resonate throughout the church and come back to us. It was magical that night. My biggest regret was that we weren’t able to record that night.
“It was the most satisfying night of my career so far. All the stars just seemed to align.”
Tickets for Gallant’s show next week are $25 advance or $30 at the door. They can be purchased at the Glasgow Box Office, by phone 1-888-311-9090 or online at TicketPro.com.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris