“I like them both,” said the singer-songwriter from Rustico, P.E.I. “I like big crowds – it’s great fun playing festivals and there’s something special, for sure, about taking it down to a small hall.”
He said smaller locations allow the show to change “on a whim” with suggestions from the audience. “I do like the intimacy.”
Gallant, an 18-time East Coast Music Award winner who also has one Canadian Folk Music Award and three Juno nominations to his credit, will play in a smaller venue on Friday when he returns to the Merigomish Schoolhouse Community Centre, where the capacity is 139 guests.
He performed two shows there last summer. “I love playing there, it’s a beautiful little building, and the sound is great,” he said. “I had a great time there last year.”
Gallant will bring a trio of musicians with him for the concert – Sean Kemp playing violin and two of his nephews – Jeremy Gallant on keyboard and Mitchell Gallant on percussion.
He said the audience can expect to hear songs from his 11 albums, plus some new material from his next project, which hasn’t been recorded yet. “I’m hoping to get into the studio and have a new album by next summer. We’ll do a song or two from that.”
Gallant has nine albums in English and two in French to his credit, and his songs have been recorded by more than 30 artists. He was inducted into the Order of Canada, and is known for songs that chronicle the lives of people dealing with adversity such as Peter’s Dream, Island Clay, Man of Steel and The Hope for Next Year.
Gallant was the recipient of two 2017 ECMA awards – Fans’ Choice Entertainer of the Year and Folk Recording of the Year for Searching for Abegweit.
Searching for Abegweit: The Island Songs and Stories of Lennie Gallant is a musical-theatre show that he debuted four years ago. He’s done 130 performances of the production, which marries his songs with paintings by his sister Karen Gallant, and is so popular that he continues to perform it. This summer the show has taken up residence at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside, P.E.I., on Tuesdays and Wednesdays every second week, which allows him to tour on the other days of the week.
“It was always a dream of mine to take the songs and stories, put them under one umbrella, and create a show celebrating P.E.I.,” said Gallant.
He said the show requires a nine-person crew and is too big for the local venue, but he will have copies of the 22-song Searching for Abegweit CD and a book called Peter’s Dream, which showcases paintings from the show, available for sale in Merigomish.
“I'm really looking forward to being there. It’s a lovely little renovated schoolhouse. We’ll have a fantastic time. I hope people come check it out.”
IF YOU GO
Lennie Gallant in concert
Merigomish Schoolhouse Community Centre
Tickets $30, available at LBR Gas Bar, H&R Music, New Glasgow; eventbrite.ca or call 902-926-2116
19 years and over