It has been a long time coming.
For two years, Mark Perry has been dealing with concert cancellations. It looked like that was changing last summer. With the impending release of his 2021 album Northwest, Perry had a northern B.C. tour lined up starting with a headlining gig at the Bulkley Valley Exhibition.
While the Fall Fair show went ahead, surging COVID-19 numbers cancelled the rest of that tour.
Nevertheless, Perry released the album Oct. 21 promising new concert dates as soon as possible.
That time has come.
On April 22, the Smithers singer-songwriter, known for his troubadour-style story-telling that chronicles life in Northwest B.C., will be on stage again at the Della Herman Theatre at Smithers Secondary School.
Perry is looking forward to it with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.
“I’ll believe it when I walk in the door,” he joked. “We had so many bookings, and so (many) people, like Sandra Smith did so much work and she’s a fantastic person, and to have them all fall through, we had so much good work lined up, and we already tried to do one in Smithers and it got cancelled and it’s been that way for a couple of years.
“I think it’s a relief and I hope we don’t get so psyche up that we can’t even talk.”
The much-anticipated album release show will feature a pared-down folksy version of the songs from Northwest, Perry’s 13th studio album, as well as other old favourites.
The album was written and recorded remotely across Canada with Perry sending songs back and forth from his Smithers home studio to his producer in Yukon and musicians in Victoria, Toronto, Whitehorse and Telkwa.
While putting together the full band, as he did at the Fall Fair, was an option, Perry decided to go bare-bones with the album release.
“It’s hard to emulate an album,” he said. “The folky, rootsy approach, it just feels natural and easy and it connects with people.”
Perry had an opportunity to try it out recently with a mini-tour that took him to Vancouver, Calgary, and Nanton, Alta. along with Mark Thibeault and Ian Olmstead.
“It went over really well,” he said. “When we played Vancouver, they really seemed to enjoy it. They never threw anything at us; it was really good. And Nanton, people seemed to really get it.”
At Della Herman, Thibeault will be on pedal steel and electric guitar with Olmstead on bass and accordion. They will also be joined by Richard Jenne on percussion.
Tickets are $25 at Mountain Eagle Books and Mills Interior Stationery. CDs will be available at the concert with 10 per cent of sales going to the local food bank.