A little piece of Saskatchewan in the Maritimes
You can’t keep a good Saskatchewan musician down.
Jeffery Straker proved that June 10th as he wrapped up his North Star Falling tour at the Company House in Halifax.
Being from Saskatchewan myself, it was a little piece of home I was able to latch on to.
Whether he is pounding on the piano keys or belting out his smooth pop folk tunes, it is obvious that Jeffery Straker belongs on a stage.
He has such a stage presence and friendly personality that he fluidly moves from soulful melodies to laughing with the crowd. Before every song, he tells the story of how he came to write and sing it for audiences from coast to coast and even in the United States and South America.
Since starting his tour on March 10th, he’d been hopping around the country and hitting some
venues in the Canada and the United States playing shows. He doesn’t get homesick though, he admits sheepishly.
Who would have guessed that this amazing singer/songwriter, whose stylings have been compared to Billy Joel and Elton John (I can see where the comparisons comes from), had his start in the 300 person Saskatchewan prairie town of Punnichy.
But of course Straker doesn’t keep that a secret.
I was curious how he identifies; a Saskatchewan musician or a musician from Saskatchewan. Right away he caught my meaning since he’s been pondering that same question for a while.
“I don’t constantly sit down with the goal of telling a Saskatchewan story but sometimes I do because I’m from there.”
A lot of his songs have their roots in his small prairie town. For Straker, music was his outlet growing, his way to express himself and his way to stay sane, he laughs, in a typical Canadian town where most of the kids would rather have played hockey than make music.
Coming from a musical family, music was a priority.
“Everyone got that of course it would make sense that I was musical too but to pursue it the way I did. I was the first one to take the reins and be very serious about it.”
From playing to a couple thousand people with the Regina and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras to recording at the Glenn Gould studio with CBC Music, Straker gets surprised sometimes by how far his music has come.
“Those [big shows] are kind of crazy because it’s a couple thousand people who’ve come to hear your songs,” he says. “Those are moments when you realize, ‘jeepers, this is serious.’”
There is still something about smaller shows, Straker says. Out of all the shows he got to play in the Maritimes, he singled out the house show he played at in Fredericton as his absolute favourite place to perform.
“There’s something about that intimacy in those little rooms where you can hear a pin drop and you can see the expression on everyone’s faces. That I just love.”
From the cuisine to the house parties to the people, the East Coast treated Straker well.
Check out his website here: http://jeffstraker.com/
Listen to my favourite Jeffery Straker song here: Walk Away