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Annual Brackendale songwriter event adds Whistler show this year

Songwriter’s Cafe to follow Doing It For A Song

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What: Songwriters Café/Doing It For a Song featuring Norman Foote, Jim Byrnes, Roy Forbes, Babe Gurr and Bruce Greenwood

Where: Brackendale Art Gallery - Sunday, March 6, 8 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place - Monday, March 7, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $20 (Brackendale), $20/$14.50 (Whistler)

A collaborative event of West Coast songwriting talent held annually at the Brackendale Art Gallery has added an additional date in Whistler this year.

And what a year to spread the wealth!

The lineup features Norman Foote, a well-known children’s entertainer equally adept at writing for a more mature demographic. Foote will be joined by Vancouver-based bluesman Jim Byrnes, roots musician Roy Forbes, adult contemporary artist Babe Gurr and Bruce Greenwood, a respected Hollywood and independent film actor, known to also strum a chord and sing a note or two. Squamish acoustic duo the Iocovones are also in the lineup for the Brackendale event but will not perform in Whistler.

The Brackendale concert – tagged Doing It for a Song – takes place Sunday, March 6. The Whistler show – Songwriters Café – follows on Monday, March 7 at MY Place.

The Brackendale event is an annual initiative organized by Foote – a native son of Squamish now living in the Lower Mainland – modelled after the Bluebird North songwriter extravaganzas held regularly in Vancouver.

The intimacy of the West Coast adult contemporary music scene means most of the performers have played together in the past. Forbes was called in to play guitar on Gurr’s fourth CD Porch Alley , slated for release on April 2. Greenwood and Foote go back decades, with the actor executive producing Foote’s first CD. Almost all have shared the stage in some form or another, and most are involved with the Motown Meltdown event at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on the Saturday night before Brackendale.

"We’re all buds, you know?" Forbes said. "It’s fun to do these events. It’s all community building. Songwriting can be kind of a lonely thing. You sit there with your guitar and sometimes you wonder if there are other people out there like you."

Despite the element of collaboration Foote emphasized that both Doing It For A Song and the Songwriters Café are concert events and not folk festival-style workshops.

It’s something the folks in Brackendale probably don’t need to be told. Foote’s songwriter nights are old hat at Thor and Dorte Froslev’s cultural haven, which has hosted all the performers in the upcoming events several times over. Forbes remembers playing as a 21 year old in the mid-1970s.

Brand spanking new Millennium Place has a ways to go before it can boast a comparable tradition of hosting high-calibre West Coast songwriting performers. But the amount of talent coming in for Monday’s Songwriters Café is one helluva boost.

For more information on Doing It For A Song call the Brackendale Art Gallery at 604-898-3333. For the Songwriters Cafe in Whistler call MY Place at 604-935-8410.

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