By Emma McCombe, Special to the Review
When you’ve been touring for as long as Fred Eaglesmith has, being able to bring your wife on the road certainly helps.
“I’m touring with my wife, so that’s easy,” said Eaglesmith. “I don’t have a lot of friends because I’m not home to make friends. I have some on the road but generally my life is my wife and I in our bus driving around North America.”
Tif Ginn, herself a talented singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has mastered seven instruments, is accompanying Eaglesmith when they play at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre this Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Eaglesmith first started writing his songs when he was only 12 years old. He grew up poor, ran away from home, hopped freight trains and struggled to find his way until he finally found success as a songwriter and performer.
Fifty years and 22 albums later, the Canadian alternative country singer-songwriter is still going strong. He has enjoyed a distinguished career and shared the stage with musical legends like Willy Nelson and George Jones.
The little perks of fame and prominence have lead to some of the most memorable moments of his musical career.
“At the border one time they had stopped us on the way into Canada and a guy comes up behind us and he says ‘Do you know who this guy is?” Eaglesmith said.
“There’s some great times when I’ve been on the side of the road with a broken down bus and somebody comes along and just helps me get the bus down the road,” he continued. “I have a lot of funny stories like that. Real, sort of, angels in the world who have come along.”
Touring means Eaglesmith performs most nights and travels in between performances. Although these hours are demanding he looks on the brighter side, appreciating the career and life that he has.
“When I was a kid everybody wanted to do this. Everybody wanted to be a touring rock and roll musician and I still am one,” he said. “Everyday I just feel fortunate and lucky that I get to do this.”
A lifetime of influences from Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and later the Rolling Stones, Beatles and other similar folk and rock artists have shaped Eaglesmith’s sound.
“I’ve been a sponge. There was so many, I mean, it’s unbelievable, it sort of progressed as I got older,” he said.
While Eaglesmith’s career achievements are desirable, it doesn’t come easily. Managing the up’s and downs of life, balancing the demands of success and keeping up with obligations to family are ongoing struggles. While he tours with his talented, musician wife, he also enjoys the unique musical abilities of his children.
“My children are quite musical, they really love it,” Eaglesmith said. “They have a passion for it, but they’re not out there playing, they’re playing at home. They are very original, they’re very talented.”
For all of the die hard fans of Eaglesmith, or ‘Fredheads’, and anyone starting out in the music industry, Eaglesmith offers a word of advice when it comes to making it all happen and managing your nerves when it does.
“The first day you went into work, you were nervous remember? And then never were again and that’s how I am,” he said. “To be performing is like when you go into work. It’s like all things. You just have to do it a million times. Just get up there and do it.”
Fred Eaglesmith performs at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available at the Visitor Information Centre, ArtFirst or online at www.revelstokeartscouncil.bigcartel.com.