Justin Hines

Justin Hines

Justin Hines touring to help local charities

Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Hines will be performing at the Baptist Church next week to raise money for a Colombian church.

Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Hines will be performing at the Baptist Church next week to raise money for a Colombian church.

Hines is on a 10-week tour across Canada called Vehicle of Change in which he’s donating all the proceeds from the shows to local charities. In Revelstoke, the money will be going to El Redil Sur in Medellin, Colombia, that the Revelstoke Baptist Church works with to teach English.

“Basically the idea was conceived to do something a little different this time around with touring, something a little more meaningful than a typical music tour,” said Hines over the phone during a tour stop in Winnipeg. “The idea of doing something different and meaningful was the mandate. We tried to create a situation of being inclusive of all kinds of different charities and all kinds of different people.”

Hines was born with Larsen Syndrome, a joint dislocation condition that has him permanently using a wheelchair. He grew up singing in church but his first big exposure was at the age of 14, when he won a competition to sing the American and Canadian anthems at a Toronto Raptors basketball game.

From there he want on to do kids shows, telethons and more until seven years ago, when he signed his first record deal and his career took off. He said he’s inspired by John Mellencamp, Jim Croce, Carole King, Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan.

He released his first album, Sides, in 2007 and followed it up with a pair of albums in 2009 – Chasing Silver and Season’s Greetings. In 2011 he released Days to Recall and in May he released his latest album, How we Fly.

“It was an album we did in a pretty challenging time. I had some health challenges that was affecting my voice a little bit and we weren’t sure what it was going to look like for the future. We got through it and I’m coming out of the other end of it now,” he said. “I’m really glad we did the record because it’s a snapshot of that time and it’s interesting what happens when you pour that kind of nervous energy and uncertainty into something like music, and it’s interesting what can happen.

“My voice is a little gravelliier and a little raspier, and the writing as well is a little bluer than some of the stuff I’ve done in the past,” he added. “But I’m a hopeful guy so I have a hard time doing anything too negative.”

Hines’ singing career has taken him around the world, to Europe, the Middle East, China and all over North America. Amongst his career highlights were performing at the Beijing and Vancouver Olympics. “That was a big honour for me,” he said. “I got my own TV special once. That was pretty cool.”

One common theme in his career is doing charity performances. He once rappelled down a 33-story building in San Diego for charity, put together a PBS special to raise support for parts of the U.S. hurt by flooding, and launched a campaign to help schools in South Africa. The Vehicle of Change tour is his latest charitable effort.

“It’s a privilege to be in the position where you can do that,” he said. “In music or any form of entertainment, you have a public outlet to have that kind of ability to spread word of mouth. It’s something we felt we should do.”

Hines is being backed up the duo Ash & Bloom on this tour. He said to expect lots of storytelling in his show, and not a lot of choreography, he joked.

“The people I grew up listening to were great storytellers, both in their music and their presentation,” he said. “I really like interacting with the audiences that way and hopefully we can connect on more of an emotional level rather than it just being entertainment.”

Justin Hines is performing at the Revelstoke Baptist Church at 1608 Colbeck Road on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. Entrance is by donation and all proceeds go to the El Redil Sur in Medellin, Colombia.