by Joan of Arts
I see London, I see Francey
In terms of starting a music career, David Francey is a late bloomer. His debut, Torn Screen Door, was released in 1999 when the roots artist was 45 years old. “I wrote for myself and was happy doing so. It was my wife, Beth Girdler, who convinced me to perform my songs for other people,” says the two-time Juno winner. “From the very first show the songs were well-received.” Francey is known for expressing political themes in his music. Two of his new songs, “Fourth of July” and “Wishing Well” refer to the execution of Timothy McVeigh and a post-September 11 America. “I never know from day to day what I will be writing about next. The process for me often involves images and thoughts randomly noted in my head, which are then, in turn, distilled over time until they are ready to come out. At this time I am writing a fair bit about a trip I took on an ore boat on the Great Lakes in May and June of this year,” he says. “Right now I’m more interested in the NHL returning than our current political climate. I am a lifelong Leaf fan, which, come to think of it, periodically gets depressing too.” Francey performs October 6 and 7 at the Celtic Corner Public House in Dartmouth.
Don Vail reveals itself
Three parts of defunct Hamilton group Chore are busy as ever. Frontman Chris Bell has already brought his new project Alive and Living to the city, returning November 10 at the Attic. Two other ex-Chore members — drummer Dave Dunham and guitarist Mitch Bowden— will kick off the Halifax Pop Explosion on October 12 at Stage Nine. The group, taking a page out of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s book by naming itself after a schoolteacher, is known as Don Vail. “Chore always did well in Halifax, so it’ll be nice to play these new songs for Chore fans,” says Dunham. “I think they’ll enjoy them.” Don Vail maintains Chore’s energy while making a few adjustments. “Take the most melodic Chore moments and make them better,” he says. “And add in some delicious guitar playing and tasty drum licks. And guitar solos. That’s Don Vail.” Rounding out the foursome are Sonic Unyon recording engineer Donny Cooper on bass, and guitarist/songwriter Bill Priddle, who penned most of the tunes on Treble Charger’s 1997 critically acclaimed Maybe it’s Me. Near the time of TC’s demise, he had been relegated to guitarist and was ultimately fired as a consequence of his disgruntled attitude toward their increasingly fashionable sound. Don Vail is happy to have him. “Bill moved to Dunnville, our hometown. Mitch met him on the golf course,” says Dunham. “He moved into our rehearsal space, and then volunteered to play guitar for us. He has a lovely home, as well.”
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