Murray McLauchlan is a Canadian music icon.
But, more than that, he’s one heck of a good guy.
I was distressed and finding it hard to concentrate after helping my colleague Robert Barron with his story about Charleigh Fales, the little girl from Lake Cowichan who is struggling under the burden of a terrible disease. Hearing about things like that can really get to me, and it’s not always easy to click into Highly Professional Interviewer mode.
But McLauchlan, 71, is one of the increasing number of high profile performers who walks the walk, using his name and fame to shine a light on the ways music can improve quality of life just where it’s needed most.
He’s a member of the Room 217 Foundation. Who are they? Let’s find out.
Their official website says they are “a music-based health arts organization and social enterprise. We provide an accessible approach to health and well-being called music care. Music care enables caregivers to humanize care through music. Since 2005, Room 217’s team of music educators, music therapists, music and health researchers, community musicians, and artists has been helping caregivers integrate music into their regular practice. At Room 217, we produce and deliver music care products, education and training; we collaborate in applied research; and we coach and consult with healthcare teams in music and care.
“Our impact is improving quality of life and the care experience.”
Wow, it seems Murray McLauchlan was probably the best person I could talk to at that precise moment.
The singer is part of my own personal history, too. When I was bombing around rural B.C. in a VW van back in the 1970s with my husband, we heard and quickly learned ‘The Farmer’s Song’ and sang it on a regular basis. It became a solid, road-trip favourite for us, as I suspect it did for many people of my generation. Whenever I even think about that song I’m back in the Fraser Canyon, stopping for the World’s Best Hamburgers at the Alexandra Lodge and then looking about for a likely campsite for the night.
He’s been part of the Canadian music scene since 1971 when his first album, Song from the Street, hit the airwaves and has steadily produced great music ever since. Songs like ‘Honky Red’, ‘On the Boulevard’, ‘Hard Rock Town’, ‘Little Dreamer’, Shoeshine Workin’ Songs’ and ‘Down by the Henry Moore’ are only examples of how firmly he is woven into the fabric of Canadian music.
McLauchlan is appearing at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on Sunday, June 9 starting at 7:30 p.m.
He’ll be accompanied by Victor Bageman, who plays standup bass, “beautifully orchestrally on occasion like when I do songs like Whispering Rain and he picks up a bow. The rest of the time he can hold down a pretty good groove when we’re doing stuff like ‘Down’ by the Henry Moore and he’s also a dab hand at more jazz oriented stuff, which is kind of in the vein of some of the newer songs I’m presenting in part of the show.”
He’s been traveling the world, visiting such places as Italy and Vietnam, adding to his musical arsenal with new techniques and ideas but “it’s still me, it’s still recognizably me but I think it’s a bit more advanced musically than anything I’ve tried before.
“The only thing I hope for and that I’d like to see is that people are slightly different when they walk out than when they walked in.”
Tickets for what is certain to be a great evening with an iconic Canadian singer/songwriter are $49.50 each. Get them at https://ctcentre.bc.ca/TheatreManager/1/login&performance=2534 or call the Cowichan Ticket Centre at 250-748-7529.