Veteran Eugene Smith headlines open stage in Chemainus

Eugene Smith headlines at St. Michael’s Church Hall on Saturday, Dec. 17 as the monthly Chemainus open-stages wind up for 2016.

Eugene Smith headlines at St. Michael’s Church Hall on Saturday, Dec. 17 as the monthly Chemainus open-stages wind up for 2016.

If you’re in town for the Little Town Christmas celebrations that day, you can stick around, enjoy a meal in town and then take in this evening of entertainment.

The Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society presents a true icon of the Canadian music scene in Smith.

With more than 50 years in the business, and more than 200 original tunes to his credit, Smith already has plenty to boast about but you’ll revel in the warmth and generosity he brings to every performance.

Along with his vocal talents, Smith is a master of his unusual four-string tenor guitar, along with the harmonica, kalimba, jaw harp and djembe.

This veteran performer comes by his many musical talents honestly. His father, Al Lucas,  played stand-up bass for legends from super-smooth Duke Ellington to raucous, raunchy James Brown.

His mother, Valeire Abbot, was a well-known Toronto jazz pianist and vocalist who was invited by Louis Armstrong to tour as a jazz singer with his orchestra.

Over the past four decades Smith himself has shared the stage with such great artists as Gordon Lightfoot, k.d. Lang, David Clayton Thomas, King Curtis, Willie Dixon, Lenny Breau, Peter Tosh, Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, The Beach Boys and The Dave Clark Five.

In the swinging ’60s he toured the United States as a singer with Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks.

But this event is not just about him. You can join the fun, too.

Anyone wishing to perform on the pre-concert open stage should email openstage@cvcas.com, or call 250 246-1389. If you don’t book ahead, the organizers may not be able to fit you into the evenings program.

The evening will get underway at 6:30 p.m. and the open-stage part of the evening will finish at 8 p.m. Then, at 8:15, Smith will take the stage.

Admission is $10 dollars, with open-stage performers admitted free of charge. Coffee, tea and snacks will be available.