Two accomplished blues musicians who usually perform as solo acts will hit the road together and explore the country in good company.
Saskatoon-born Suzie Vinnick and “Aussie legend” Lloyd Spiegel will play 23 gigs in separate sets from mid-January to mid-February, stopping at Nanaimo’s Unitarian Hall on Jan. 19 for their third show. The tour has been in the works since early 2020, shortly after the two performers met at the Folk Music Ontario Conference in 2019.
Vinnick, who has won 10 Maple Blues Awards and a Canadian Folk Music Award, said she’s both excited and nervous to tour with Spiegel.
“He’s just such a killer player. I’m mostly excited though, because I think I’m bound to learn a thing or two from him,” she said, and added that she’s excited for Islanders to have “their minds blown” by his talent.
The Australian blues legend has his own impressive catalogue of accomplishments, including Artist of the Year, Producer of the Year and Album of the Year at the 2020 Australian Blues Awards.
And although Spiegel said he’s not entirely certain what to expect from the upcoming tour with Vinnick, he’s looking forward to bringing all the excitement and mutual respect they share for each other on the road.
“I think that as long as the audience can feel that we’re kind of flying by the seat of our pants and really enjoying each other’s company, I think that everyone is in for a good time,” he said. “And hopefully introduce her to some of my fans, and me to some of her fans.”
Musically, Vinnick said, their stylings “traverse similar paths,” both bluesy with roots influences.
“We’re a bit similar,” Spiegel agreed. “We’re both sort of blues-based artists that use blues as the canvas, but that like to push those boundaries between blues, folk and soul … And that mixing so that you can never be called a traditionalist.”
For the upcoming tour, Vinnick said she plans on playing both new material from her 2022 album, Fall Back Home, as well as “odds and ends” from her preceding seven solo albums.
“I like to incorporate humour and some of the songs I perform can lean on a little bit of sassy and fun,” she said. “And sometimes we get a little more serious and try to mix that up too … I take you through the whole gamut of emotions … but leaning on the fun side because sometimes there’s a lot of heaviness going on in the world these days.”
The month-long tour through two provinces, she said, is likely the largest tour she’s done to date. She returns to Nanaimo following a 2019 performance with Canadian roots music veteran Rick Fines, as well as a Summertime Blues Festival performance in 2017. She said she’s also excited to meet Island fans who have followed her online performances over the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Spiegel, the upcoming tour will provide his introduction to B.C.
“One of the best things about going to a new place is that you get to bring your ‘A game,’” he said. “I have stories and audience participation bits that I’ve prided myself on over the years that, unfortunately, once you’ve done them you can’t do them again … An introductory show is probably the most honest form of show that I do.”
In and around Vancouver Island, Vinnick and Spiegel will play the Joe King Ball Park on Hornby Island, Jan. 18; the Unitarian Hall in Nanaimo, Jan. 19; the Upstairs Lounge at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre in Victoria, Jan. 20; the Old Church Theatre in Courtenay, Jan. 21; and the ArtsSpring Community Arts Centre on Salt Spring Island, Jan. 22.
Tickets for the Nanaimo show can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.ca.