Ryan McMahon opens for Valdy at St. Andrew’s United Church Saturday (March 23).

Ryan McMahon opens for Valdy at St. Andrew’s United Church Saturday (March 23).

Folk icon counts himself lucky to pursue music

NANAIMO - Valdy performs in Nanaimo Saturday (March 23) at St. Andrew's United Church.

Canadian folk icon Valdy considers himself lucky.

“I’m doing something that I love, which makes it all worthwhile,” he said. “I consider myself very fortunate. I don’t take it for granted.”

Valdy, Valdemar Horsdal, was born in Ottawa. His career has spanned more than three decades and he’s received two Juno awards, Folk Singer of the Year and Folk Entertainer of the Year, as well as seven Juno nominations and four gold albums. Last year he was made a member of the Order of Canada.

“It was a wonderful event and I pinch myself every once in a while to say why me,” he said.

But the singer/songwriter is humble about his accomplishments and acclaim.

“It’s a matter of hanging in there enough so people notice,” he said.

The musician’s inspiration for songs is all over the map. Valdy said he finds humorous or ironic situations and writes about them. Or sometimes he writes about something in his life.

The folk singer is performing in Nanaimo Saturday (March 23) at 8 p.m. at St. Andrew’s United Church. During the Nanaimo concert Valdy will perform songs from his newest album Read Between the Lines as well as some old fan favourites.

Vancouver Island musician Ryan McMahon opens for Valdy. He also opened for him almost five years ago.

“He was funny, amazing and completely engaging and a legend,” said McMahon.

McMahon said he jokes around with himself that his career has spanned 15 years and he is still the opening act. But he said he loves the opportunities to meet musicians he admires.

“It’s afforded me a unique opportunity to meet a lot of different people,” he said. “I love meeting these guys that have already been there. There is a lot of knowledge for someone to impart.”

McMahon said he has to force the “creative machine” off when he is out doing activities like hiking or enjoying family time. Instead he makes a date with himself and goes to his studio and tries to write. He said he has to see during that time if it is a good time to write. He tries writing and if nothing comes he doesn’t force it.

“I have to see if I have anything to say. If I don’t the muse isn’t there,” said McMahon. “Songs are gifts that somehow visit themselves upon you and you have to strike while the iron is hot.”

Tickets for the Saturday performance are $23 in advance by calling 250-754-8550, at the Port Theatre box office, located at 125 Front St., or www.porttheatre.com or tickets are $25 at the door.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com