John Mann

John Mann

It’s personal

John Mann, lead singer for Spirit of the West, performs his solo songs during intimate show

John Mann finds no shortage of inspiration from the world around him.

Touring the world from historically and culturally rich European towns to the poverty and social ills of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside affords Mann the experience to put into new songs.

“You get way more inspired when you’re seeing different things,” Mann said. “Everything is new and exciting.

“You get really inspired to write.”

Mann is the frontman and co-writer for Spirit of the West, known for their Celtic-inspired hit Home for a Rest, but he’ll present his solo material during an intimate show at Diners Rendezvous Oct. 14.

While he and Jeffery Kelly still write and collaborate on new Spirit of the West songs – they just finished a summer tour and a new album is in the works – Mann’s more personal tunes are usually what he keeps to himself.

“I’ve always done that,” he said. “I think we know what works better.”

He has two solo albums under his belt and while his music is described as thoughtful and introspective, his new material will likely reflect his journey through cancer treatment several years ago.

“I’m fine now – I’m doing great,” he said.

He did plenty of writing while in hospital and recuperating from treatment.

“I thought, I should do something with this,” Mann said. “I don’t know if the world’s ready for it.”

He was approached by a theatre company to turn some of those songs and other writing into a stage production, his two artistic selves finally meeting.

Mann trained as an actor first at Capilano College and then at Langara College’s famed Studio 58.

He starred as the CSIS director in the CBC drama Intelligence and had guest roles on dozens of Vancouver-shot television programs such as Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica and Smallville.

He is currently preparing for a role in Blood Brothers, a musical about two brothers separated at birth (Nanaimo Theatre Group staged the play in 2007), for the Arts Club in Vancouver. The musical opens in late November.

Before then, Mann will take the intimate stage at the Rendezvous as he tells the stories behind the songs, beginning at 8 p.m.

Tickets $35/advance; $40/door. Please call 250-740-1133.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com