Elly Parker performs at St. Andrew’s United Church on Saturday, Oct. 12. (Photo courtesy Jonathan Ha)

Nanaimo singer Elly Parker releases first album in 19 years

CD release concert for ‘Life Gets Better’ to take place at St. Andrew’s United Church

Nineteen years after releasing her debut album, Nanaimo singer Elly Parker is back with a new CD.

“This is like Elly coming back out of the cupboard because I do have a tendency [to] come out and play and have fun and then I sneak back into the cupboard,” Parker said. “And some of that has to do with depression and some of it’s just life.”

Parker has had a busy 19 years. Shortly after releasing her first album, Elly, in summer 2000 she got married, in the process gaining five step-children in addition to her own kids. She now has 10 grandchildren as well.

Like her first album, which Parker recorded “on a bit of a dare,” her second album also has an unconventional origin: A chance meeting by the side of the road.

Parker was driving home one night when she encountered Paul Bezooyen, founder of the local Hermits Music songwriting group and record label and talk soon turned to music.

“Paul said, ‘Elly, what are you doing with your music?’ And I said, ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,’ and he said, ‘Well, hello? You need to do another. What’s holding you back?’ And I said, ‘The Do-Re-Mi,’” Parker said.

Bezooyen then offered to record a new album with Parker free of charge with Parker participating in the production process as well.

“I dug in and I just loved it,” she said. “It was so enriching and so inspiring to work with Paul and with all the guys and gals that came and helped.”

Parker is holding a CD release concert for her new record, Life Gets Better, at St. Andrew’s United Church on Oct. 12. It’s her first time onstage in nearly 10. She said music is a gift that isn’t fun unless it’s shared with others.

“I get to love all those people all in that same room all at one time. It’s pretty neat,” Parker said. “They just send out this big wave of love and it just sort of washes on back and it just builds and it’s like you hug all those folks all at once.”

And despite the challenges of the past 19 years, the album’s title is an accurate description of Parker’s current outlook.

“When I say, ‘Life gets better,’ it totally gets better,” Parker said. “I just had by 65th birthday on [Sept.] 12 and life is way more fun now than it ever was.”

WHAT’S ON … Elly Parker CD release concert at St. Andrew’s United Church, 311 Fitzwilliam St., on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. Tickets $18 at the door, $15 in advance from Fascinating Rhythm, Arbutus Music and online.


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