Nanaimo singer-songwriter Laura Kelsey is performing at the Nanaimo Bar on Thursday, Jan. 25. (Photo courtesy Doug Wortley)

Nanaimo singer-songwriter Laura Kelsey’s ‘Midwinter Acoustic’ show returns to the Nanaimo Bar

Kelsey will be joined by instrumental guitarist Jason Morley

This past summer local singer Laura Kelsey and her partner Mike Harding were all set to tour the B.C. interior when wildfires forced them back.

While the cancellations were a disappointment, the experience did inspire the writing of a new song and renewed their motivation for next summer. Until then the couple is hoping to record a new album as the duo Builder and the Banshee, while Kelsey juggles her responsibility with other groups like the heavy metal Metaspherical and Vancouver funk group Dispell.

Kelsey said she hasn’t had any difficulties bouncing to and from different musical styles, but notes that sometimes people aren’t able to keep up.

“I have found people say, ‘Well, what are you? What is your genre?’ And I find that maybe it’s hard to get fans that way because people are like, ‘Well, I don’t really know what you’re doing.’ Maybe I don’t know what I’m doing,” she said with a laugh.

On Thursday, Jan. 25 Kelsey and guitarist Jason Morley of Metaspherical will perform an acoustic set at the Nanaimo Bar. The show, called Midwinter Acoustic II, is a sequel to a similar concert they held at the venue last year. The musicians will each play separately, with Morley performing classical compositions and Kelsey singing originals. She calls it “a celebration of dark and light.”

“I write a lot of sombre songs, but there’s hope there. So it’s just like winter – It’s dark now, but we know it will end,” she said, adding that her metal background helps inform her songwriting.

“I think metal can sometimes be an outlet for frustration and I find the songs that I’m writing now are still maybe a subtle outlet for frustration. There’s empowerment in it, they’re loud songs but they’re also dark and sad.”

A new member of Kelsey and Harding’s entourage is their nine-month-old son Atlas, who sits on her lap when they perform together. She said Builder and the Banshee is looking to recruit a drummer and just may have found one and their son is starting to exhibit an early interest in music.

“He plays a little toy piano, so who knows? He might be into it,” she said.

“We’re hoping he wants to be percussion because we don’t have a drummer right now. Might take him a few years, though. He’s pretty good at it and sometimes it’s even in time.”

WHAT’S ON … Midwinter Acoustic II featuring singer-songwriter Laura Kelsey and instrumental guitar player Jason Morley comes to the Nanaimo Bar on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 9:30 p.m. Admission at the door is $5.



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