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Famous Canadian artist who embarked on an experimental project while touring the east coast

A talented Canadian artist will be returning home to Nova Scotia this summer, excited to put on some shows.

Pete Johnston, who grew up in Hants County and played in several Nova Scotia bands before heading to Ontario in 2001, will tour the East Coast between June and early July.

From June 24 to July 3, the Toronto-based musician and composer will return to his former stomping ground, bringing with him the sounds of his experimental folk quartet Stranger Still.

Shows will be held throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, with Stranger Still performing in Windsor on June 26 at the Winegrunt at 5pm

In an interview with SaltWire Network in 2019, after Stranger Still released Songs of Bread, Wine and Salt, a uniquely Canadian CD that pays homage to poet Alden Nowlan, Johnston claimed to have paired Nowlan’s rural lyricism with music. which combines a variety of folk and progressive rock genres.

“I feel it’s a lot between the cracks. I think it is perhaps, potentially, too weird for folk music people and too folk for weird music people. But I hope everyone likes it, ”Johnston said.

“I wanted to make the words really clear in the music so you can really hear the poetry.”

Johnston is the son of Brian Johnston, a talented and award-winning musician and big band director. While growing up in Windsor, Johnston was known for his bass and saxophone skills. In 1999 he won a Juno as a member of the Johnny Favorite Swing Orchestra.

Following a press release announcing Johnston’s upcoming East Coast tour, it was noted that “he has consistently garnered acclaim for his vast assortment of musical endeavors.”

His See Through project, for example, saw him star among acclaimed jazz musicians, with these recordings receiving praise from the North American, European and South American media.

The Stranger Still quartet sees Johnston switch from his main instrument – the double bass – to acoustic guitar to “create wonderfully quirky songs based on Nowlan’s poetry”.

“Not only do these songs channel the Celtic traditions that permeate the world of maritime music in general, but they also use the poetry of the beloved neo-Scottish writer Alden Nowlan as a basis,” the statement said.

“A good deal of Stranger Still’s unique sound comes from Johnston’s faithful use of these poems; he lets their rhythm and inflection guide the making of music rather than putting words into musical phrases.

Stranger Still presents Johnston, Mim Adams, Rob Clutton and Randi Helmers.

“The band began strictly as a recording project and was launched in 2019 with the debut recording Songs of Bread, Wine and Salt, named after Nowlan’s celebrated 1967 collection,” notes the press release. “However, when live engagements followed in the wake of the release, the group has since become a vehicle for live performances as well.”

After the east coast tour, Stranger Still will stay in Nova Scotia to record their next album at Fang Recording, a Dartmouth studio owned by Joel Plaskett.


TOUR PROGRAM

The Opera House (290 Lincoln St., Lunenburg, NS)

With: Max Kasper on double bass

With Special Guest: Kim Barlow

Baxter Harbor Church (1596 Baxter’s Harbor Rd., Baxter’s Harbor, NS)

With: Max Kasper on double bass

With Special Guest: Kim Barlow

Winegrunt (43 Water St., Windsor, NS)

Starring: Max Kasper

St Paul’s Church (1749 Argyle St., Halifax, NS)

Special Guests: Ellen Gibling & Adrianna Ciccone

Café C’est La Vie: (785 Main St., Moncton, NB)

Special Guest: Sackville City, NB City Graduate Poet, Shoshanna Wingate

UNB Grad House (676 Windsor St., Fredericton)

Special guest: poet Michael Pacey

  • 2 July: Prince Edward Island

Time and place to announce

Special Guest: County Line Romance

Wayside Restaurant (8729 Highway 2, Great Village, NS)

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