Muskoka To-DAILY

Liona Boyd concert ‘not all classical’ guitar, she’ll sing, tell stories, entertain whole family

Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAILY.com

GRAVENHURST — Liona Boyd has a new album and book out next month.

Singer and songwriter Liona Boyd will share some songs from her new album "No Remedy for Love," out in a couple week, along with her book by the same name.

Singer and songwriter Liona Boyd will share some songs from her new album “No Remedy for Love,” out in a couple week, along with her book by the same name.

“No Remedy for Love” is the titled of both the entertaining CD and compelling read.

And the exquisite classical guitarist will preview some of her new songs and many funny life stories Saturday night, July 15, at a fundraiser for the Muskoka Concert Association at the Gravenhurst Opera House.

The Moon Child, who turned 68 Tuesday, tells MuskokaTODAILY.com she’s looking forward to returning to Gravenhurst again, after playing on the Wenonah II last summer with the Sunpennies backup choir directed by Trinity United Church music director Dan McCoy.

“I don’t pretend to be a fantastic singer. I’m no Celine Dion.

“I’m just a singer and a good story teller.”

She says bring the kids, “it’s not strictly classical.”

This weekend Boyd brings with her her new playing and singing partner, Andrew Dolson, of Waterloo.

And again McCoy and his sextet of singers will accompany her for a couple of songs.

Get your tickets now, the show is almost sold out.

This will be Boyd’s third MCA concert.

She loves small towns, in fact she wrote a song about them on her album “Canada, my Canada.” It’s called “Little Towns.”

“It’s kind of nice to play in small towns, you’re so close to the audience” Boyd says.

“And it’s a better deal for them. It’s cheaper, too. Plus I get to talk to them after and sign CDs and they can buy T-shirts….”

Boyd and Dolson just finished playing a concert together June 30 at the John Bassett Theatre in Toronto, as part of a Chinese celebration.

Boyd is thrilled to have Dolson playing with her now. Saturday, she will play some songs, he will play some songs and they will play some together.

Her mother, Eileen, told her about Dolson after hearing him play in the Waterloo Region last year.

“I was looking for someone (the right person) to play and sing with. I was frantic.”

Liona Boyd is thrilled to have Andrew Dolson playing with her now. She will play some songs, he will play some songs and they will play some together.

Liona Boyd is thrilled to have Andrew Dolson playing with her now. She will play some songs, he will play some songs and they will play some together.

And when her mother, 92 now and her former manager and agent, recommended she seek him out, Boyd emailed him.

He was rock climbing when he got the email and couldn’t believe it was her. But when he replied they quickly got together.

And “I knew he was the one,” said Boyd of the Wilfrid Laurier graduate in classical guitar and vocal.

The tenor and baritone singer is the perfect fit for Boyd, who only began singing eight years ago after decades as “Canada’s first lady of classical guitar.”

This is not her first album where she sings. In 2009 she put out “Liona Boyd Sings Songs of Love,” a collection of soft duets with Croatian singer-guitarist Srdjan Givoje.

But fans of the singer-songwriter now who has sold millions of records forget that the 1972 University of Toronto music grad started out paying her dues up north and out west, before getting her big break when she was paired on same tour bills with Canadian folk legend Gordon Lightfoot.

The two are actually on the same bill next month, back-to-back, at a festival in Kemptville. And wouldn’t it be great if the two old friends were to maybe sing a song or two together during either of their sets, she said.

Boyd, who could have been another Joni Mitchell, pursued her love of classical guitar.

And while that move opened as many different doors around the world playing with symphonies and command performances for the Royal Family and Fidel Castro among many, Boyd came down with a case of the “yips” in later years.

Musician’s dystopia affected her right plucking hand and forced her to change how she plays the guitar after 2002.

With a Spanish grandmother it is no surprise her playing leaned to classical and she ended up taking lessons from Andreas Segovia, Eli Kassner, Narciso Yepes, Alexandre Lagoya and Julian Bream.

But she has also recorded with rock guitar legends Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, Rick Emmett, and Alex Liefson of the Canadian band Rush.

She has also shared CD space with Yo Yo Ma, Andre Gagnon, Frank Mills, Roger Whittaker and pan flute legend Gheorge Zamfir among other greats. And the stage with the Boston Pops.

Her first solo album was in 1974 and simply title “The Guitar.”

Her latest album to her incredible credit is her 28th (all of them she reminds are now available remastered on iTunes – even the old ones).

“No Remedy for Love” (Dundurn Press), which she also recorded as an audio book, took her full circle.

It’s a companion piece to another of her books, her autobiography “In My Own Key: My Life in Love and Music,” which took her from her grammar school roots in Sydenham County and Kennsington to the gypsy lifestyle she led after coming to Canada with her family in 1961.

Canada's first lady of the classical guitar says Saturday's Muskoka Concert Association fundraiser is "not strictly classical," and the whole family is invited. She says one fan once named her daughter after her.

Canada’s first lady of the classical guitar says Saturday’s Muskoka Concert Association fundraiser is “not strictly classical,” and the whole family is invited. She says one fan once named her daughter after her.

“I’ve had quite a life. Who better to write about it,” said the joyously-sounding and enjoyable conversationalist.

It also rekindles some of her past flames, including former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, father of Justin Trudeau.

She says it was the elder Trudeau who sent her CDs to his friend Castro, which led to a private performance for the Cuban leader.

And Boyd, an artist and also a talented photographer, gave a book of photos to Justin Trudeau of when he and his brothers were children.

She said the prime minister thanked her kindly for gesture of their fond memories together.

Boyd says she must suffer from an eight-year itch. That’s how long her romance was with PET, and how long her last relationship was – though she was married to her husband, real estate developer John Simon in Beverly Hills for 14 years.

A lesser known relationship is her friendship and 33-year pen pal correspondence with Prince Phillip.

“It’s nothing romantic — after all, he’s married to the Queen.”

After regularly writing — by mail — to him for years, she visited him this March in England and asked his permission to include that part of her life in her new book.

Which he readily and graciously agreed to.

Boyd says she has dozens of letters from him that she covets, but doesn’t know what to do with.

She recently wished him a happy 96th birthday.

Boyd is also good friends with American ex-pat and adopted Canadian Ronnie Hawkins, who introduced her to quantum healing when she injured her shoulder and knee and led her to living in Los Angeles for a year not long ago, before finding and hooking up with Dolson last year. They toured just before Christmas.

Boyd, a proud Canadian, said while looking at her five Junos in her Toronto home that she would love to have given one of her books and CDs to the late Stompin’ Tom Connors (whose museum opened Canada Day in Skinner’s Pond, P.E.I.).

The Order of Canada, Order of Ontario, Vanier Award winner, Prix Esprit du Ciecle recipient and multiple award winner says she’s had a remarkable life living and playing around the world and meeting the most extraordinary people.

“It’s been a magical, spiritual journey,” as you’d expect a flower child of the Sixties to say, and an artistic one born under the fourth zodiac sign of Cancer.

Boyd shares her time now between her home in Toronto, and Kitchener where her mother and sister Vivian live, and Palm Beach where her winter home is.

But much of her time is spent on the road playing and performing in equal measure in large and small venues and loving each locale as much, while putting as much in to each show as all the others.

Join her and the Muskoka Concert Association, which is in its 70th year. You definitely won’t be disappointed.

Short URL: http://www.muskokatodaily.com/?p=28047

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