“David Francey is one of the greatest songwriters that Canada has ever produced. His words cut to the very core of human emotion.” – John Angus, The Trews
“One of Canada’s outstanding poets, songwriters, storytellers …” Ron MacLean, Hockey Night in Canada.
“The closest thing this country has to Woody Guthrie” – the Georgia Strait, Vancouver
Cross-Canada album launch tour for Late Edition
Sept. 16 – St. Paul’s United Church, Perth, ON
Sept. 17 – Octave Theatre, Kingston, ON
Sept. 22 – Piggery Theatre, North Hatley, QC
Sept. 23-24 – The Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield
Sept. 28 – Princess Cinema, Waterloo, ON
Sept. 29-30 – Hugh’s Room, Toronto, ON
Oct. 1 – London Music Club, London, ON
Oct. 2 – MacKenzie Hall Centre, Windsor, ON
Oct. 5 – Studio Theatre, Hamilton Place, Hamilton, ON
Oct. 8 – Finlandia Club, Thunder Bay, ON
Oct. 10 – Pappy’s Café, Wabigoon, ON
Oct. 12 – Park Theatre, Winnipeg, MB
Oct. 13 – Broadway Theatre, Saskatoon, SK
Oct. 14 – Central Lion’s Rec Centre, Edmonton, AB
Oct. 16 – Nancy Appleby Theatre, Athabasca, AB
Oct. 17 – Second Street Theatre, Grand Prairie, AB
Oct. 18 – Horizon Stage, Spruce Grove, AB
Oct. 19 – The Geomatic Attick, Lethbridge, AB
Oct. 20 – Auditorium Hotel, Nanton, AB
Oct. 21 – Southwood United Church, Calgary, AB
Oct. 22 – Bearberry Community Hall, Bearberry, AB
Oct. 23 – Margaret Greenham Theatre, Banff, AB
Oct. 26 – Creekside Theatre, Lake Country, BC
Oct. 27 – Dream Café, Penticton, BC
Oct. 28 – St. James Community Hall, Vancouver, BC
Oct. 29 – The Dancing Bean, Chemainus, BC
Oct. 30-31 – Hermann’s, Victoria, BC
Nov. 5 – Port Hardy Civic Centre, Port Hardy, BC
Nov. 12-13 – The Ship Inn, St. John’s, NL
Nov. 18 – Charles W. Stockey Centre, Parry Sound, ON
Nov. 19 – The Market Hall, Peterborough, ON
Nov. 20 – Petit Campus, Montreal, QC
Nov. 22 – Harmony House, Hunter River, PEI
Nov. 23 – Marigold Cultural Centre, Truro, NS
Nov. 24 – Murray Room, Pictou, NS
Nov. 25 – Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, Sydney, NS
Nov. 26 – The Company House, Halifax, NS
Nov. 27 – Arena Complex Theatre, St. Andrews, NB
When you’re widely considered one of the greatest songwriters appearing on the roots circuit today – not just in Canada but around the world – it stands to reason that your appeal is going to spread beyond your base.
That’s why a guy like three-time Juno-winner David Francey can find himself co-writing with The Trews while remaining an unrepentant old-school folksinger.
This fall, Francey – a lifelong manual labourer who didn’t debut until age 45 and who famously only quit his carpentry job after winning his first Juno – heads out on tour to promote the fruits of one of his longest-standing cross-genre collaborations: Late Edition, a collection of songs about news, both worldly and personal, recorded in Nashville with the godfather of Americana music, Kieran Kane.
The new music is vintage Francey: profound, plainspokenly poetic, and perfectly catchy. “Pretty Jackals” is an especially timely condemnation of media sensationalism. “Yesterday’s News” is an upbeat number about consigning one’s troubles to the past, while “Grateful” is a simple love song for Francey’s wife, Beth Girdler.
As always, Francey’s familiar, weathered-sounding and Scottish-accented vocals remain front and centre, accompanied on the record by Kane’s tasty guitar licks and sweet sweet banjo and mandolin picking. Mark Knopfler accompanist Richard Bennett provides guitar and bouzouki embellishments, Lucas Kane plays drums, and renowned multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin (Waylon Jennings, Nanci Griffiths, the Mavericks) adds some super pretty fiddle parts. In concert, Francey will be backed by Mark Westberg on guitar and Foggy Hogtown Boy Chris Coole on banjo.
That Francey himself didn’t learn to play an instrument until several years into his professional music career is just one part of his extraordinary story, which was recently told in the feature-length documentary Burning Bright.
Born in Ayrshire, Scotland, the ceaselessly kind and down-to-earth Francey immigrated to Canada with his family at age 12, and together, they sang songs in the car as they set out on road trips to explore their adopted homeland. As an adult, Francey carried on his childhood tradition of exploring Canada, hitching across the country three times and working at jobs ranging from tree-planting to rail-yard work.
For decades, he wrote poetry, set it to melodies in his head, and sang it to himself as he worked. In a sense, there are few modern-day musical creations so real and organically “folk” as Francey’s. And it seems appropriate that he never imagined making a business out of music.
But then, at age 45, living in the Eastern townships with his wife and three children, he succumbed to pressure from his family and friends to perform live. …and the reaction was instant.
Less than a decade after his 1999 debut, Francey had won three Junos and been nominated for a fourth. His music and videos were being featured on Hockey Night in Canada. He’d won two international songwriting competitions, and he’d established himself as a regular at the top-tier international folk festivals. His songs were covered by the Del McCoury Band, The Rankins, The Barra MacNeils and Tracy Grammer, and he provided backing vocals on Bruce Guthro’s song “Jerusalem.” Most recently, The Trews have begun performing “Highway 95” and “Broken Glass” as part of their live sets.
They say that the mark of a great song is that it sounds great performed in any musical style. And Francey’s songs fit the bill.
Now, just as his friends and family members first pushed Francey to perform those songs 12 years ago, many of his supporters are trying to push them before a broader audience today.
His upcoming fall tour is a perfect opportunity for those who never thought they were folk fans to discover a songwriter whose work inspires artists from all kinds of musical backgrounds.