Steve Palmer returns to Westlock

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Steve Palmer isn’t a stranger to these parts.

‘This would be about my fourth time in Westlock,” he said. ‘I came twice for the United Church, and this would be my second time for Lindsey (Jimmo) at St. Philip’s.”

The Edmonton-born roots and country musician, who has spent most of his career working out of Moose Jaw, Sask., is on the road again, playing the Westlock Legion Feb. 24. The last time he played at the Legion he estimated around 100 people came out to the show.

‘Lindsey is such a great gal, she’s such a go-getter,” said Palmer about the concert organizer. ‘It’s amazing.”

He said he was planning to supply a good mix of songs for patrons.

‘I do some of my new songs at the show and I re-arrange old songs. Of course, I always throw in at least one Stompin’ Tom or Johnny Cash to keep things light and fun. I always enjoy it when I come to a show and there’s a familiar tune or two put in. There’ll be lots of old favourites mixed in with my tunes.

Now living in Gatineau, Que. the 68-year-old singer/songwriter is still going strong, visiting Westlock on the tail end of his latest tour where he’s set to play 25 shows in 35 days. While this tour is strictly west of Ontario this time, he added that he plays shows from coast to coast.

‘I was starting to get more invitations to play things down east, so I’m touring now between the Maritimes and Vancouver Island.”

He attributed part of his recent successes to airtime courtesy of the late Stuart McLean.

‘I had some nice American airplay with the radio show the Vinyl Caf é, because they’re on National Public Radio down there. He played my song Welcome back, come on in! which was particularly sweet to me because every week Stuart would announce that they’re there to promote young artists.

‘Here they were promoting my song and me and I kind of liked that because I’m 68, so I said

‘Hmmm… I guess I still qualify as young.'”

He noted that music keeps him feeling energetic and gives him new opportunities to learn new skills.

‘I’m sure enjoying it. Something new I’ve had to learn is HTML 5. Most people are looking at websites on their smart phones now, so you have to have a bit more modern of a site, otherwise you have to scroll like crazy. With the help of a friend in Winnipeg we set that up and I’ve been learning to maintain it.

‘You always have to keep adding to your skills. I’m also working on string arranging. My last album had two string quartet arrangements.”

While he’s already got four albums out, he admits he’s itching to do another one, though at the same time he added he would prefer to approach the new project casually.

‘I am working on a new album. It’s going to be more bluegrass based,” said Palmer. ‘In Ottawa, they’ve got such a lively bluegrass community there and I’m making some terrific friends. I love the instrumentation. On two of my albums, most of the instruments on them are mandolin, high string banjo, fiddle … a lot of folks like that style.”

Tickets for the show are $25 and can be purchased at the Flower Shoppe.

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