Gordie Tentrees subscribes to the songwriting precept, “write what you know.” With a background as diverse as Tentrees, and years spent living in the musical melting pot that is Whitehorse, Tentrees offers songs and stories from a wide range of experience and influenced by a wide range of musical styles. He will be performing on Saturday night at the Watson Museum.
Those experiences include his travels overseas to perform. He’s returning to Canada from some of those musical adventures.
“Earlier in the spring, I went to Australia and had thirty shows there, and last month I was in Europe for another month of dates,” Tentrees explains. “I’m coming back to a lot of concerts that had been cancelled in 2020. I had about 130 shows cancelled and so all those shows are being made up now, and it’s a real treat to get out in Canada.”
Tentrees’ songs are rooted in country, folk, roots and bluegrass music with some traditional blues thrown in. What you’ll hear in terms of style depends on what time you get to the show, he laughs. Accompanying Tentrees will be Bob Hamilton manning the pedal steel and the mandolin and Jaxon Haldane playing an array of instruments including banjo, fiddle saw, and cigar box guitar. The trio lends itself to a wide musical range and plenty of rich harmonies.
As for the songs, Tentrees taps into his own rich narrative, finding ways to tell his own stories. Part of that narrative includes the lessons learned from his long time involvement in the sport of boxing. He says the sport grounded him in the discipline it takes to master musical instruments and to dedicate himself to his songwriting craft.
“I started boxing when I was eight and finished when I was 24. It helped me get through university with the financial support from boxing, and I got to be part of the Canadian team. There’s a lot of lessons I took from it that really helped me with music - the ability to get in front of people on a stage. I play slide guitar, harmonica, percussion with my feet, and it took a lot of time, the kind of time it takes as a boxer. You’ve got to throw a jab in front of the mirror for ten thousand hours, so you’re going to have to do that with your right hand when you are finger picking a guitar.”
The pandemic pause allowed Tentrees to revisit his skills working with youth as a teacher. He incorporated his musical talents into a unique project.
“Over the last two years of Covid, I’ve been working as part of an after recovery land-based healing team, writing songs with family members who are reconciling their issues with each other and themselves. I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to do other things besides play music. Not a lot of my friends were able to do that, especially during Covid.”
It’s Tentrees diverse style that appeals to audiences worldwide. There’s a bit of something for everyone, whether it be old school blues, folk finger stylings, or from the heart storytelling. The music even transcends language barriers as audiences in Germany or Italy discover new musical expressions or recognize that common platform of blues.
It’s a show that’s sure to appeal to a wide audience in Watson and area. Gordie Tentrees with Bob Hamilton and Jaxon Haldane will be appearing at the Watson Museum, an intimate and history rich venue, this Saturday, January 14 at 7:30 pm. Doors open at 6:30. Seating is limited, so don’t delay. Advance tickets are available by calling Jim Haussecker at (306) 287-7130.