Newfoundland native to ply the musical waters of Steveston

Singer-songwriter Lorne Warr’s solo album includes stories such as his grandfather leaving Newfoundland to work on New York’s skyscrapers.  -
Singer-songwriter Lorne Warr’s solo album includes stories such as his grandfather leaving Newfoundland to work on New York’s skyscrapers.
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One of Lewisporte, Newfoundland’s own is next to perform at the Steveston Folk Guild.

Lorne Warr, who hails from an East Coast town with a present population of 3,312, is a singer-songwriter who tells stories of the human experience. He draws inspiration from Newfoundland folklore, life on the road, the birth of a daughter, schooners and working the high steel in New York.

His April 17 show at Britannia Shipyards promises to take the audience on a far-reaching journey brought together with a foot-stomping jig.

Warr now lives far from his first home—a 7,000-kilometre journey away—on Bowen Island in Howe Sound. But he’s planning to move back to his home province later this spring.

His upbringing was one of music and folklore, listening to his grandmother’s button accordion and his father’s stories of ghost ships and pirates. Those formative experiences helped mould him into the storyteller he is today.

He moved away from the small town of his youth to attend Memorial University in St. John’s. As a musician, he explored many musical genres—from rock to solo classical guitar, and folk to “painfully esoteric jazz,” according to a biography posted on his website. He also spent much of his free time writing for stage and radio.

Warr moved to Vancouver in search of adventure, and formed the Celtic quartet the Streels. The band toured Western Canada, opening for bands like Doug and the Slugs, and Trooper.

More recently, Warr put together a solo album with songs that are mostly personal stories, including an almost forgotten family story about his grandfather leaving Newfoundland to work on New York skyscrapers. Other tales on Halfway up the Stairs include living on the road and missing the person he loves, and watching his six-month-old daughter asleep in her crib.

Sounds of guitar, harmonica, mandolin, button accordion, organ, bass guitar and percussion are all played by Warr on the album.

Warr said Wednesday he recently returned from the East Coast Music Awards, which nominated his album for Roots/Traditional Solo Recording of the Year. Although not crowned the winner, the nomination was nonetheless “quite an honour,” he said.

Showtime for his April 17 Steveston show is 7:30 p.m. at the Chinese Bunkhouse at Britannia Shipyards, 5180 Westwater Dr. Tickets, $8, at the door.

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