Entertainment

Osborne bringing stripped-down show to Courtenay

Neil Osborne chooses Vancouver Island for first solo set of performances. - PHOTO SUBMITTED
Neil Osborne chooses Vancouver Island for first solo set of performances.
— image credit: PHOTO SUBMITTED

As lead singer and chief songwriter of 54•40, Neil Osborne has achieved critical acclaim, released a dozen albums and weathered the fickle music business for more than three decades.

He is known primarily as a rock musician but is also an accomplished producer and a songwriter of amazing depth and clarity. And this month, Osborne’s songwriting will be the focus when he performs a series of solo acoustic shows in intimate venues on Vancouver Island.

From April 26 to May 3, Osborne will embark on his first solo tour, brought together by the Vancouver Island Music Connection, a dedicated group of venues, promoters and house concert hosts bringing great talent to small spaces. Osborne brings his stripped-down show to Courtenay Tuesday, April 29.

“I live in Victoria – makes sense to try something new close to home,” says Osborne. “I've been approached about doing a solo set before and have always declined because I have always felt 54•40 was the best vehicle for the songs I sing. Now, however, feels like a good time to just sing the songs bare and let the words do the talking, as it were.”

54.40’s body of work is impressive. After 30 years in the musical trenches, the band has varied its sound and earned proven commercial success via impressive record sales from 10 studio albums, two greatest hits packages and a double live album.

As a songwriter, Osborne has penned such signature 54•40 songs as “I Go Blind,” “One Gun,” “Since When” and “Ocean Pearl,” which have crossed from the realm of rock to a broader base. His lyrics range from the most politically astute observation to the most innocent love song – and everything in between.

Besides writing more than 20 charting radio songs, Osborne has been very active participant in the overall production of every 54•40 album. He has also produced albums for artists such as former Wailing Jenny Cara Luft, Vince Vaccaro, and Jets Overhead.  Along with bandmate, Dave Genn, Osborne produced the critically-acclaimed 12th and 13th releases for 54•40, Northern Soul (True North) and Lost In The City (Smilin’Buddha), which has led him to collaborations with his own daughter’s project, Kandle, for Montreal’s Dare To Care Records.

54•40 is currently working on new material and putting together an unplugged show and album, according to Osborne.

“I expect these shows will inform the direction 54•40 will take,” he says of his upcoming solo acoustic tour.

Osborne performs Tuesday, April 29 at 8 p.m. at The Avalanche Bar at 275 Eighth St. in Courtenay with special guests Ryan McMahon, a three-time Vancouver Island Music Awards winner from Ladysmith, and Laryssa Campbell.  Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for $25 plus surcharges in advance at Bop City Records and The Avalanche Bar in Courtenay or online at www.ticketzone.com, or for $30 at the door. This show is presented by Got Pop? Concerts and 98.9 Jet FM.

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