The Good Lovelies, an Ontario-based trio, are headed to Surrey for a Jan. 27 concert date at the arts centre, with hired bass player and drummer in tow. (submitted photo)

Harmonious pairing for Surrey concert date this month

Surrey-raised Desiree Dawson opens for Ontario-based Good Lovelies at Surrey Arts Centre on Jan. 27

A concert in Surrey on Jan. 27 offers a pairing in perfect harmony.

The Saturday-nighter at Surrey Arts Centre’s main stage will feature Ontario-rooted headliners the Good Lovelies with special-guest show opener DesirĂ©e Dawson, the Surrey-raised musician who won CBC’s national Searchlight competition in 2016.

“Settle in for a feel-good evening of sweet harmonies and soulful melodies,” raves the arts centre’s publicist in a press release, and the pre-show hype is justified.

The Good Lovelies, a trio founded by Kerri Ough, Sue Passmore and Caroline Brooks, have toured their brand of country-folk charm for more than a decade, with bass and drums added where needed.

This time out, they have a new album to preview, in the form of Shapeshifters, due out Feb. 9.

“It’s been three years since we put out an album, and we spent most of 2017 churning this one out in two little pieces,” reported Ough in a phone call with the Now-Leader. “For the tour (through B.C. and Washington), we’re really excited because for the first time in 11 years of this band, we’re going out on the road with a five-piece band, with a full-time drummer. It’s really thrilling to us to bring our songs to life that way.”

The new album brings a change in sound for the the Juno-winning three-piece, who have entered what Ough calls the “pop contemporary world” with “I See Gold,” the lead single released in October, and other album tracks.



“For a band that started with a banjo, mandolin and acoustic guitar, it’s thrilling to be at a place where the music has evolved to this place, with electric guitars, drums, bass, keys,” she noted. “It’s still acoustic and banjo here and there but, you know, the sound has grown, we have changed, we have grown. We’re still who we are, but as with anything in the arts, it’s all about evolving, and it is very pop-y, and we’re proud of this stuff.”

Dawson has experienced tremendous artistic growth of her own since graduating from Earl Marriott Secondary in 2009.

The ukulele-playing singer, who also teaches yoga and now lives in Vancouver, has used her Searchlight win as a career-building springboard, as designed by those who run the competition.

“My friend sent me the link saying I should enter it, but I wasn’t sure about it,” Dawson recalled. “I entered a few things when I was younger, like Canadian Idol, which went terrible, and Peak Performance Project, and I didn’t make it into the first round. I thought, maybe I’m just not the type of person who enters these things. But this one, it took me awhile to (enter), and I did. What did I have to lose, right?”



In a move that proved fortuitous, she entered an older song of hers at the time, because it also had a video (one of the contest rules).

“I scoured my computer and had this song called ‘Hide,’ and I really didn’t want to use it,” she said. “I was over it, and I wanted to find a new song, something else, but it was my only option and it was all last-minute, so I pretty much had to use that one. And it won, and it’s funny because that song has a whole life of its own now. The part of the song about coming out of hiding when I was hiding, and the contest kind of brought me out of hiding, it’s just a funny kind of thing, ironic.”



Today, “Hide” has more than a million streams on the Spotify music service.

“It was fear of performing but more than that, just a fear of being myself,” elaborated Dawson when asked about her mindset in the years before her Searchlight win, “because I think the music I make is my story, about the people in my life, and it’s a very vulnerable thing to share yourself and your imperfections with people, especially on stage. It was about coming out of hiding from a music standpoint but also just on a personal standpoint as well.”

For Dawson, the concert on Jan. 27 marks a return to Surrey Arts Centre, where she impressed guests during her turn in the spotlight at the 2017 Surrey Civic Treasures gala last October.

• READ MORE: Surrey’s newest Civic Treasures celebrated at Business & the Arts event, from Oct. 4, 2017.

The Good Lovelies, meanwhile, are trying to balance home life with their love of the road. A couple of the band members have children now, and those life experiences run through their songwriting narrative as a travelling band.

On this tour, the women are joined by Mark Mariash on drums and Steven Zsirai on bass.

“We can’t wait,” said Ough, who was driving a rental car through a Toronto-area blizzard when reached by the Now-Leader.

“I’m coming in a few days early to get ready for the tour, so that all adds up to some interesting travel days,” added Ough, who moved to Newfoundland a few years ago. “Right now, all I can see are red tail-lights and I’m driving about 20 miles an hour, so I’ll listen to some music and hang out with you here on speaker phone. Back home, it was plus-15 and I was biking in a T-shirt. It’s nuts.”

Showtime is 8 p.m. for the Surrey concert date, presented by Surrey Civic Theatres. Of note, the artists are scheduled to do a “meet and greet” with concert-goers after the show. Tickets range in price from $29 to $49. Call 604-501-5566 for details, or visit The theatre is located at 13750 88th Ave., at Bear Creek Park, Surrey.


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