Richard Wood (left) and Gordon Belsher are bringing some East Coast charm to the Harrison Memorial Hall. Submitted

Harrison treated to Maritime tunes

Richard Wood and Gordon Belsher bringing east coast music to Memorial Hall

Bluenosers, Maritimers and West Coasters alike will delight in the Harrison Festival Society’s upcoming performance.

Prince Edward Islander Richard Wood will bring his rich fiddle-playing and step-dance traditions to the Harrison Memorial Hall, with musical partner Gordon Belsher bringing guitar and vocals.

Harrison Festival artistic director Andy Hillhouse said Wood’s style of playing is amalgam of different influences.

“PEI fiddlers have long been exposed to recordings of Cape Breton fiddlers, and there is definitely the influence of Cape Breton music in Richard’s playing – that driving, energetic style that is totally designed for dances,” Hillhouse said. “But you can also hear the classic, so-called ‘down home’ style that Don Messer made famous, and even shades of the PEI Acadian style. It’s all in there – pure bow-driven energy.”

Wood is one of the artists to emerge from the “Celtic wave” that hit Canada in the 1990s, when localized music from Canada’s East Coast emerged on airwaves across the country.

Along with Wood’s innate East Coast musical energy comes an incredible talent for step dancing. A child prodigy, Wood developed a following in the 1990s with his rock and roll flair and traditional roots.

For 20 years, Wood has toured with Belsher, who backs him with incredible rhythm guitar and vocals.

The concert is at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Harrison Memorial Hall. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at harrisonfestival.com, by calling 604-796-3554 or at the Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart.