HALIFAX: Although established solo artists in their own right, two veterans of the East Coast music scene are teaming up for a local performance.
On July 17, the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre’s Bear Head Room is scheduled to host J.P. Cormier and Dave Gunning, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Gunning said they first met by playing together, and connected, forming what he called a “deep friendship” over the years.
“We travelled a lot, been through a lot together,” he noted. “J.P. is family. He’s uncle J.P. to our kids. I guess, because of the COVID thing, I’ve been staying home and I’m anxious to get out back playing. There’s no one better to do it with than J.P. because I find I’m just so comfortable working with him, that it makes things so easy when we’re there together because he’s my battle friend and it’s just fun.”
Cormier pointed out they’ve known each other for about 25 years.
“He hired me as a side man, I was subbing for another fiddler that couldn’t make it to his gig,” he recalled. “I didn’t know him from Adam and he didn’t know me. And he hired me and that’s how we met. I was working for him. He actually was the first person to hire me after I got back here from Nashville.”
Gunning noted that because they were such close friends and were hanging out regularly, Cormier recommended they start making music together.
“We just decided to start recording,” he recalled. “We’d get together for an evening and record one song. Then we’d get together for another evening, and we’d record another song.”
Along with songs from their collaboration Two, which was released in 2017, the duo will play some of their solo songs at the Bear Head Room.
“We will both be doing our own solo stuff, that never stops,” Gunning pointed out. “The strength of this duo thing is that we are strong on our own; we can fill rooms on our own. This show together is a lot of fun for us.”
During their joint appearances, Cormier noted that they’ve been able to “draw a different crowd” from their solo work.
“You’d think that we’d have a mixture of each other’s audiences, but I think we actually get new people involved with our music which I’m very thankful for,” he said.
In addition to onstage chemistry and their ability to write together, Cormier gave props to the many efforts of Gunning.
“One of the reasons the record sounds so damn good is that Dave mixed it and produced it and he spent a great deal of time in his studio working on that project, and it really paid off,” he noted.
Because of the global pandemic, the music industry has changed permanently, Cormier said, pointing to fewer live performances, cancelled festivals and how new releases are promoted differently.
Since last year, Cormier’s efforts have concentrated on his YouTube channel and his online music school.
“If I could just go out and play with Dave, that would satisfy me, and just do that a few times a year,” Cormier said.
For his part, Gunning said any upcoming performances will be at locations within a reasonable driving distance.
“I’m also not really looking to go back on the road to the same degree that I was. My tour dates depended on me getting on airplanes, I’m not really excited about the idea of flying too much for a while,” he said.
Currently, Gunning and Cormier have performances booked in the Halifax Regional Municipality, and have started work on a couple of songs for a new album, which has no title.
Tickets are available by calling 902-625-2591 and seating is limited to 100 people to adhere to public health protocols.
“We’re brothers, but sometimes when we get together, it has nothing to do with music, it has to do with the fact we’re brothers,” Cormier added.