HALIFAX: An award-winning and well known Atlantic Canadian artist will be touring the area this month and next.
As part of his Innkeeper’s Christmas Tour, Lennie Gallant will be performing at the Island Nest in Arichat on Nov. 27, the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre on Dec. 16, and at the P.J. Baccardax Hall in Pomquet on Dec. 17.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Gallant told The Reporter. “We decided to keep it pretty eastern, this time around, in terms of COVID and travel, it seemed to make more sense that we would promote the album in this part of the world first.”
Gallant said Arichat was added to the tour after a recommendation from Dave Gunning and J.P. Cormier who recently played at the Isle Madame venue.
There are two additions to Gallant’s band this time around multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Keelin Wedge, as well as piano player Julien Robichaud.
“I’m really looking forward to it, every time I’ve played all these areas, it’s been a real treat,” he stated. “I’m excited about playing this album. I’m going to have a great band to play with, I’m looking forward to that.”
Although an annual tour, Gallant said this year the tour is in support of his newest album, Christmas Day On Planet Earth, a collection of new and original music to celebrate the holiday season coming out Nov. 12.
“I’m pretty excited about it, it’s my first Christmas album ever,” noted Gallant. “I’ve been thinking about doing for a very long time. It’s great to finally get this off the ground.”
Although Christmas is a “little less centralized” than when he grew up, Gallant said it remains special these days, even if it involves more travel.
“We always our traditions, going to midnight Mass, and after midnight Mass, we would get together, my mom made all these wonderful Acadian meat pies, which we weren’t allowed to touch until after the Mass,” he recalled. “It was a very cool, special family time.”
According to Gallant’s website, one silver lining to the global pandemic was creating “precious time” for artists, and this LP is the product of a spring and summer spent writing and in studio.
“It’s kind of an interesting exercise, I have to tell you, writing Christmas songs in a heat wave,” he said. “It seemed to turn out pretty good, I think.”
Christmas Day On Planet Earth is a unique collection of original songs with a global perspective about this much celebrated holiday, while keeping in mind that it’s a day for love, kindness and loads of fun.
Noting that many of the songs are hopeful, Gallant said this album “ranks with my very best work.” Christmas Day On Planet Earth takes listeners on a journey to various Christmas locations around the world, from Southern Africa with the title song, to Paris for a street waltz, the Middle East, Motown, an East Coast Kitchen gathering, and a hospital ward on Christmas Eve. Gallant calls the track “The Gift” an incredibly poignant song for what the world is going through. Gallant even has a song for those out there who may want to give the holiday season a pass, with the hilarious “I’m Gonna Have A Merry Christmas Even If It Kills Me!”
“What I tried to do in some of the songs on the album is recognize the fact that we do have issues to deal with, but they’re not insurmountable,” he noted. “And just pay some homage to some people who are out there working so hard to try and make things better.”
The album features a number of guest artists including vocalist Patricia Richard, and Zimbabwe acapella group Black Umfolosi who perform on the title track.
“The song celebrates the spirit that seems to exist during Christmas,” Gallant said. “It does seem to be a time of year when people are more open to reconciliation and celebration, and being positive about things in the world. It’s very difficult these days, when we have so much negativity out there. I think it’s great when we have a day or a season where you can try to be positive about things and celebrate things.”
The album was helmed by Juno Award winning producer Les Cooper (Jill Barber, Madison Violet, David Myles, Megan Smith).
“I’m really happy with my performance on this album, I particularly like the vocals in general,” he said. “I feel I’m performing better than I have and pretty proud of how the album turned out overall. It had some really strong performances.”
Gallant recalled he had a “blast” making the album. Aiming for each song to have a character and sound of its own, he said he is impressed with the level of musicianship.
“The bulk of the songs on the album are just celebratory fun Christmas songs, and talk about how on that particular day, we need to celebrate life and celebrate being together and the good things in the world and the positive things that are happening around the world,” he added.