The Minstrel Cafe & Bar
April 9, 2011
Royal Wood breezed through town the other night on his second across-Canada tour. Unlike last year’s tour, the Juno nominee singer/songwriter is hitting the interiors of each province (instead of the major cities) and playing to smaller more intimate venues rather than the large capacity theatres. As he told an appreciative audience, it allows him to strip away some of the distractions and connect with people on a more personal and emotional level.
Two songs into the set, Royal switched from guitar to keyboard – sharing with us the fact that although he brings his own portable keyboard, as soon as he saw the old wooden upright in the corner, he knew he had to find a way to incorporate it into the evening. Slightly out of tune on the one end, the old beauty sounded amazing in the space as Royal coaxed his next tunes out of it with skill and love.
Just before the end of the first set, the performer told us of how one of his songs had come about… he had bought a ticket to go see Bob Dylan a few years back, and had been sorely disappointed. Dylan had ‘run through the songs’ rather than perform with any real feeling. Royal suggested that perhaps it was time for Dylan to retire – and then joked “now that I’ve lost everyone in the room” and launched into his song (for the record, I saw Dylan on the same tour, and had the exact same reaction and sentiment)
The set ended with a good heavy applause and the 15 minute break before the second set, saw the performer doing one on one with as many show goers as he could speak to in that short time frame. The second set was better than the first, and part of the set included a short commentary on World Vision and being a sponsor to a child. (I spoke to Royal on the break and he does this at every show regardless of the size or venue – he believes in doing something to give back).
All in all the evening was enjoyable, stimulating, and a sonic delight. The sound was excellent, Royal’s musicianship is stellar and the best part? Being able to hear the singer’s lyrics clearly and have them sung to you with passion and emotion.