Country singer John Landry brought an old fashion kitchen party to Happy Valley-Goose Bay last Thursday night at the O’Brien Arts Centre and Last Friday in Labrador City. About 250 people attended both nights and were treated to Landry, Glen Parson and Craig Young.
The trio performed many of Landry’s hits from his new Album “Changing Man.”
Landry said that he came to Goose Bay after being told that the Town was interested in having him perform here.
He had been to Goose Bay before as part of his job with CFB Gander - 103 Squadron: Search & Rescue.
“This is the first time here as a musician, in Goose Bay and Lab City or Newfoundland for that matter. We have never actually toured anywhere except for St. John’s,” he said.
Landry says he prefers to perform for smaller venues than the larger one because they are more personal and you have a better opportunity to talk one-on-one to the audience.
He said that he and the band played for crowds of up to 100,000 and that he enjoys the smaller theatre style venues of less than a thousand where you can see the crowd and take the time to meet some of them after the show.
Landry said when he first hit the stage years ago, it was overwhelming and the band got caught up in the bright lights and accolades but after awhile it became evident that the awards and nominations, the after parties, the media blitzes meant nothing.
“When you have 10, 20 thousand people there is no interaction, whereas in a venue of a couple of hundred people you can get intimate with people, and I really like that aspect,” he said.
He said the idea of the small more intimate venue came from doing Christmas shows across Canada and they were popular with folks, so he decided to extend it to part of his regular concert tours.
“We wanted the tours to be an extension of my living room, we did it nationally, where it was a bunch of these theater things, literally. We did not rehearse, we did not practice, we would get up and start playing as if we were in our living room,” Landry said.
With his new album “Changing Man”, Landry said he wanted to get back to the basics like it was with his first album “Forever Took Too Long”, which was released in 2000, when he did not know the rules of recording or performing.
“We just went in and made an album, where we had a blast making it. The new album was a year in the making, I used musicians I played live with, and used them in the studio,” he said.
Landry said it was the same magic they have when performing, it was carried into the recording studio. He said his first album and the new album were his best. Although he likes the others, he says they lost something because they were big productions.
“Those big production albums were done in Nashville, with fancy players and stuff. Even though the finished product was as good as the others, the experience to create the album with a big production was not enjoyable for me,” he added.
Landry said that with the Nashville albums, corporate labels were involved, making things complicated and music is not meant to be complicated, it is meant to be a big kitchen party.
He said, he never enjoyed playing in front of large crowds and he learned to play and sing in the living room with family and friends.
“It was a horrible experience in the beginning. I got used to bearing your soul up there. I wrote all these songs, so there is a piece of me in these songs. It is difficult and it still is, you don’t want people to walk away, not enjoying themselves,” Landry said.
He said a big part of his success has been because he is more of a fan of country music than an artist.
“I actually did not fit in to the corporate label or the whole artist world, because I like to work outside the box and do my own thing and I think the audience enjoys that aspect of my performance,” he added.
He said he has been fortunate because he has had 12 years on the world stage and had the big record label behind him. Landry says with that success came a crew of people who work behind the scene, feeding him up to raise a family and to be a good father and husband.
Landry said when he got married five years ago he and his wife talked about his music career and both decided he would take time off to be with his family and work on his career with S.A.R. (Search and Rescue)
“You know it was a depart with dignity. We were at the top of or game and country music was going to places that I wasn’t. I knew within a few years my music wouldn’t be what everyone was looking for.”
Landry said he wanted to stick with the core audience he had and hopefully grow old with them.
“Hopefully I can do this once a year, go out and do a theater tour across Canada and so far we have been doing it and it has been wonderful,” said Landry.
With the change in country music and many artists singing a pop country tune Landry has stuck to his roots as an artist, singing ballads and what is known as alternative country songs.
“I am a traditional vocalist and a bring an edgy Honky Tonk to my songs. In all honesty I became bored where the music was going and I wanted to part of something much, much bigger,” he said.
When asked if Landry had any advice for inspiring country artists he said, “ Don’t look at me, we just went and did our own thing and got an incredible amount of luck. We were there at the right time and that is the only secret to the music business.”