Join Us & Celebrate!
Though Canada Day has past the celebration of Canadian artists continues at River Run Centre with the kick off our 20th Anniversary featuring Canada’s ‘First Lady of Country Music’, Carroll Baker. Baker was one of the very first performers on our stage in 1997 and we are pleased to see her return this fall. We recently had an opportunity to ask Baker a few questions on her music, Canadian culture and more. Enjoy this sneak-peak…
Q & A with Carroll Baker
Q: As we celebrate not only our 20th anniversary this season, we are also acknowledging Canada’s 150th as we are so proud to present many amazing Canadian artists over the years. You have contributed to the cultural fabric of Canadian country music since 1969. How did it feel in 1975 to be the first Canadian country star to be a certified Gold Record Status?
A: First let me say how wonderful it is to be celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday, and I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be a part of that history. It is humbling to say the least. To have been the first Canadian Country Music recording artist to receive a certified Gold record for sales in Canada was incredible. I thought winning my country music awards and Juno Awards was the best it could ever get. Boy was I wrong. Being presented certified Gold and Platinum records for sales was and is so much more than winning any award. It meant that I had fans who actually liked my music and went out and paid their hard earned money to listen to my music. It gave me the confidence that I lacked in myself to continue. I learned quickly that hard work pays off. I was always prepared whenever I went on stage. I felt I was obligated to do the best possible concert I could do and record the best songs available to me whether they were songs I composed myself or compositions by others.
Q: Over the years you have had the opportunity to perform with a variety of artists such as Eddie Eastman and Roger Whittaker. Who was the most memorable artists you have performed with and why?
A: I have indeed recorded and performed with many different singers, songwriters and recording artists including the two you mentioned. There are just too many and impossible to choose just one. There were so many that were great. I still find myself in awe of the opportunity to have worked with so many greats from all around the globe. Each and every recording artist is unique. They all have that special thing called charisma. You either have it or you don’t, and all the great ones have it.
Q: The diversity of Canadian music is as vast as its landscape. Born in Nova Scotia, travelling the world and now residing in Guelph, Ontario, which Canadian location would you say feels most like home?
A: Canadian music is diverse and having traveled across this country more times than I can remember, I have seen how different each region is musically. I think that is wonderful. Although my career began in Oakville, Ontario and I lived there in my teens with my parents and also when I first married. I have lived in the Guelph area longer than I have lived anywhere. My husband John and I bought an acreage in Morriston just South of the 401 on highway 6 when our daughter Candace was only 6 years old. We lived there until Candace began high school and then moved to Guelph. Guelph is home. It’s the place I long to return to when I come home from a tour or even from a holiday for that matter. We still own property in Queen’s County Nova Scotia, and as the sign says when you enter Port Medway Nova Scotia, “Home of Canada’s Queen of Country Music” well, to say that I am not flattered by that would simply be untrue. It does flatter me and makes me proud to know that my accomplishments have been respected that way. However, as I said Guelph is my home and when I received the Order of Canada it was listed in the archives that I was from both Guelph and Port Medway Nova Scotia. I am completely happy with that reference.
Q: Throughout your work you have created songs that challenge/comment on humanity such as ‘One is One Too Many’ and ‘It’s Only Make Believe’. What other themes or lessons do you wish for listeners to take away from your music?
A: Oh wow, that is a great question. One is One Too Many and a Thousands Not Enough will always be the song that I am the most proud to have written. That song has changed the lives of countless people. I have received letters, emails and testimonies from all over the world from people who have told me that song saved them from dying a death of addiction. Although my song was written about a guitar player I met who was suffering from alcoholism, it has touched the lives of people with all kinds of substance abuse. I am amazed that I wrote that song to tell the truth. In those days I wrote so much because I was always alone on the road in a hotel room. My only companion was my guitar, being lonely sure helped me write several number one songs. Guess being lonely was not such a bad thing in retrospect. Another song I’m proud to have written is I’m An Old Rock and Roller. It was amazing to have the likes of Tom Jones record that song. He was one of my idols back in the day and to have him record a song I wrote was unbelievable. I got to do a concert in Houston Texas at the Stockyards. He had won International Country Male Entertainer of the year and I won International Country Female Entertainer of the Year. I was more excited about getting the chance to be on the same show as Tom Jones than I was to win that award!
I have never really thought about what lessons I would like for people to learn from my songs. It is not my place to teach anyone any lessons from my music. I simply hope that people enjoy what I do. If they go to my concerts I hope that the time they spend there takes them away from their troubles. I hope they feel good. I want to touch them on an emotional and honest level. I try to be honest and if my music is delivered with that same honesty that makes me happy. I am nothing special at what I do, I just happen to do something that is very special. Music is one of my many blessings and an incredible gift from God.
Q: What does it mean to you to be returning to the River Run Centre stage on Oct 4th during our 20th Anniversary Celebration?
A: In 2009 I did a concert at the River Run and said it would be my last time there. I planned to retire from touring. I did in fact retire from touring for awhile but missed performing. I began to do the occasional concert and still do but no long tours anymore. I pick and choose where I WANT to sing now. What a luxury to be able to do that. No more lonely nights on the road by myself. Now my husband goes everywhere I go and it is more than I deserve to have such happiness. We were in Florida when we were contacted to do the River Run anniversary and I was a bit reluctant because I said I would not be returning to the River Run stage again. I will never say never again! I am so honoured to be doing this performance. My band Baker Street will be with me, my daughter Candace will be there. I rarely get to have her sing with me anymore so this is a treat for me. She is such a great singer. She blows me away with her voice. Also, Jordan, my granddaughter will be showing off her dancing skills, and Emotion Dance Company of Guelph will be there to do something for everyone as well. To return to celebrate 20 years is a bit like returning home for me. I was one of the performers who opened the River Run Centre 20 years ago. It seems like it was only yesterday. Guelph is fortunate to have such a great venue and I hope the evening is a tremendous success. What an incredible year this is, 20 years for the River Run and 150 years for Canada. Just being alive to be a part of all this is such an incredible honour!
20th Anniversary Celebration with Carroll Baker
Wed, Oct 4, 2017 @ 7 pm