Debbie Ryan first played for a crowd when she was 13

Friday Dec. 5 at the Acoustic Cafe in Qualicum Beach

Life has a nasty habit of trying to take Qualicum Beach resident Debbie Ryan away from singing and playing the guitar, but it hasn’t succeeded yet.

“I just love to entertain and make it fun,” she said.

Born in Coombs, Ryan debuted her musical skills at the Errington Coffee House when she was just 13. As she grew older, however, music fell to the wayside as she started to have a family of her own. For 20 years, her guitar more or less sat in the corner.

Then, about eight years ago, Ryan’s passion got the better of her and she embarked on a semi-professional career playing acoustic music at markets and private gigs. She has played with the ECHO Players, at the Coombs Bluegrass Festival and has been the feature performer at the Victoria Folk Music Society. She also played with the Rockin’ Rebels, a 1950s style rock band, for five years.

As luck would have it, however, life intervened once again. This time, it came in the form of her business, Shoe Inn. While Ryan continued to practice the guitar, she left the spotlight and hunkered down to focus on the store.

Since Ryan sold Shoe Inn in July, she’s already “diving into music.” She’s currently working on her second CD in Victoria, which she hopes to release this summer. She describes her music as uplifting, fun and grooving. “I’m lacking angst,” she joked.

Ryan also hopes to start playing festivals. “I’m going to go all over; wherever they’ll have me,” she said.

In the meantime, however, Ryan’s next gig is this Friday when she will be the feature performer at the Acoustic Cafe in Qualicum Beach. “We are thrilled that Debbie could do the December show,” said the event’s organizer Joyce Beaton. “She is so talented and such a hit with our audience. She was a feature before and we loved her.”

“I’m really looking forward to this gig,” said Ryan, who will be playing an eclectic mix of root, folk, country and old rock ’n roll covers and originals on the guitar and banjo. She also said she’ll be joined by a special guest near the end of her set.

The Acoustic Cafe is on Friday Dec. 5 at the Rotary Hall in Qualicum Beach. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the entertainment starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 and are available at Vintage Candy shop in Qualicum Beach.