Ask Kevin Woodward about his music, and he’ll tell you it’s a hobby.
That’s despite performing just about every Monday and Wednesday evening at the Black Goose Inn in Parksville as its resident singer. And forgetting that his work has flirted with fame since he was 17, and that he’s just released a new album.
But, then, that’s the way the folk singer wants to keep it. He said he wouldn’t want music to become a job.
If it were his job, it would inevitably lose something, living amongst other job titles like lawyer, salesman or reporter, even.
Besides, he’s got one of those already: chartered accountant.
Don’t be fooled by the purple streak in his long hair — accounting is what he does for a living, with his own practice in Victoria.
He’ll put the hair in a ponytail and head on down to work, but on his way back into Parksville, before he even exits his Mercedes Benz, the hair comes out, and he’s himself again, Woodward said during an interview in the Black Goose Inn.
“I keep (being a chartered accountant) a secret, but it’s part of who I am,” he said. Still, he looks to leave that part of himself in Victoria.
“I’m kind of visible and well-known in Victoria, so I moved up here and I don’t want to be a chartered accountant up here. I want to be a singer at the Black Goose Inn.”
That’s led to a bit of confusion with some audience-members, said Woodward.
“A guy who was staying next to me (at Beach Acres Resort where Woodward lives in a 640-sq. ft. home), a lawyer from Toronto, he came in (the Black Goose) one night, and he says, ‘Hey, you’re pretty good. What do you do?’ I said, ‘I sing here.’ He said, ‘How’s it?’ I said, ‘I struggle along,’ and he gave me 10 bucks.
“And the next day… I was on my cellphone doing a share structure with a corporate lawyer… and I’m walking back into the house. He says, ‘I want my 10 dollars back,’” finishes Woodward with a laugh.
But being a musician by day and an accountant by night isn’t about hoodwinking folks — it’s about having a decent job and still being who you want to be, said Woodward.
Hitting that balance has taken some time for Woodward. Living with clinical depression, stress has had a hand in shaping what that balance looks like. That struggle is something he wears on his sleeve, literally, with a semicolon tattoo he’s got on his wrist.
One of his dedications in his new album goes out to fellow survivors of mental illness.
Another is to the LGBTQ community, saying his song, ‘Mindso’ is for them. The song, a treatise on what boys and girls are taught to be as they grow up, is a response to the courage Woodward has seen around him, he said.
“I have one friend who’s transgender who I watched go through that horrible process. I have another friend up here who is somewhere in that process, and I just have such respect for these people, because all I really had to do to be true to myself is grow my hair and put a purple streak in it, and become a folk singer.
“I’ve just got so much inspiration from people who, in order to be true to themselves, have had to do this crazy stuff. And I truly believe that we all need to be true to ourselves.”
That’s something he held onto when making Freedom, his new album: a compilation of his best work over the 60-year-old’s musical career.
You can see him play Monday and Wednesday at the inn from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., or find his CD there and at Cranky Dog Music in Parksville.