Audiences will get to see a little bit of what’s going on in Chris Ronald’s mind when he plays as the Qualicum Acoustic Cafe’s featured musician at the end of the month.
“Songwriting is almost a way to vent; to figure things out,” said the Vancouver-based musician.
This practice of expressing himself through song is something that started early for him. “My first song started as a poem,” Ronald said, adding that he was 15 years old at the time and probably should have been paying attention in class when he wrote it. “I haven’t really stopped since.”
That first poem/song, which Ronald said had a heavy environmental slant to it, also set the tone for the theme of many songs over the years. “I’ve asked myself, ‘Where have all the protest songs gone?’” he said, and he decided that he wasn’t going to “shy away” from those big issues.
However, Ronald also said that environmentalism is “by no means the majority of songs” in his repertoire. “There’s a real span of topics,” he said, listing off family and world events as other inspiration. Also, the title song of his third and latest album Timeline is one that he wrote about his “mid-life crisis.” Ronald said that he suddenly found himself trying to figuring out if he would be happy looking back on the timeline of his own life… and he discovered that the answer was “probably not.”
“I wasn’t following my passion,” he said. “We only get one stab at this life.”
It was this realization that has brought Ronald to where he is today. Originally a full-time elementary school teacher, Ronald decided at that point to become a substitute teacher to free up his time for music.
That risk payed off. According to a news release, songs from Timeline won him a nomination for Songwriter of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
“Some would say that’s pretty quick … to get that recognition,” said Ronald, who seriously started to pursue his music career only three years ago. “It’s filled me with a lot of confidence.” So much so, that he has submitted his work to the 2015 Juno awards in the Songwriter and Alternative Album categories.
“I’m doing the best possible job with the resources I have,” he said. “It seems to be paying off.”
For his upcoming concert in Qualicum, Ronald will also be joined onstage by award-winning, Island-born producer and musician John MacArthur Ellis, who also produced Ronald’s latest album.
“It’s a pretty strong team,” said Ronald. “He’s a phenomenal multi-instrumentalist.”
While the Qualicum Acoustic Cafe is normally on the first Friday of each month, this show will take place on Jan. 30. The show will still be at the Rotary Hall in Qualicum Beach, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the entertainment starting at 7:30 p.m.
As always, the night will also include an open stage filled with local performers. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at Diva’s Kakes & Kandy in Qualicum Beach.
Those interested in sharing their talent in the upcoming months as a feature or open-stage performer can contact Joyce or John Beaton at email@example.com. The Qualicum Acoustic Cafe’s stage is open to everyone; however, performers must reserve their spot.
There will be no cafe on Feb. 6 as Ronald’s featured show is replacing that date. Regular scheduling will return for March’s concert.