Three all-star country music acts are coming to Parksville’s Royal Canadian Legion, Br. #49 — Mt. Arrowsmith next weekend … well, almost.
On June 13, the legion will host A Tribute to Country Music Greats with Aaron Halliday as Alan Jackson, Darla Cooper and Candy Little as the Judds and Steve Hillis as Garth Brooks.
“It’s going to be a bang-up show,” said the Legion’s entertainment chair Larry Hall. “I think people will enjoy what they see.”
All three acts have plenty of experience with their tributes, after all.
Darla Cooper and Candy Little, who both have day-jobs with the B.C. government, started their tribute act in 2000 at a contest held at the legion in Victoria. Neither had any experience prior to that gig, but that didn’t hold them back.
“We were both huge fans of the Judds,” said Little. “It’s almost like we don’t have to try.”
Halliday has also been performing as Jackson for over a decade. He said that he chose to portray Jackson because he felt a connection to the artist’s songs and the songwriting.
“Him (Jackson) and I are of the same mindset,” he said.
Hillis, on the other hand, began performing as Brooks all the way back in 1998 after a friend suggested he try it.
“I thought I’d give it a shot,” he said, adding that he had been doing tribute acts since 1996.
When it comes to becoming a good tribute artist, Hillis said that “lots of experience is probably key” as there are a lot of things to learn along the way.
According to Halliday, tribute artists need to focus on perfecting sound, music, costumes and movement in order to stay as close to the actual artist as possible. That way, an audience has the “chance to see as close to the real artist without having to pay the big money,” he said.
That being said, not everything is true-to-life in a tribute performance. Sometimes, a performers’ own personality filters into the interpretation. “I tend to be more energetic than Alan Jackson,” Halliday admitted, saying Jackson tends to stay close to the mic during his shows.
However, Hillis said personal touches don’t negatively affect a performance. “It’s all about attitude,” he said. “You’re selling it.”
“People aren’t dumb,” he added. “You’re not pulling the wool over their eyes.”
This isn’t the first time in Parksville for any of the performers; all three acts were part of the Vancouver Island International Tribute Festival over the past two years.
“They were really well received (at the Tribute Festival),” said Hall.
For the show at the legion, however, the artists get to really show off their chops.
The legion show will be spilt into three separate concerts, Hall said, with each artist playing a 40 minute set. There will be a brief intermission between each act.
“It will be a good time,” said Hillis.
The Tribute to Country Music Greats show will be at Parksville’s Royal Canadian Legion, Br. #49 — Mt. Arrowsmith on on Saturday, June 13.
Doors will open at 6 p.m., at which time both the kitchen and bar will be open. The show will start at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $30 in advance at the Legion bar or $35 at the door.
Ticket holders will be automatically be entered into a two draws, each for a pair of tickets to any show at the Legion between now and December.
All proceeds from the night will go towards the restoration of the Arbutus Grove Reform Church.