Campbell River musician Sean Hogan (left) shoots a music video in Mexico in November of last year. Hogan is headed back down to the Mexican town Huatulco on Feb. 19, but not before performing at Smoke ‘N Water Restaurant in Nanoose Bay on Feb. 17. — Submitted by Sean Hogan

Island musician’s ode to Mexican town earns trips south

Sean Hogan performing in Nanoose Bay before heading to Huatulco Feb. 19

Alt-country/folk musician Sean Hogan had never been to Mexico when he penned a loving ode to tourist town Huatulco, Mexico.

A musician for the past 25 years, Hogan’s career has seen a good amount of accolades, and some trips abroad to Australia and the U.S., but music has been about breadwinning for his family as much as seeking fame.

So when a fan related to Hogan stories of his trip to Huatulco, it was enough to spark Hogan’s interest.

“I wrote this tune dreaming about this beautiful, warm place,” said Hogan, who’s based in Campbell River.

To his surprise, some realtors in the Mexican town (Canadian expats) heard Hogan’s song, and flew him down in November to record a music video.

It was an exciting trip for the 52-year-old musician, who’s a cancer survivor and said he wasn’t too sure how many more adventures life had in store for him.

But there was more to come.

Since recording the music video, he’s got several weeks of performances booked in Huatulco, including some benefit concerts to raise funds for earthquake survivors from the state Huatulco is in.

He’s headed back down Feb. 19, but before that, locals can hear him perform his ode to Huatulco on Feb. 17 at Smoke ’N Water Restaurant (1-1600 Stroulger Rd. in Nanoose Bay) at around 7 p.m., along with plenty more of his own songs and some well-known favourites.

Hogan has won various awards over the years for his music, beginning with a Canadian Country Music Association award for Independent Male Artist of the Year in 1997 and including CCMA’s Roots Artist of the Year award in 2003.

He’s worked to hone a style that erases the lines between roots rock and country, playing guitar and singing on various topics, including the flooding of Siksika Nation lands in southern Alberta in 2013.

He’s no stranger to supporting causes, organizing annual Canadian Country Christmas tours that have raised more than $200,000.

But in 2011, Hogan was on the receiving end of needed support, after what at first was diagnosed as tonsillitis turned out to be oral pharyngeal cancer.

Now, he’s six years cancer free, though cancer treatment takes its own toll.

“I’m a cancer survivor and I’m very grateful,” he said. “But you keep on keeping on and you come to a point sometimes where you’re like, maybe there are no more great surprises.”

These trips to Huatulco seem to have proved him wrong. Beyond just spending some time soaking up the rays, playing some concerts and supporting a worthy cause, Hogan has even met Mexico’s top mermaid, Brenda Gomez, who featured in his music video before heading off to compete in Egypt.

“Believe it or not,” he said.

“I’ve got to say, it’s an amazing opportunity,” he said of the trip. “I’m not exactly a well-off superstar. I’m just a singer/songwriter who’s made his living doing this for over 25 years, but I never imagined that, when I wrote about this place that I was musing about, that it would lead to this experience.”

To find out more about Hogan and to watch his music video, go to www.seanhogan.net.

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