The story of someone giving up one career to pursue another when they realize their passion lies elsewhere is not a new one.
Among musicians touring the Bow Valley, the story is certainly not new. Popular singer/songwriters Shane Philip and John Wort Hannam, for example, stepped away from teaching careers to follow a musical path.
On Feb. 25-26, another of those stories will also come to light when the doctor’s in the house at the Juniper Hotel Bistro.
Edmonton bluesman Marshall Lawrence will play the hotel’s Bison and Blues Winery Weekend, from 7-9 p.m. on Friday and 9-11 on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a really fun weekend,” said Lawrence. “Tinhorn Creek is going to be there with wine and there will be good food and the blues.”
Lawrence is a Blues Hall of Fame solo performer who plays acoustic slide and finger-style delta blues with National guitars and is a Maple Blues Award and Canadian Independent Music Awards nominee.
“I’ve been playing acoustic only for about five or six years now,” said Lawrence, “but I’ve been playing music for a long time. It’s what I really love to do.”
Lawrence has released three albums; Where’s The Party (2003, electric), Morning After (2008, acoustic) and Blues Intervention (2010, acoustic). He’ll play originals and covers at the Juniper.
Lawrence was born in Manitoba, raised in Windsor, Ont. and lived in California before moving to Edmonton years ago. He was dubbed “Doctor of the Blues” by a fan, “which was funny, because he didn’t know I have a Ph.D in psychology,” Lawrence said
For a decade, Lawrence worked with kids in the social services department. “I loved it, it was very rewarding,” he said. “They were great kids, usually just overlooked by society.”
Working amidst the chaos of social services, though, created stresses all its own and in December, Lawrence decided to turn his attention to playing the blues full-time.
“I’m loving it. I’m writing songs for a fourth CD now, I’ve got some recorded and I’m hoping to get in the studio sometime this summer. I write about life experiences; I think it’s the only thing a person can really write about. We write about what we know.”
A recent positive review in Living Blues magazine has sparked interest and aided in building a fan base, he said. “That magazine is the grand daddy of blues magazines in the U.S.”
Lawrence’s music has been described as acid blues and roots - delta-style with a raw edge. The Morning After and Blues Intervention charted in the Top 10 on Canada’s Roots Music Report.
The Bison and Blues Winery Weekend will feature winemaker Sandra Oldfield serving up the best of Tinhorn Creek Wines alongside Kelly Long’s Carmen Creek Bison.