Preachin’ to the Choir: A Fred Eaglesmith (Non) Primer

Canada's Big Hat Act -

On Tuesday, October 12th, Fred Eaglesmith returns to Seattle’s Tractor Tavern. He and the band finished up a 50-date tour in early September, just in time for him to begin a solo tour up the west coast. To quote his website: good lord. How many times can a touring musician be seen? No one asks that of their preachers. Don’t ask it of Fred.

Fred released his first album in the dark days of 1980. This year came his eighteenth. In a time where four 0r five albums come out in the same amount of time and sum up a career, Fred seems to be cut from an older stock where songwriters still write and singers still sing. At fifteen he left home to hitchhike and freight hop his way across Canada and hasn’t much let up since. His music comes from the great Canadian heartland and mixes country & western with bluegrass and rock ‘n roll and gospel into songs about beer and eggs and good dogs and small engines,  Hank Williams’ wife and sharecroppin’. He writes good songs about women. Women I know and have known, have lost and found. He writes good songs about men. Men as fathers, growing old, losing what’s theirs. He can tell a wicked joke. Sometimes they just lie there dead on a stage, waiting for the audience to pick them up and carry them off, and sometimes they bite like snakes.

Fred is close to being the quintessential community radio artist, if there could ever be such a thing. He’s fiercely independent, loyal to those around him, passionate about what he does, and is comfortable knowing that while not everyone will follow where he leads, the right people will. Don’t take my word for it: go see him on the 12th, and look at the couple of hundred people that show up. It’s a good crowd.

Post Script: The extremely talented songwriter, Zoe Muth, will be opening for Fred that evening, so I would highly recommend an early arrival.


About Iaan Hughes

Iaan Hughes is a deejay on 91.3 KBCS in Seattle. He plays country & western music.
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