Surrey Arts Centre’s main stage is among just three B.C. stops for Fred Penner on the veteran entertainer’s winter/spring tour of Canada.
His latest cross-country musical trek starts in Pender Harbour and heads east, ending in Ontario on the final day of March.
Penner’s tour hits the ground four months after he won the Children’s Artist of the Year nod at the Western Canadian Music Awards, held in Kelowna last October, and a nearly a year since he won a fourth JUNO trophy for Children’s Album of the Year.
The JUNO was for Hear the Music, a collection of 14 new songs Penner recorded with a galaxy of fellow Canadian musicians, including Ron Sexsmith, Alex Cuba, The Good Lovelies, Terra Lightfoot, Basia Bulat, Afie Jurvanen (aka Bahamas) and others.
The album, Penner’s 13th, also features vocals by members of his family.
“This album is dedicated to all you ‘Fred Heads,’ young and old, who have travelled with me on this musical journey,” Penner said at the time of the album’s release. “Considering I’ve been on the road for 45 years, there are now three generations of families who continue to inspire me to make music.”
“Fred Heads” is a name given to Generation Y and millennial hipsters who grew up listening to Penner’s music, and have since shown up at his concerts at clubs and college venues.
Among these “Heads” are some of his collaborators on Hear the Music, apparently.
“I met Fred (after) singing in a workshop with him a few years ago,” Lightfoot recalled in a release. “He’s such a wonderful human and I was so pleased to meet him since I used to wake with the sun to watch Fred Penner’s Place as a child.”
Said Sexsmith: “It was a very enjoyable experience for me. Fred has a sort of calming almost shaman like vibe and has a good sense of humour as well. The session took no time at all and afterwards we had a nice breakfast at Grapefruit Moon.”
Hear The Music reunited Penner with his longtime friend and producer, Ken Whiteley.
“I am honoured to have worked with him and the wealth of passionate, talented musicians who provided their creativity and support on this exciting project,” Penner said.
“I’ve known Fred for over 35 years,” Whiteley added, “including making four albums together. I’ve watched generations embrace Fred’s music and it’s been wonderful to see not just kids and families but lots of young adults excited by his work.”
In Surrey, tickets for Penner’s concert at the arts centre are $25 each, or $80 for a pack of four, online at tickets.surrey.ca or call the box office, 604-501-5566. A “live look” at available seats is posted on the website.