Country musician Jamie Warren is preparing his fourth year of “Stories & Songs” concerts for Drayton Entertainment. Every year – and every time he has performed – something has happened to him onstage that doesn’t happen in his daily life.“There’s a performer that comes out,” says Warren. “People have often asked me if I get nervous. Well, no. I get nervous about different things that are connected with entertaining, but going out on stage in front of people, and singing and talking to them, is wonderful. I feel more comfortable there than in other parts of my life.”
He elaborates. “You’re being sort of a morphed version of yourself, even though you’re being honest.” He pauses. “Boy, doesn’t that sound like a Freudian moment? But what I’m saying is … you are yourself, but you’re kind of a pumped-up version of yourself. You’re actually ‘playing’ yourself onstage, and there’s a security in that, because you’re really not as vulnerable as it presents.”
Is this a common feeling among colleagues in the country music industry?
“You’ll run into some people who will sing a song and get a little shy, but there aren’t that many of those. I think in some ways, that’s a myth. I think there’s an amount of shyness in many creative people, but once you get onstage, it’s a different thing.”
Warren plans to communicate some of that feeling at the Drayton Festival Theatre and St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, where he will perform with fellow songwriters Patricia Conroy, Charlie Major and Duane Steele for two evenings of singing and storytelling.
“There are times when we’ll sing harmony with each other’s stuff, playing along with each other,” says Warren. “The biggest thing is, you get an opportunity to see us presented in a very intimate setting, and that’s really cool.”
All are Warren’s longtime friends. Conroy, who has twice won the Canadian Country Music Association’s Independent Artist of the Year, first met Warren 20 years ago when they signed with the same label. Duane Steele, who has managed 20 charting singles with the band Rock ‘N’ Horse, is one of Warren’s most frequent collaborators. Only Charlie Major, who has won three Junos and scored six #1 singles, will be performing with Warren for the first time.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to perform with my friends,” says Warren. “Like a lot of industries, everybody knows everybody. We’ve all had beers together at some point over the years. We’ve all been doing the same festivals together, and we’re always bumping into each other. So from that standpoint, it’ll be fun to reconnect.”
As in every year, the four musicians will share the stage, playing their own songs and songs they wrote for others, while engaging in plenty of good-natured kvetching and kibitzing.
“There’s a camaraderie that goes on with four people on stage, and when I pick the artists over the years, I know them, and I know their sense of humour. We’ve had a good run of artists.”
He adds, “The stories that you get are not always just about writing the songs, or where the songs came from – there are just stories in general. I find these shows really funny, and the audience appreciates it.”
With four years of experience under his belt, Warren has grown proud of the show’s consistently light tone.
“The audience will laugh a lot, because there’s the making-fun-of-each-other,” he laughs.“They’re going to get great singing and great songs – that’s a given – but people who have talked to me after the show have said, ‘God, you guys are so funny.’ That’s a part of this format that people are going to walk away with.”
“Stories & Songs” will take place at the Drayton Festival Theatre on November 8, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse on November 9, 8 p.m. Tickets are $30, and can be purchased at www.draytonfestivaltheatre.com, or by calling 519-638-5555.