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Playing to a local beat

Elmira native Adam Bowman is part of A Night of Grief and Mystery on stage Thursday night at The Registry Theatre in Kitchener. [Alisha Townsend]

Much has changed in the past year for Elmira native Adam Bowman. Between turning 40, being nominated for Juno Awards and becoming a father to his first daughter, the professional drummer has become aware of how he wants to spend his time.

Although the groove slowed down it didn’t come to a full stop as the musician prepares to go on a North American tour this fall to play in a unique project alongside a group of talented artists.

Part poetry, part concert, part storytelling, is only partially the combination of what the performance told by Stephen Jenkinson will look like with the accompaniment of fellow musician Gregory Hoskins. Together they join forces on this tour with keyboardist and vocalist Lisa Hodgson, bassist and vocalist Colleen Hodgson, and Bowman to present A Night of Grief and Mystery.

Earlier in spring of this year, Bowman was approached by the group who were seeking a drummer to go on tour for two weeks in the United Kingdom.

This was the first chance for the professional to get his feet wet in the project.

“I’m still truthfully trying to figure my way through it and figure out what it’s about and what it means to me. It’s very different from just standing on stage and just playing a song and people clap,” Bowman explains. With great success in Europe, Bowman decided to come back and join the band for the North American dates.

This opportunity is new and challenging for the drummer who now lives in Guelph, and has been a touring artist for nearly two decades. With years of experience in various projects this is unlike the others and will drift away from the conventional structure of a concert and instead will use Bowman’s drumming to support stories told by Jenkinson.

Throughout the performance, the drumming will focus on adding texture to the dynamics of the overall experience. “That’s kind of the neat challenge to find ways to be supportive and be present but not to steal focus,” says Bowman on his technique for this kind of performance.

For those who haven’t seen the show, Bowman describes it as an arch from beginning to end where the subject matter is often heavy and dark but Jenkinson navigates it with care and perspective but there’s also humor to it—a lot of the stories circle around grief and endings of all kinds.

It’s one of those things that you have to experience to understand it. Bowman recalls in one of the promotional videos released for the tour that it is described as “an experience that people don’t know that they’re yearning for. That was really powerful,  and after doing two weeks of the show overseas I sought it to be true,” the drummer adds.

Unless it is festival season, Bowman is usually performing some place out of region and even out of province, which makes the first show of the tour extra special. Tonight (Thursday) the tour starts close to home at The Registry Theatre in Kitchener. The unusual circumstance of playing a local gig gets Bowman more excited to perform.

“It’s a chance for your community to come and see this thing that sometimes takes you away for a big chunk of time. That’s the difference, really: familiar faces in the audience. That’s a fun thing to have to not just look up and see a sea of strangers but to see faces you recognize,” the musician adds with a laugh.

The tour will have three parts to it; starting in Canada and then going through the east coast of America and back up the west coast all in a duration until the end of November when the final show will be wrapped up in Toronto at the Harbourfront Centre.

When Bowman isn’t on tour he’s at home practicing his music, while his 16-month-old daughter, Frankie, plays on the floor and does her own thing. Now with a baby in his life things have gotten more efficient.

“My wife and I joke around about what we can get done. If we have 45 minutes, that is the most efficient 45 minutes of the day,” says Bowman.

Beyond his duties as a dad and a musician, Bowman plays music for modern dance classes that his wife teaches in Guelph. With several intermittent periods during the tour he will be able to go home and focus on his personal life. But for now it’s all systems go for the drummer as the tour commences tonight and will be ongoing for the next few months.

More information on A Night of Grief and Mystery or to purchase tickets for the concert can be found online.

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