How do you describe C.R. Avery? Is he a poet, a folk singer? A blues singer? A rapper?
He’s a combination of all of those things. You can see for yourself when he plays the NAAG Gallery ( 255- 12 C N), April 27.
He’s toured France on his own and this year has opened major tours for Buck 65 and Billy Bragg.
He has played with Po Girl, Tons of Fun University and even Tom Waits, who was blown away by Avery’s beat boxing harmonica.
He has released a mind-boggling 15 albums since 1999.
“ I’ve got six months worth of new music,” said Avery, who put on a stunning show at the Geomatic Attic in November, during which he showed off the many facets of his personality and musical diversity. He cites influences as diverse as Tom Waits and Bing Crosby.
He is hoping word of mouth will help spread word about his show and isn’t sure what his set will include.
“I have new songs. Some of them need fine-tuning,” he continued adding he is looking forward to playing them. He is a student of the road, rigourously road testing songs until they work.
“Well, it goes by pretty quickly, but I have new music and I’ll probably be doing some beatboxing. And I have a new song I’m pretty proud of called ‘Dying Cowboy,” which has a line about Leon Helm in it singing ‘The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down,’” he said.
He has several projects he’s excited about including working with the Historic Prague Symphony as well as the Halifax Symphony on new music.
“It’s a 56 piece orchestra,” he enthused adding he has toured with his own 10 piece band and sometimes a string quartet, though he will be performing solo in Lethbridge.
He observed people are beginning to rave about him in the west, as he regularly sells out venues like winnipeg’s esteemed West End Cultural Centre and is a popular act at big folk festivals like the WInnipeg Folk Festival, where audiences have embraced him. However interest in what he does, drops off significantly as of Montreal.
“It’s not my time there yet, but I’m working on it,” he said.
“Calgary has always been good to me. So have Vancouver Victoria and Toronto’s tarting to. It’s just after Montreal that it gets scary,” he said.
he noted the Halifax Orchestra has always been willing to experiment with him.
One of his many musical skills is beatboxing, which he taught himself to do.
“It’s been a part of back America for years. The first time I saw it, it was like seeing Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show,” he said adding learning beatboxing meant he could perform without a drummer.
“ I found I didn’t need a drummer because I could make snare and high-hat sounds with my mouth,” he said.
“It draws from hip hop and it draws from rock and roll— all the good stuff,” he said.
“It is going to be a lot of fun period with exclamation marks,” he said
There is a $15 cover for the show which begins at 8 p.m.