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Hang those patio lanterns high and grab a soda while you’re at – iconic Canadian rock musician Kim Mitchell will celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in Del Crary Park, headlining the curtain raiser on Peterborough Musicfest’s 17-concert 2017 season.
The three-time Juno Award-winning singer and guitarist is being proudly presented as part of the four-day Celebrate At Home lineup of Canada Day-related events for which the City of Peterborough has provided $100,000 in funding.
Mitchell began his professional musical career in the mid 1970s fronting Max Webster, which released six studio albums from 1976 to 1981, recorded hit singles such as A Million Vacations and Paradise Skies, and toured extensively.
However, his subsequent career as a solo artist brought him his greatest success in the form of three Juno Awards, including Male Vocalist of the Year in 1990, and a string of hit singles such as Go For Soda, All We Are, Patio Lanterns, Easy To Tame, Rock And Roll Duty, Rockland Wonderland and America. In total, Mitchell has sold more than 1.5 million albums.
Most all of his recordings, with Max Webster and as a solo act, have attained gold and/or multi-platinum status.
Widely hailed and admired as a musical artist who proudly wears Canada on his sleeve, Mitchell continues to perform regularly at venues across the country. Asked what he considers his biggest accomplishment to be, Mitchell doesn’t hesitate.
“Shoot, that’s easy,” he says. “It’s in the couple of hours the band is onstage, being able to take people to a special place through our performance and music. When that happens, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.”
In a May 2016 interview with Jim Barber of MusicLifeMagazine.net, the Sarnia native expanded on that notion.
“I have nothing to prove any more. I play guitar and I am going to go up there on stage and enjoy myself and appreciate the fact that I get to go up on stage and play in front of people who like what I do. I don’t stress out about all the stuff around being a touring musician. I am where I am in my life and my career, so I’m just going up there and relax and do my thing.”
“I am all about customer service. People are coming out to hear certain songs and hear me playing them. But they have been morphing and going through some changes. So Go For A Soda sounds a little different the way we play it on a given night. And we will start to jam out on some of the songs and be a little freer with the arrangements. I like to give people what they want.”
That will no doubt suit thousands of Peterborough Musicfest patrons just fine as Mitchell makes his fourth appearance on the Fred Anderson stage, the last being in 2012.
Still need proof that Del Crary Park is where you need to be come 8 p.m. on July 1, 2017? Cue Gene Simmons of KISS fame. Asked back in the day why Max Webster was never invited to open for KISS, Simmons paid Mitchell et al the ultimate compliment.
“We were terrified of you guys. You could actually play.”