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Wilde, Jack coming to Utopia this weekend

By Susan Doolan, Special to Postmedia Network

Sunday Wilde and Reno Jack perform on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Utopia Hall, 8396 6th Line, Utopia. A dinner buffet starts at 7 p.m., concert at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $20 each, until Jan. 12, or $25 at the door. Call 1-877- 499-4255 for information. SUBMITTED

Sunday Wilde and Reno Jack perform on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Utopia Hall, 8396 6th Line, Utopia. A dinner buffet starts at 7 p.m., concert at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $20 each, until Jan. 12, or $25 at the door. Call 1-877- 499-4255 for information. SUBMITTED

Adversity and depression can be a recipe for a new career.

That's what happened to Sunday Wilde who had no intention of performing or making music until much later in life.

This weekend, the award-winning blues and roots singer-songwriter returns to Utopia Hall for a concert in honour of her sixth album.

"We're really looking forward to that -the hall is really cool," said Wilde, who will be appearing with Reno Jack, her partner in life and music.

Jack, an upright bass musician, has performed with numerous groups across Canada for decades, toured Europe, and is part of 20 recordings by other artists but he didn't release his first solo album until 2015.

Lighting Fried is a mix of roots, blues, country folk and jazz.

While both artists are touring in support of their albums, they will also be making an appearance, for the first time, at the Blues Summit in Toronto Jan. 20.

"We do a showcase in Memphis every year and thought we should do one in Toronto, too," said Wilde, adding that it's actually closer for the duo to travel to Memphis than Toronto because they live in Atikokan, which is about two hours west of North Bay.

Wilde decided to record some of Blueberries and Grits while she was in Memphis for the Blues Music Awards. Released in July 2016, it was long-listed for a Grammy in the traditional blues album category. She was also delighted to learn that it hit number one on the blues channel of Vassar College's radio station last summer.

The album has a mix of original tunes -some fun, some darker -and cover songs.

Wilde's favourite subject matter is men. Writing music is an outlet for her although she didn't start performing until 10 years ago. She did a tour of BC with Jack and at the time didn't play an instrument -she sang. Singing was where her interest in music began.

"I had no intention of doing this ever (but) in my late 30s I had quite a bit of tragedy and felt better when I was singing, walking around in the bush," said Wilde. "I was suffering a bad depression and when I started singing I was feeling better. I needed music to get through every day."

Since then she taught herself how to play the piano, with some help from Jack. They formed a duo five years ago, once Wilde's two children starting going to university.

The last time Wilde and Jack played the Utopia Hall was 2014 when they were recording Jack's first album in Toronto. This time, they are working on a new album, taking some time to record songs in Toronto with some of the musicians from the original Handsome Ned Band.

Plans for the Utopia show include songs from each of their albums and some cover tunes which both like to record.

For the live show, Wilde expects to so some Patsy Cline songs, such as I Fall to Pieces, a Howlin' Wolf song, an old blues tune called John the Conquar Root.

"It's actually a talisman that people give to each other for protection," said Wilde likening the root to Canada's four leaf clover, which is considered lucky.

The duo has also formed a label called Hwy 11 Records, named for the named for highway that runs through their hometown.

Wilde's music plays on roots and blues stations worldwide, including: Siriusxm Radio and CBC National Radio. Along the way, she collected more than a few jazz and blues awards for her original song including best Blues/Roots at the 2016 Annual Blues411 Jimi Awards. She also received an Honorable Mention, Blues, in the 2015 International Songwriting Competition.

Sunday Wilde and Reno Jack perform on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Utopia Hall, 8396 6th Line, Utopia. A dinner buffet starts at 7 p.m., concert at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $20 each, until Jan. 12, or $25 at the door. Call 1-877-499-4255.



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