In the 25 years or more that he’s been doing his Christmas music show, John Gracie has logged plenty of kilometres – performing for audiences in Canada and abroad – but this year he’s sticking closer to home, with a tour that includes dates in Yarmouth and Annapolis Royal.
The Dartmouth-based musician is scheduled to perform at Th’YARC in Yarmouth Dec. 14 and at Kings Theatre in Annapolis Royal Dec. 15. Both shows will start at 7:30 p.m.
When contacted on Dec. 5, Gracie already had done a couple of shows on his current Christmas Memories tour – one in Charlottetown, another in Halifax.
“We’re really looking forward to going back to Th’YARC and also Kings Theatre because it’s been a couple of years now since we’ve done our Christmas show there,” Gracie said.
Noting that this is a special time of year for a lot of people, he says he hopes the show can help them get in the Christmas spirit if they aren’t already in it.
“We do some singalongs and I like to relate true stories that have happened over the Christmas season,” he said. “The show itself is very audience-friendly and it’s a lot of fun. A lot of humour and reminiscing.”
As for the music, Gracie acknowledges there’s no shortage of Christmas songs to choose from, some more enduring than others.
“The good ones stick around forever,” he said. “We’re still singing ones that were written hundreds of years ago. It’s kind of like the Great American Songbook, the great standards. These Christmas songs, they don’t go away because the quality is always there. That’s the kind of music we’re dealing with, so it’s always fun to go in and do that kind of thing.”
A Juno-nominated musician who was a three-time recipient of the East Coast Music Association’s male-artist-of-the-year award, Gracie had to think a bit when asked if he has a favourite Christmas song or carol. His choice can vary, he said.
“When I’m performing different songs, I (may) think to myself ‘this is one of my favourite ones,’” he said. “And then I get into another one and I say ‘no, this is it.’ They’re all really favourites because they do stand the test of time. They’re quality songs that have been around forever.”
He cites Silver Bells as an example of a song he does that people enjoy singing along to. He describes his show as a “nice, relaxing evening,” a chance for people maybe to think about some of their past Christmases while enjoying some seasonal sounds.
Gracie put out his first CD three decades ago and his discography includes a couple of Christmas recordings.
“And, of course, we’ll have CDs for sale (at the shows),” he said. “They make good Christmas gifts. It’s all part of our 2018 Christmas Memories tour. It’s going to be a really wonderful occasion.”