Craig Bakay | Apr 10, 2019
If there was a Juno category for ‘longest song introductions,’ Dave Gunning would win hands down.
Thankfully, his introductions are as entertaining as the music.
Gunning was at The Crossing Pub in Sharbot Lake for the second time last Saturday.
He is a singer-songwriter in the tradition of Canada’s finest (think Lightfoot, Cockburn, McLauchlan). His tunes help define the Canadian experience, with a healthy helping of Nova Scotian perspective.
Probably his best-known song, A Game’s Goin’ On, from the No More Pennies album, was written with local songwriter David Francey, and it won the Great Canadian Song Quest, 2013 Hockey Night in Canada Song Quest.
Everybody was singing along (funny how that tends to happen when there are a lot of musicians in the audience).
“I met David in Denmark in 2003,” he said. “And we wrote that when he stayed at my house during the Celtic Colours Festival.
“We were both mad at hockey because of the strike at the time - millionaires fighting with billionaires - and we wanted to write something about the game that spoke to its roots.
“I wanted to have David sing on it and we produced it with that in mind, so his fans would be able to appreciate it.”
Gunning’s 12th album just came out “a couple of Fridays ago” and he has been touring relentlessly in support of it.
The album also features long-time collaborator J. P. Cormier.
“I’ve played with J. P. for 20 years,” he said. “He’s one of the best in the world.”
Even though his busy touring schedule takes him away from home a lot, he said he wouldn’t change it and it does have some advantages.
“You gotta do fool them again,” he said. “The secret is to keep moving, town to town.
“But even though I miss Sara and the boys, I enjoy the life and I feel very fortunate to be able to do it.”
And he tells you all about it, in song and song introductions.
Perhaps his most entertaining introduction featured his appearance on The Trailer Park Boys. It’s the episode with George Canyon, where the boys attempt to smuggle dope across the border and Gunning delivers the immortal line, “Shreddies?”.
“Yeah, it was one word but I got paid more because it was a speaking part,” he said.