Young at Heart

A man, his son, and a couple of guitars. Though Tuesday’s Charlie Major concert at the Aud Theatre can be described in many ways, that is the simplest, and most effective.

An award winning Canadian country music singer and songwriter, Major spent the first half of his October 27 concert standing alone on stage with his guitar and harmonica, enticing laughter and appreciative applause from the crowd with his easy charm, quick wit, and obvious talent.

Joined by his son for the second half of the show, the duo bantered back and forth about touring together for the first time, took turns ridding the stage of maple bugs, and harmonized their voices and guitars for a number of songs.

Choosing to tour without a band, Major explained that an acoustic set suits the venue and the intimate setting much better than a band would. Also, “it’s another way for the audience to really hear the lyrics. They’ve already heard the songs with the music and they know what it sounds like; now they get to hear how it sounds when I first wrote them with my guitar.”

A name in country music for over twenty years, Major’s set list included old favourites, new hits and a few that even he’d forgotten. Not wanting to disappoint a long time fan, Major returned for his second half requesting the audience to imagine that instead of in a crowded concert hall they were seated around a campfire with a beverage in their hand. After a bout of confused laughter, he explained that he hadn’t sang the song in so long that he’d had to look up the lyrics on his son’s smart phone back stage. A mistake in the first verse required him to start over, but it was smooth sailing after that. “I knew I should have written that first verse down,” he said with a laugh.

Singing songs inspired by every day life, Major introduced each number with a short story or anecdote. Before singing “I do it for the Money”, he said “this next song I wrote when I had a job and it’s one of the singles that made it possible for me to quit working.” A comment he made before the show clarifies that he does not see his singing career as work. “I don’t think I’ll ever retire because I don’t really have a job. I’ve been doing what I love since I was a kid and I don’t think there’ll be a time when I ever want to stop.”

Having just released a new album in June, Major made sure to take some time between songs to peddle his wares. Always on the lookout for a good deal, Major told the audience that his new album was available in the lobby for a limited time only; “and it’s cheaper here. You can go to Wal Mart and spend the big bucks to get it for $14.99 and a tank of gas, or you can buy it tonight for just $15.” He received an amused response and, in return, signed albums and photographs for fans following the concert.

Just over three hours after his opening number, Major put down his guitar and followed his son off stage. A standing ovation called him back to the microphone alone and he closed the show with “Nobody Gets Too Much Love”, one of the singles that started it all back in 1993.

 Published in the Virden Empire-Advance. October, 2011.