Country crooner to perform in Longview
Wednesday, Jun 05, 2013 08:48 am
When an Edmonton country singer is looking for venues to perform his original songs he knows he can count on southern Alberta.
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Whiffen has performed his country tunes on stages across North America, yet it’s southern Albertans who are often the most receptive.
“What we’ve been trying to do is contact rooms where I can play all original stuff and most of those rooms seem to be in southern Alberta,” he said. “There seems to be lots of rooms in southern Alberta where it’s very acceptable for you to play your own stuff. They seem very open minded to hearing new stuff.”
Whiffen is heading south with his guitar and harmonica for a performance at the Longview Hotel on June 8 at 8 p.m.
“I’m going to be doing a night of all original stuff,” he said. “I might throw an old favourite or two in, depending on how the crowd responds. It’s hard to get through a show without someone yelling ‘Johnny Cash!’ but I’m prepared for that.”
Having released two albums over the last two years, Whiffen has plenty of originals in his repertoire.
He released an album and single under the same name “It’s a Livin’ It Ain’t No Life” this year following closely on the heels of his 2012 release “Bad Guy” and singles “Let’s Leave the Lights On” and “One Night Love Affair.” He was also named the 2012 CJKC Country 103 Canadian Emerging Artist.
Whiffen has opened for such big names as the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band and Randy Travis but has held is own with original songs that are gaining attention in the United States.
His song “Carrying the Weight” is on hold after gaining interest from well known artists in Nashville.
“That’s a song that has a real deep meaning feeling to it,” he said. “It has some Christian connotation to it. That sort of thing may work in the bible belt in the southern U.S. where it wouldn’t in Canada.”
Whiffen said “Carrying the Weight” is the last song he thought would be in demand by popular country artists.
“I had so many artists say to me they wrote so many great songs they thought would be a hit and the last song they thought would be a success for them was the one that was,” he said.
The songs on his 2012 release “Bad Guy” are more classic country with personal lyrics whereas “It’s a Livin’ It Ain’t No Life” is geared for commercial radio with a pop country sound to it, Whiffen said.
“‘Crazy Over You’ is more pop country, more boy meets girl type of stuff,” he said.
The 2012 album reveals Whiffen’s creativity, emotions and life experiences.
“People will tell me a story and then a really good idea will come from it,” he said. “I will go off and write about it and it evolves from their personal experience.”
Some of Whiffen’s ideas come from good friends and others from people Whiffen met only once.
“Sometimes you never see these people again,” he said. “It’s like two ships crossing in the night.”
His song “The Call” was derived from a message Whiffen’s friend left on his machine one morning at 3 a.m.
“The whole idea came from that and turned into a really good song,” he said. “It’s about finding a really cool angle and a real clever way of saying things. Songwriters find clever ways of portraying what happens on a regular basis to most of us in our lives.”
One of Whiffen’s favourite songs is “Praying the Hell Out of Me” from his album “Bad Boys.”
“‘Praying the Hell Out of Me’ really hit home for me,” he said. “It’s more of a couple of bad boys talking about their shady past. It’s a bit of an outlaw song.”
As a musician who has been on the road for years Whiffen said a lot of his songs come from personal experiences.
“Some of these experiences are certainly true,” he said. “Rather than talk about the party blatantly I like the use of metaphors.”
To learn more about Jimmy Whiffen go to www.jimmywhiffen.ca