Artists will share inspirations

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014 08:38 am

Greg Clark plays guitar in his Okotoks home. Clark will perform at the Soul Café concert series at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Feb. 14, at 7:45 p.m.
Greg Clark plays guitar in his Okotoks home. Clark will perform at the Soul Café concert series at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Feb. 14, at 7:45 p.m.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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Alberta’s picturesque landscape and small-town charm was enough inspiration to launch a successful career for a city musician performing in Okotoks this weekend.

Singer-songwriter Joal Kamps might be surrounded by the hustle and bustle that comes with living in the largest city in Alberta, but when it comes to writing music it’s the province’s rural qualities that comes out in his songs, which he will share at Okotoks’ new concert series Soul Café in the Holy Cross Lutheran Church Feb. 14 at 7:45 p.m.

“I love the Alberta landscape,” said Kamps. “I think naturally I’m a little bit drawn to the more rural side of Alberta. Small town Alberta is full of love and acceptance and that feeling of home.”

Kamps’ music doesn’t fall into just one category, but has a unique sound of its own that he refers to as Rocky Mountain folk-pop.

In recent years, the self-taught guitar player began revamping his sound to integrate music from a variety of countries after spending four years traveling the world.

The lyrics told in his stories are often inspirational and touching as he connects with his audience through emotional stories, whether it’s about addiction or love. On stage, Kamps takes the opportunity to discuss the background of his lyrics.

“I do a lot of talking, stories in between and explain what the stories are about,” he said.

Kamps celebrated recent success for those stories when “Sojourner” won Album of the Year at the 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards and his single “Take My World Apart” won Song of the Year in the Independent Music Awards that same year.

“I poured my heart and soul into ‘Sojourner’ and my finances more,” he said.

Although Kamps music career has taken him on tours and festivals across North America and Europe, his dream was never to make it big.

“I don’t think I’m ever going to be the best guitar player on earth or the best singer,” he said. “We’re not really chasing down big rock and roll pop dream to be super famous.”

For Kamps it’s just about being on stage and telling his stories.

“I love connecting with people and I love using music to be doing that,” he said. “Right now my biggest dream is making enough money doing music to one day buy a house.”

Kamps is preparing to release a new album this spring, which will also be Alberta inspired with songs reflecting some of the province’s unique history, culture and land.

Okotoks musician Greg Clark, also performing at Soul Café on Friday, has a very different inspiration. Clark’s music is heavily influenced by folk, blues and country tunes from the late ’60s and early ’70s.

“I always stayed true to those roots,” he said. “That kind of music is created by people for people.”

Clark became interested in music at the age of 12 or 13 when he met some musicians while spending a weekend at Pigeon Lake. Clark was inspired by their music as he watched them perform around a campfire and followed the guitar player around so much that he finally gave in and taught Clark some basic cords on the guitar.

“From there I picked up an old guitar and I never put it down,” he said. “It changed things for me because music became a huge part of my life from that day on.”

Most of Clark’s songs are covers of such well-respected musicians as Neil Young and Bob Dylan. He has also written a few of his own songs.

“I feel that both the writing of the music itself and the lyrics in a lot of ways were written in times of quite a bit of turmoil and change,” he said. “It was the start of the maturing of rock music, blues and folk. Things were changing rapidly. There were things written very much from the heart.”

Clark looks forward to the opportunity to share his music at Soul Café this weekend.

“What’s really interesting about Soul Café is nobody is getting paid,” he said. “It opens the door for musicians that probably wouldn’t get up and perform.”

Having attended many of Soul Café’s concerts, Clark is impressed with the quality of music and varied talent displayed on stage.

“I think it’s a really good cause and I think it’s done in the right venue,” he said. “It’s a beautiful room with beautiful sound and the people are there to listen.”

There is no cost to attend the concert, but donations are welcome. Proceeds go to Foothills SNAPS (Special Needs Association for Parents and Siblings), an association that offers support to families of persons with special needs.


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