East Coast singer songwriter Kylie Fox offers up a bold, charismatic show whenever she hits the stage. Her tales have deep Canadiana roots with poetic influences like Joni Mitchell and Alanis Morissette.
“After my Vancouver show I had a nice compliment from someone,” Fox said in an interview from Lethbridge, Alta., as she performs her way west to Vancouver Island. “She said ‘your music is such a nice representation of our country.’”
Fox will play Char’s Landing in Port Alberni on Friday, Feb. 15. This will be her first time playing at Char’s, and first real visit to Port Alberni since she was a teenager. She stopped briefly in Port Alberni enroute to a gig in Tofino about three years ago—“I remember the waterfront,” she says—but otherwise hasn’t been here since she was 13 years old.
“My mom went to high school in Port Alberni,” says Fox. “She brought me there when I was 13 years old on a road trip, so this will be the first time I’ll be back.” Fox’s mother, Rossann Howard-Fox, graduated from Alberni District High School (before it was renamed Alberni District Secondary) around 1978.
“We went to her old house. I remember the stories she told, like it was the house where I had my first kiss with a guy. I remember she was disappointed there were a lot of businesses up for lease.”
Fox is excited at the thought of playing Char’s Landing: it’s in a former church, so the acoustics are solid. Fox is touring solely with her guitar, leaving her bandmates back in New Brunswick.
“I’ve started touring on my own,” she says. “It’s fun being on your own because there’s room for being spontaneous.”
Fox is a storyteller, and it shows. She pairs a folked-down version of a classically-trained voice with tongue-in-cheek lyrics that are sincere yet comical.
“I write a lot of history songs and my shows are full of storytelling,” including audience interaction and direction. The Char’s Landing audience can expect a blend of catchy, tongue-in-cheek songs and heartfelt ballads relating travels, “millennial-hood” and addiction.
She thanks her father for introducing her to Canadian singer songwriter Joni Mitchell’s work. “The woman apart from my mom that my dad admires the most in the whole world is Joni Mitchell,” Fox relates. “There’s a home video of him dancing with me in his arms to Joni Mitchell.”
She is the only one of her siblings to adopt her father’s love for the iconic singer, she admits. Other female singers who have influenced Fox on her musical journey from classical singing at New Brunswick’s Mount Allison University to the performing stage include Alanis, Avril Lavigne and even Janis Joplin.
“The women who tell it like it is are the women I try to emulate.”
Doors open at Char’s at 7 p.m. and Fox takes to the stage at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available by phone at 778-421-2427, at the Rollin Art Centre or online at http://bpt.me/4053887.