Two professional musicians have launched new CDs recently - Lowry Olafson and Robert Burton Hubele. Musically, they don't have much in common, except that both say their original material has been inspired by their homes here on the Sunshine Coast. Six-time recording artist, singer-songwriter Olafson moved from White Rock with his family and fell in love with a heritage home in Gibsons. They spent 14 months of hard work renovating it. Except for a few tours, some jam-packed concerts and workshops in songwriting, family and home pretty much occupied him for four years. Not coincidentally, those themes shine through in Solid Ground - the title piece in this new 15-song collection of original music. "This house was built on a firm foundation," he sings. "Every nail was pounded in by hand."
The simple lullabies and mellow violin melodies of Solid Ground reveal his strengths: there's Olafson the storyteller at work in the song Annabelle, a civil war story of conscription and Pier 21, about an orphan immigrant boy. We can hear the reflective human being in songs such as That's Where We Fall Down. Then there's Olafson the dad, heard in If You Are An Angel.
Some tracks fall short: Safe and Sound could be punched up with a less clichéd lyric and more substance to make a fine country song. Overall, it's a golden Olafson effort. The other recording artist with a new CD, Hubele, moved to Roberts Creek last April.
He tells us in the first track of his sixth CD Three Little Words that Life is Good on the Coast. He wrote the song when he and his wife moved last November from Alberta driving through what he describes as the world's worst snowstorm. It's one of his better, catchier tunes with simple lyrics that describe diggin' for clams, drinkin' B.C. wine. But it's no cozy, feet-up-by-the-fire CD.
For his foundation, Hubele lays down some blues - real blues, and builds on it with some rock, jazz and a touch of country. At times he sounds like a huskier Neil Diamond, at others like a more melodious Bob Dylan. He doesn't lie when he says his musical influences were the slide guitar of Bonnie Raitt and the songwriting of Tom Waits. Tying up the package is a kind of hypnotic electrified drone that Hubele achieves with fellow musician and CD producer Brad Steckel.
Three Little Words has just been released for radio but is not yet available in stores. It can be purchased from his website: www.hubele-arts.com. He plans a Coast launch of his music in January after rehearsing with local musicians. Solid Ground, released by River Records, is available at Coast Books and Talewind Books for $16. Olafson will be appearing in concert with Paul Steenhuis on bass and Gaetan Bergevin on guitars, percussion and harmonies on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Hilda's Anglican Church, Sechelt. Tickets are $12 general/$8 seniors and students and are available at Talewind Books in Sechelt and Coast Books in Gibsons.
Part proceeds will benefit St. Hilda's Pipe-Dream.
Olafson appears again on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Gibsons United Church. Tickets are $12 advance, $10 at the door and are available at Coast Books or by calling 604-885-0434 to reserve. All proceeds for this concert go to Canadares Society for Street Children in Tanzania and Gibsons United Community Outreach.