Entertainment Local

Rick Wharton sits down for a chat with Canadian crooner Matt Dusk

Rick Wharton

By Rick Wharton, Special to The Daily Observer

Canadian crooner Matt Dusk, touring for his album Old School Yule! hits the stage at Festival Hall in Pembroke tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets available online at www.festhall.ca or by calling 613-735-2182.

Canadian crooner Matt Dusk, touring for his album Old School Yule! hits the stage at Festival Hall in Pembroke tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets available online at www.festhall.ca or by calling 613-735-2182.

Matt Dusk is one of Canada’s most beloved male vocalists, forging a career in music that has resulted in six critically-acclaimed studio albums. Dusk’s latest release, Old School Yule! features a 60-piece orchestra, 50-voice choir and numerous special guests. Together they join forces to create a swingin’ up tempo cocktail holiday album that will have you feeling a little “Ring-a-Ding-Ding” while you croon along to “Fa-La-La-La-La.” Dusk has been awarded two Gold albums: TWO SHOTS (Canada) and GOOD NEWS (Poland), and two Platinum albums: MY FUNNY VALENTINE (Poland) and JUST THE TWO OF US (Poland). He has had three number one radio hits, All about Me in Canada, Back in Town in Japan and Good News in France. He is an alumnus of the St. Michael’s Choir School and studied under jazz piano legend Oscar Peterson at York University. His notable award nominations include, two Juno’s, one ADISQ, and one Róże Gali with Kategorii Muzyka.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Rick Wharton, actor, comedian, radio personality, The Conspiracy Guy, and Festival Hall director, brings The Daily Observer readers exclusive interviews with some of the big name acts coming to Festival Hall. Instead of traditional story format, these pieces are brought to you in the question and answer format in the same way the interviews took place. So let’s be a fly on the wall and see what one of Canada's finest singers and talents, Matt Dusk, had to say during his ‘10 minutes with Rick.’

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Rick: Matt, it’s a real thrill for you to come and play Festival Hall, the biggest theatre in the Ottawa Valley. Congratulations on your new amazing record called Old School Yule, an amazing Christmas recording that captures what albums use to be with that 60s arrangement and orchestration with amazing musicians, production and amazing choice of songs. The vocals are awesome as well my friend. Also congrats on your the birth of your baby girl. That must give you mixed feelings being so busy with the new record and heavy touring right until Christmas Eve?

Matt: Thank you Rick! My wife and I are very grateful for our lovely addition. I fly back to Canada from Europe on Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. I’ll be home for the holidays... if i don’t miss my flight!

Rick: Some may know this, some may not. Matt Dusk follows a fine line of St. Michael’s Choir School alumnus like John McDermott, Michael Burgess, Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies), Adrian Luces....Rick Wharton (laughs).

Matt: St. Michael’s Choir School has churned out many other alumni. We are all taught the same values of discipline, respect, and honour. Well...maybe not Rick (winks).

Rick: Hey… I went there for a year in Grade 3. My brother Adrian Wharton went there for all of his school years. How did the ‘sold out’ show at Massey Hall with the choir school go for you as not only a performer but now as a famous alumnus?

Matt: It was amazing to come back 20 years after graduating and finally get a solo at Massey Hall (laughs). I felt so honoured to share the stage with the young men and boys. They have such a lovely tradition of sharing the music of the holidays both sacred and secular with the audience. Definitely brought back family memories from the 11 years I performed at Massey Hall from 1986-1997.

Rick : Standard question I know but I need to find out your musical DNA. Who inspired you to sing?

MATT: I was thrown into St. Michael’s Choir School at the young age of six. It was more a case of nurture than nature. Over the 11 years at St. Mike’s my musical pallet became larger and I learned more about music. Music was never a way to make a living, but a way of life. That’s what we did.

Rick: Are there any artists you are listening to right now you can recommend for a great Santa gift?

Old School Yule should be the first pick obviously.

Matt: I have to admit the new album Old School Yule! is just out of this world - over 100 musicians including choristers, brass players, orchestra, and guest singers makes this 16 track holiday album an instant classic. Seriously, you can remove my voice and listen to the orchestration and understand why this album is so good. Classic songs, with classic arrangements will have you singing along within seconds!

Rick: You have never performed in this area and I really want to highlight what people will see on stage tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Matt: It is just a fun entertaining show, full off music, funny stories, and most important, sing alongs! It’s a total walk down memory lane if you’ve ever experienced a Christmas with family! 

Rick: To study under Oscar Peterson, how can one describe that?

Matt: He was a man with many years of experience, and he would share stories with us. His best piece of advice was to always pursue things for happiness. If you pursue things for money, you’ll never be truly happy. Music comes from the heart.

Rick: Can you tell us of one of your coolest shows ever? 

Matt: Performing NYE (New Year’s Eve) at the Tokyo Blue Note in Japan. I had my own 18-piece big band play 12 shows in a row. It was reminiscent of the 1940s. Very few artists get to play with a big band, let alone 12 shows in the same place! We were cooking! The band was sooooo tight! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djRREQ6Z9h0

Rick: This show is going to be amazing and I cannot thank you enough for coming.

Matt: We put on the same show where there is one or 1,000 in the audience. We appreciate everyone for taking the time out of their busy schedule to join us. We do suggest, a glass of red wine or other social lubricant to help you welcome in the holidays with us. An event without a toast is like a great conversation without good company. We look forward to celebrating the holidays with you!

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Dusk will be performing at Festival Hall on Dec. 15 at 7:30p.m. Tickets are available online at www.festhall.ca/or by calling 613-735-2182.