I don’t get to Ottawa often, but I had the pleasure of traveling across the border for a photography gig. While I was there, I wanted to experience the music scene and see if Canada had as much talent as I had been hearing about. A friend of mine got tickets to a show at Centrepointe Studio Theater. I assumed it was going to be a small venue. Once I walked into the theater, I realized it wasn’t just a small stage. The theater itself was large, and the 250 seats for the show SOLD OUT. Rory Gardiner was the headliner for the evening, and I hadn’t heard of him before. He had two opening acts, and this was for his CD release party.
I missed the first opening act, because I had to take an important phone call but was able to catch the second. I can’t remember the name of the act, but the singer was pretty good. I think I partially don’t remember because I was particularly impressed with Gardiner himself. And this wasn’t a fancy smoke and strobe lights type of show. There were no pyrotechnics, no fancy big screens, just raw, pure talent.
As soon as Gardiner stepped into the spotlight, he took command of the stage. Over the next hour, he played approximately 14 songs, one a mash-up of four hugely popular hits like Gambler, Country boy, Folsom and Sold (John Michael Montgomery). The majority of the songs were his originals, and I have to say, I liked what I heard. “Chillin with you” is just a feel good song with catchy lyrics, and a great way to start the set. After the first song, I could feel the crowds anticipation even more as I joined in their excitement. Rory Gardiner has an amazing, strong voice and his music is a perfect mix of rock and country. Lyrically his songs are catchy, and meaningful at the same time. His band was amazing, and not only did Rory sing traditional, upbeat songs – his acoustic vocals were spot on. He definitely has a great stage presence. One of his other songs that really stood out is “On my way.” And by the looks of Gardiners talent, and fan base, he is.
I was slowly turning into a Rory Gardiner fan. What sealed it for me was their version of “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) originally done by Big & Rich. Not only was their version high energy, but really got the crowd moving. Even from where I sat, I couldn’t sit still and found myself dancing in my seat. (For the record, this rarely happens.)
After the show, I had the pleasure of meeting Rory and asking him a few questions about his music. He is very committed to his craft, and the thing that impressed me the most is, he’s very humble. This is a talented musician who isn’t all about the lights, and the status of it all – but he truly enjoys what he does and that comes across not only in his personality, but on stage. I cant wait to hear his music on my local radio station back home in Fresno, California and see him be a huge success.
When I got back home, I did a little more research online and downloaded his first CD, “Break Free”. I am really enjoying his style of music. I definitely think that anyone who loves rock and country music are going to enjoy it as much as I have. I only hope that soon, I can attend another one of Gardiner’s shows as it was easily one of the best concerts I have been to in a long time.
For more information on Rory Gardiner you can visit him at the following links: