When we reached David Francey on the start of his Western Canada tour, he was on British Columbia’s Quadra Island, marveling at his good fortune.
“We had the night off last night,” he says, “and we were just sitting there looking at each other, thinking, ‘okay, you write a couple of tunes at your kitchen table, you learn to play your instrument really well and lo and behold you find yourself sitting in this idyllic spot.’ It feels miraculous.”
The singer-songwriter’s success is something he still occasionally has trouble believing, even though he just released his thirteenth album. The Breath Between came out in September. He’s toured extensively and won three JUNO Awards amidst various other accolades.
“I was a really happy construction worker when I got into this line of work,” he says, of playing music professionally. “I was working for my best friend in the world, had no problems at all. I kind of got backed into this career but it’s been tremendous luck.”
Since he was a child he’d written poems and set them to melodies in his head. When he was in his 40s, his wife convinced him to give music a real go.
His first record was very well received, to his surprise, and so were the second and the third. “It was pretty well obvious that I should be doing this instead of hammering nails,” he says.
Now, 20+ years later he’s on his way to Alberta, with dates in Canmore, Fort Macleod, Edmonton, and Calgary.
He couldn’t be more delighted.
“Oh man,” he says, “it’s really cool because Alberta was the first place I ever played beyond the little town I was living in.” It was 1999. He was living in small-town Quebec and had released his very first record. “And lo and behold I got this two-date tour set up,” in Edmonton and Calgary.
“You have to remember,” he says. “I’m just a carpenter. I came off the roof on Thursday, and on Friday I was standing in front of complete utter strangers in a completely different place.”
“The welcome was, oh man, it was pretty special and genuine. Alberta’s always been that to me.”
“And CKUA, no pandering at all, has been an absolutely huge, huge part of that. I really appreciate what you do for all musicians and myself in particular. I’m awfully grateful.”
As for the rest of 2024, David says he just wants to play music. “Just before COVID I lost my voice. I worked too hard and was out on the road too long. I lost my voice entirely. At that point I thought, ‘well, that’s it. I’m all done now.’ So just to be out on the road at all, playing some tunes, it’s a great life.”
Francey is playing with his good friends Chris Murphy and Jess Wedden, with Terra Spencer opening. “They’re absolutely superb musicians, I couldn’t be happier to be travelling with them. I’m very fortunate,” he says.
See them all in February, when David comes through Alberta. Tickets and details at www.davidfrancey.com.
“The Breath Between” from David Francey’s new album of the same name.