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Jay Gilday: Multi-faceted Musician


After a summer of balancing family, music and work, what’s next for Jay Gilday?

“Writing a political power ballad that fixes everything,” he says, only semi-joking.

“Every musician has that on their mind. I’d love to make a song count politically.”

Jay, a Dene and Canadian-Irish folk musician originally from Yellowknife, performs at the Yardbird Suite on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, September 30.

It’s his first performance foray into the jazz genre. “I have a bunch of pieces that are in the jazz category but I’ve never really taken the time to try to break into the jazz scene,” he says. “I’ll play a range of music from jazz to folk.”

Todd Crawshaw, Yardbird Suite’s Executive Director, is ecstatic to have Jay on the schedule.

Why should people attend? “First and foremost, it’s Jay Gilday!” he says. “They are guaranteed an exceptional performance. Though he’s not generally known as a jazz performer, he is sophisticated in his craft and we believe our patron base, loyal as well as developing, will absolutely adore him.”

It is meaningful to have Jay perform on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Todd says.

“It is a very important day. It is a cultural marker and it should be giving everyone pause for thought. I never want to pigeonhole an artist in any way but we do believe that it is vital to have Indigenous representation on a day that carries such weight.”

“Artistic merit is the most important factor in determining whoever comes onto our stage. Jay is a consummate performer, a great storyteller with wonderful stage presence and I just simply adore him.”

Sharing the stage will be Jeremiah McDade on horns and flute, Thom Golub on bass, and Matt Blackie on drums. “It’s going to be a great show,” Jay says.

After that, he’ll be back to his mission of creating the ultimate political power ballad. “Anything else at this point seems superfluous,” he says. “I want to be effective with my music.”

Jay Gilday performs at the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton on Saturday, September 30 at 8pm.