The April 3 concert at Tir-na-nog Theatre will be the first real test of the moniker of the “Trust Me” Series. Indeed, you may not have heard of the Big Little Lions but they’re one of my all-time favourites. Do we know one another well enough yet that you can trust my certainty that you will be so glad you took a leap of faith? I am hoping so.
I should confess, I present these shows for less-than-altruistic motives. Though it requires considerable leg work – designing, printing, laminating and putting up of the posters; creating and printing tickets; frequent check-ins with Phoenix and Brown Paper tickets to make sure they’re selling but not overselling; writing an article and buying an ad in the Undercurrent; and many posts to Bowen Island Events – all the money goes to the artist after venue rental and printing and ad costs.
But it is still completely self-serving.
I get to spend the evening listening to my favourite artists in the comfort of my own island and see the joy on the faces of my friends and community as they experience something I know makes all our lives a little better. It’s a wonderful payoff. But that payoff does require that you trust me.
Big Little Lions isthe duo of Helen Austin, based on Vancouver Island, B.C. and Paul Otten, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Yes it’s quite the unlikely pairing geographically. Both hugely prolific songwriters, between them they have had hundreds of TV, movie and ad placements. They met at a songwriting event and simply clicked musically. And hey, it’s not just me who loves them!
They are favourites of CBC Radio including The Vinyl Café, Q and are frequently on Radio 2’s top 20 for weeks on end. Their awards include a Juno, first place in the International Songwriting Competition, Song of the Year in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition and Ensemble of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Helen, an utterly charming Brit, was a friend before I even realized her exceptional talent. She gave me a Big Little Lions album and I was instantly hooked by the enchanting, fresh and delightful sound, lyrics, melodies and two-part harmonies. It went on regular rotation in my car and remains so years later.
In February in Montreal, at the International Folk Alliance conference, I was finally able to meet Paul and experience theirlive show, which is quite the spectacle, with both Paul and Helen using every limb and then some to create a colourful and rich sound. Their charm, warmth, and utterly infectious melodies sink into your consciousness from the first moment they hit the stage.
But of course, the best way to understand what I’m talking about is to have a listen. They have many videos on their website: biglittlelions.com.
I am hoping they leave Bowen with the same feeling Stephen Fearing had after his show – that Tir-na-nog, the audience and the whole experience had him raving and keen to return.
Tickets are $20 at Phoenix and on line at biglittlelions.bpt.me ($25 at the door) and of course, I give a money back guarantee!