Folk duo to perform at Vernon Lodge

The show will be at the Prestige Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre on May 22

Paul Tessier

Special to The Morning Star

In the world of folk music, being compared to Woody Guthrie is about as good as it gets. Being nominated twice for a Juno doesn’t hurt either.

Such is the case for Maria Dunn, who will be performing live (as the Maria Dunn Duo with Shannon Johnson) for the Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society on May 22 at the Prestige Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre.

Dunn has been involved in the world of folk music from a very young age.

“Music was always in our home,” Dunn said. “I remember my dad playing in the kitchen. He’d be playing guitar and singing everything from Johnny Cash to Lonnie Donegan to traditional Scottish and Irish folk songs.”

She was impacted musically by both her father and mother in her childhood.

“One particular memory of discovering the joy of singing was around a campfire in the Rocky Mountains,” said Dunn. “I started harmonizing with my dad and experiencing that wonderful feeling you get when you’re singing harmony with somebody and you just know that it sounds good.”

“I sang in a lot of choirs in my teenage years,” said Dunn. “I was also invited to join a folk group and I took piano lessons. But it wasn’t till I was working full-time in my early 20s that I really discovered making music for fun with my peers.”

At one point, she was given a guitar at Christmas.

“It was a totally new instrument to me,” said Dunn. “But I started tagging along with other guitar players who were way better than me—but I was singing lots of folk songs.”

She volunteered to be a DJ at the University of Alberta, which proved to be very beneficial.

“I was exposed to all sorts of wonderful folk music through the record stacks there,” Dunn said. “It actually felt like I was getting a master’s degree in folk music simply by learning about all the great folk music performers from over the decades. So I ended up doing a ton of listening before I even dreamed of writing a song.”

When she started writing and performing her own songs, she did so cautiously.

“Very often, I wouldn’t admit to writing the song until I got a reaction from the crowd,” Dunn said. “It’s a very, very personal and a very scary thing to share those first songs.”

Dunn has been sharing her songs and singing for audiences around the world since the mid 1990s.

On May 22, she’ll be accompanied by Shannon Johnson (of the McDades) on violin. They’ve performed together off and on also since the 90s.

“Shannon was been the producer for all six of my albums and she has always been my first call when I need a musician. She’s a very accomplished violinist and a lovely harmony singer,” said Dunn.

“I love inviting people to sing along,” Dunn explains. “I have a lot of songs where I’m able to do that. I love that tradition where you hear a lot of voices together, making music together. So for me, performing live is all about the connection with the audience.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $25 for members. Food and alcohol will be available at the show.

Tickets are available through (250-549-7469), Expressions Of Time bookstore (2901 30th Ave.) or at the door.

Related: Infamous satirical folk three way headed to the Okanagan

Related: Caught in the middle of folk and jazz

To report a typo, email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WATCH: $2,600 buzz cut for Vernon man

Richard Rolke raises nearly $3K for CMHA’s crisis line with fund ‘razor’

‘We are not seeking a handout,’ Enderby drive-in owner says

Touched by fundraising efforts, Starlight says show support by coming to the movies instead

$113K boost for North Okanagan charities on COVID-19 frontline

Partnership between United Way and Community Foundation supports organizations from Vernon to Revelstoke

Highway 97 near Falkland reopens after crash

A motor vehicle incident on Douglas Lake Road put the brakes on traffic

WATCH: New home for Vernon family

Single mom, two kids new residents of Habitat for Humanity’s first completed project in Vernon

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Flood watch for Salmon River upgraded as high temperatures, rain forecast

Shuswap Emergency Program warns residents to prepare now for possible extreme flooding

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

RCMP request public’s help in locating missing Salmon Arm man

Ken Derkach is a familiar face to many, one of the city’s residents who is without a home

Booze on Kelowna beaches? Mayor says ‘not at the moment’

Mayor Colin Basran says alcohol in public spaces is not on council’s radar right now — but that could change

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Drunk man on a dirt bike and prohibited drivers without insurance keep Shuswap RCMP busy

Other calls resulted in excessive speed tickets and the arrests of two prohibited drivers

Most Read