Even after 45 years on the road, Shari Ulrich still takes requests.
The Shari Ulrich Trio will be opening Season 5 for the Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Powerhouse Theatre.
She’d be delighted to play your requests. It’s all part of an enduring love and passion for performing for live audiences.
“Oh gee, I love it so much,” she said when asked about performing live. “There is something so special about being able to share music live with people. I love the power of the human voice. I love the power of the written word. I love the power of the two of them with the emotional impact of the music.
“The songs I write are about our lives, so it’s very powerful to watch the impact on the audience. I think music just allows people to feel things in a way that nothing else quite does. It just gets straight into your heart and opens it up. I just feel so honoured to be a part of that cycle that happens between the performer and the audience. And it’s so fun to make audiences laugh too. I just never, ever get tired of performing in front of a live audience.”
Her first live performances in Canada were shortly after she left the United States and “bolted” to Canada in 1970 in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings.
“When I first came to Canada, I lived on a commune in Gibsons with people who are still very good friends of mine,” she recalls. “Then I started playing the conga drum with a guitar player who also lived on the commune. We’d go into Vancouver and play at the Naam Restaurant which is still there and thriving. It was there where I started to meet musicians who saw something in me and encouraged me to play. So I eventually moved from the commune into Vancouver and started playing music. Even back then, I felt this intense love for playing live music for an audience.”
That connection with the audience continues to this day.
“I encourage people to write to me and tell me if they have specific requests because I like to make people happy. I know people often come to shows because they’re familiar with particular songs and they’re hoping to hear them at the concert. I can play pretty much anything people request, but not without a little warning because I haven’t played them in 10 or 15 years. It’s always fun to know what audiences would like to hear.”
The past year has been busy and productive.
“I’ve been spending time writing and performing. A couple of months ago, we started recording a new album. That’s been really exciting because it’s wonderful to have new music. So far, the new album is called Roots and Bones but I haven’t decided yet if that title is a keeper or not,” Ulrich chuckles. “It will be out very early next year. I’ve been playing lots of shows in all sorts of formats: solo, with the High Bar Gang which is a bluegrass band and also with my Trio which consists of my daughter Julia and Kirby Barber who also plays in the High Bar Gang.”
Ulrich is excited to bring her trio to play Vernon.
“Julia has been playing with me since she was 12. She’s a wonderful singer and plays violin, mandolin, guitar and accordion. Kirby also sings and plays five-string electric bass.”
The magic of music happens quickly for Ulrich when performing live with the Trio.
“The three-part female harmonies are just heavenly. As soon as they start singing on the very first song, I just get goosebumps and start of tear up. It’s really something – I just love it so much. I’m really looking forward to sharing it with the audience in Vernon.”
And requests? Ulrich says to send them directly to her at email@example.com.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $25 for members, available through the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, ticketseller.ca, Expressions of Time bookstore (2901-30th Avenue) or at the door if available.
Season tickets for our 5th season are available for $200. We are also selling memberships to our Society for $20. Society members receive a $5 rebate when attending a show and are eligible to attend our Annual General Meeting. Season tickets and Society memberships can be bought at the door by cash or cheque only.