For university and college students across B.C., Reading Week is one of those anomalous terms. Does any student actually read during Reading Week?
To answer that question, James Struthers and Kate Morgan, one a former UBC Okanagan student, and the other fairly fresh out of high school, are stocking a station wagon for a B.C. tour starting this weekend.
They arrive at Silver Star’s The Den Bar and Bistro Monday.
This is the second major tour for both artists, who met while performing at the same Kamloops concert in August 2011. Morgan then joined Struthers for the remainder of his summer coast-to-coast tour.
“We definitely took a risk having Kate jump in the station wagon with me. There are a lot of variables at play when you’re on the road, but we got along famously, especially considering the fact we shared as small a space as that for a month. I think I can speak for both of us when I say it was an incredible experience,” said Struthers, 23.
Touring together has led to the discovery of joint interests. Both share an undeniable passion for music and songwriting, childish things like Smurfs and Transformers, neither has a favorite colour, and they both have chicken pox scars in the same place (above the left eye).
Canadian music fans may be familiar with Struthers’ work, following the success of his recent single, Blue Christmas, which hit the Top 10 in the national adult contemporary radio charts. Struthers’ cover version of the song popularized by Elvis Presley, peaked at No. 8 in December, putting the 23-year-old Winnipeg musician in the radio charting ranks of Michael Bublé, Justin Bieber, and Salmon Arm’s own Greg Sczebel.
His video for his Transformers-inspired, self-written song You, Me and Optimus Prime has reached more than 177,000 YouTube views. The video was also recently featured by famed radio host Alan Cross, and gadget news site, Gizmodo (one of the Top 50 most visited websites in the world).
Kamloops-raised songwriter Morgan, 18, who now resides in Vancouver and last performed in the Okanagan at the B.C. Interior Music Awards last spring, has already accomplished many feats.
She has opened for high profile acts such as The Sheepdogs, K’naan and Fefe Dobson, performed at the 2011 Grey Cup Festival and 2010 Olympic Games, and is the youngest headline performer to ever play Lilith Fair, where she shared the stage with her heroes Sarah McLachlan and Sheryl Crow.
“I was really, really lucky getting to play Lilith Fair. I had an in. One of the girls who sang backup vocals on my single at the time, Lovin’ You, worked at Nettwerk Records. She ended up playing the song for Lilith Fair co-founder Terry McBride and he called me in for a meeting,” said Morgan.
Opportunities keep popping up for Morgan, who will showcase at Canadian Music Week in Toronto this March, then travel to New York and L.A. to work with some high-profile writing/production.
While Struthers and Morgan will play their own independent sets during Monday’s concert, they will also join each other for some duets – and have recently started their own side project, called James and Kate (www.jamesandkate.net). They will showcase some of their joint tunes during their B.C. Reading Week tour stops.
Struthers and Morgan take the stage at the Den (located below the Town Hall at Silver Star Mountain Resort) Monday at 6 p.m. Admission is free.