A noted Canadian musician feels part of him will be coming home when he performs this week in New Glasgow.
Robert Thomas, songwriter, lyricist and composer, is scheduled to grace the Monarch Café on April 29 with the Session Men during what is being called their Atlantic Canadian Parallel Lines Tour. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.
“It’s been 20 years since I’ve been in Pictou County,” he said. “We’re an acoustics band so the Monarch fills that bill very well.”
Now 62, Thomas has a Pictou County connection, although he was born and grew up in Halifax.
“I have roots in Sunny Brae,” he said. “My mother was born there. She’d bring me back for the summer. Usually, she’d get a month and I was there from Grade 4 to Grade 8. I had some great summers there.”
Thomas is guardedly optimistic he will be available. He got over a mild case of the coronavirus three weeks ago, but it returned.
“Hopefully, it will quiet down again,” he said. “My voice is okay; it’s my energy level that’s not where it should be.”
Thomas has been widely recognized in Canada and elsewhere over his 35-year career and is a three time East Coast Music Awards nominee. He has appeared or recorded across many musical genres with artists that include Barney Bentall, The Legendary Hearts, Spirit of the West, Garnet Rogers, Susan Aglukark, Roche Voisine, Ryan’s Fancy, Hagood Hardy, Ron Hynes and Lina Boudreau.
Thomas is based in Moncton after spending many years in Los Angeles. He is lead vocalist, while his all-Atlantic band includes Ray Legere on fiddle and mandolin, guitarist Jon Arsenault, and Max Forbes on keyboard and vocals.
“Ray and I go back 20 years,” he said. “The guy’s encyclopedic on chord changes. I’ve known Jon for 20 years. He used to open for us. It’s a special alchemy. I couldn’t ask for better accompaniment. We do Roots Americana. It’s not country, more like Lyle Lovett. We decided to do a musical biography. It’s kind of a musical biography in a writer’s career. It’s more about telling stories through songs. It’s more appealing to me and I think it’s more interesting to the audience. I just hope people will like what we’re doing and keep building our audience.”
A hit song is one thing that has eluded Thomas, but it has not stopped him from trying to achieve it.
“I don’t have that hit,” he said. “That has always stuck with me, a little unfinished business. There has always been that what if. There’s no end to the competition out there.”