Local musicians hitting the stage for first joint concert in Wolfville

Wendy Elliott
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On April 8, two well known, local musicians will combine forces in a concert at the Al Whittle Theatre, in Wolfville.

Songwriters Jeff Hennessy and Ian Janes have been friends for nearly 20 years, but they have never performed a concert together. The Wolfville resident and Hantsport native will join forces for a pair of concerts next month.

Both artists emerged on the music scene in the late 1990s with debut albums that attracted a lot of attention. Each went on to pick up East Coast Music Award nominations - Hennessy has two, and Janes has five – but they aren’t the only awards they have received over the years. Hennessy was also the Maritime regional winner and national finalist in the Canadian Songwriting Competition, while Janes won the MIANS award for Album of the Year for his sophomore release, As It Seems. Janes was also listed by Maclean’s Magazine as one of 100 Canadians to watch.

Both artists took a break from recording and performing in the 2000s. Janes took the time to start a family, while Hennessy finished his music studies, earning a Ph.D. in music from the University of Toronto. Hennessy then went on to become the director of the School of Music at Acadia University for six years.

During that time, they both continued to write songs, and Janes returned with a bang in 2010 with his third album, Piece of Mine. Hennessy returned to the stage last fall with a sold out ‘Comeback Concert’ at the Union Street Café in Berwick.

Both Janes and Hennessy are in pre-production for new albums that will be out in 2015. Hennessey has been creating new music while on sabbatical from Acadia. They say they are eager to share the stage together at last.

"Jeff's songs have both depth and simplicity, and he has the musical chops to deliver them,” says Janes. "He plays and sings with comfort and heart. He delivers his songs like he means it."

Each will do a set of their own songs, backed up by a band featuring Jeff Torbert on guitar, Nicholas D’Amato on bass and Mark Adam on drums.

Hennessy will also play keyboards for Ian during his set, and as excited as Hennessy is to perform his own music, he also looks forward to playing Rhodes piano and Hammond organ for Janes.

“Ian’s music is great fun to play,” says Hennessy. “His songs are full of cool harmonic and rhythmic twists and turns that keep you on your toes, and he’s also a great singer and guitarist.”

At the end of the show, they will sing some songs together.

Tickets at $15 for the Wolfville show are available online through ticketpro.ca or at Box of Delights bookstore in Wolfville. The music begins at 8 p.m.

Organizations: Al Whittle Theatre, University of Toronto, School of Music Acadia University

Geographic location: Wolfville, Hantsport, Berwick Acadia

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