Described as a songwriter of amazing depth and clarity 54•40’s front man Neil Osborne is bringing his musical prowess to the Dream Café Saturday.
With just a few tickets remaining at press time, An Evening with Neil Osborne promises to be another of the Café’s long list of memory makers.
And Osborne’s plan for the evening?
“I don’t really know yet. I’m going to sing some songs, we’ve got 14 or 15 albums, I’m going to cover some of the hits but also I’m going to do stuff that I don’t play with the band very much that lend themselves more to the solo kind of thing. I don’t know but I’m really looking forward to it,” he said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his Victoria home. “I do probably half a dozen of these things (small venues) a year. It’s kind of informative for me and it’s a neat way to put myself out there a little bit and it’s inspiring for me.
“You get a good rapport with folks hopefully (laughs) have a little conversation here and there and sing some songs you wouldn’t normally do, but playing in front of a lot of people like we did at PeachFest, that’s a whole different ball game, but a fun ball game.”
Osborne himself has achieved critical acclaim, releasing a dozen albums, and is an accomplished producer taking the production reigns of the band’s albums, including their platinum and gold works.
Osborne’s song-writing credits include 20-charting radio songs and he has penned such works for the band as I Go Blind, Since When and Ocean Pearl.
While still rockin’ with the best of them, the founder of the band described as “post-punk icons that leapt from the early ‘80s Vancouver dive-bar scene” admits nearly four decades in the business have mellowed him maybe just a little.
When asked the difference between then and now, Osborne described himself as: “A lot less angry. Back then I was a lot more serious about what we could do to change the world.
“When I started out I was on a mission and that (music) was my weapon, but now I really, really get off on playing music and enjoy it. The world changes anyway and I’ve got a little more philosophical. It’s like you go out there with the best intentions but you don’t end up in the direction you started, that’s for sure.”
Expected to join him at the Café is Osborne’s daughter and recording artist Kandle, 27, whose fourth solo album Damned If I Do, was released in May.
“I kind of roped her into coming with me. It’s Father’s Day the next day and I might throw her up there to sing one of her songs.
“Oddly enough we don’t sing together too much. I throw her a chord or something when she asks me, but she’s got some good tunes, so maybe I can talk her into singing, give me a break.”
His oldest daughter Coral is now living in Los Angeles working as a personal chef to some “very affluent” chefs according to her father.
The latest release for 54•40 was earlier this year, Keep On Walking, their first new-music recording since 2011, although they put out the acoustic greatest hits album La Difference in 2016.
The band played dates in Vernon and Kelowna as part of its unplugged tour in February and March and go on the road again at the end of the month.
“We do about 40 and 60 shows a year. It keeps us healthy, keeps us on our toes,” said Osborne. “We’re one of the few bands that didn’t quit and then start up again in a reunion. We’ve always been open for business, since 1980.
“It’s (playing solo and working with other bands) good to sort of break out of the band mould and when I get back into the band I’m pretty happy to be there.”
This will be his first trip to the Dream Café.
“It’s a bit of ride going up there without my band holding me up but I’m looking forward to it. It’s good to be scared, right? Not really.”
Tickets for the Penticton show are $45 for premium seats and $35 for wings.
Tickets can be purchased online at http://thedreamcafe.ca/tickets/