This year is a return to form for George Canyon.
Exploring other creative avenues including acting, producing and mentoring over the past few years, Canyon decided it was time to get back to the start of it all, back to the music.
Two years in the making, Canyon’s latest studio album I Got This is set to be released Feb. 5 as the country music star heads out on the Jekyll and Nothing to Hide tour.
One day after the album’s release Canyon is playing the Mule Nightclub in Penticton.
The multiple Juno Award winner and seven time Canadian Country Music Award winner has released greatest hits compilations over the last few years, but his last original album was released in 2011.
“It’s a labour of love for sure,” Canyon said. “I really needed to get back to being creative, back to what music meant to me and why I create music.”
The Nova Scotia native took the better part of the last two years to write and demo songs that he said put a smile on his face.
“We just kind of threw caution to the wind,” Canyon said.
Canyon’s creative efforts had expanded beyond music over the past few years focusing on acting, with cameos in the Trailer Park Boys and appearing as a pilot in 2013’s Superman reboot Man of Steel.
“I hadn’t been taking the time to be creative with my music. So that’s why I said I’m going to take the next 24 months and really dig in, and that’s what we did,” Canyon said.
He co-produced six songs apiece with fellow country music star Jeff Johnson and good friend Johnny Reid.
“We had a blast. Johnny and I have been friends for a long time, so we were laughing pretty hard a lot of the time when we were together doing this, it was a lot of fun,” Canyon said.
The tour is a return to the roots of his career, playing nightclubs, bars and casino’s across Canada.
“We haven’t done clubs since I left clubs, since back in the day, I’ve been in the business for 26 years. To go back and get to play clubs, theatres and casinos is pretty exciting because you have to change the show up quite a bit,” Canyon said.
Just playing theatres misses a lot of the fan base that like to attend a different kind of show, Canyon said.
“In the clubs you get to let your hair down. On this tour we said let’s go everywhere, let’s play the music for everybody,” Canyon said.
With over 11 albums in what he calls a “very blessed career,” Canyon is passing on that experience, acting as a mentor for young artists in everything from music and song writing, to saving costs on tours.
“I didn’t have anybody that did it for me when I was young, and I feel that I like to step up and help when I can.”
Canyon and his crew decided to let the venues pick local opening acts, giving them a chance to share the stage with a big name.
“That’s really important because it’s also good for the area and the community,” Canyon said.
Tickets to see Canyon at the Mule on Feb. 6 are $35 and are available at www.ticketweb.ca.