Canyon takes breaks from new album for Peachfest performance

One of Canada’s favourite country artists will be headlining the Aug. 7 events on the Peachfest stage.

Canyon takes breaks from new album for Peachfest performance

One of Canada’s favourite country artists will be headlining the Aug. 7 events on the Peachfest stage.

George Canyon, who’s busy writing and recording a new album, is stepping away from the studio to be a part of Peachfest.

“(The Canyon family) love the whole Okanagan area,” he said. “We spend as much time as we can there, hoping to spend more in the future.”

He said his new record has been in the works for over a year, and while his band is spending as much time in the studio as possible, the crew didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to play in Penticton — their only B.C. show this summer.

“When you’re celebrating music with a bunch of different acts, everybody’s ramped up, enjoying the day and the sunshine — it’s special when you get to play outside,” he said. “Lord willing, we’ll have a nice beautiful sunny day and a nice evening.”

He couldn’t say whether the audience will be treated to some of the new songs before the album’s release early in 2016, but fans can expect a new single in September.

“It’s something we’ve been taking our time with; really trying to get back to my music.”

Canyon said his songwriting is drawn from concepts that stir his emotions.

“I never really looked at it as trying to be with the times. Hopefully someone likes me as an artist, and they like me as an artist not just for one song but because of all the music that I make.”

The Peachfest concert though is sure to focus on Canyon’s more popular songs.

“I’ve been very blessed to have 28 or 29 radio songs and success with radio. We try to concentrate on hitting as many of those as we can, but I also really enjoy visiting with the crowd and telling them stories behind songs, and getting the crowd to sing along to certain things.”

But it’s not just a matter of running through the singles, he said.

“We mix it up — every now and again I’ll do a song from my children’s album that we haven’t released yet, but eventually will. We have a lot of fun with kids and that’s why we encourage families to be at the show.”

The authenticity of Canyon’s country roots were apparent over the phone as the interview was interrupted by his pet dog.

“Hang on one second, sorry I just have my dog here – Oakley! Oakley come! Ah he’s not gonna come,” Canyon said. “We have a labradoodle that’s protecting the farm — that’s what he thinks anyways, he protects the farm ’til someone comes up and he licks them to death.”

Canyon grew up in Nova Scotia, but relocated as an adult to Alberta. Despite living in provinces 5,000 kilometres apart, he said the country influences didn’t differ.

“Growing up on the east coast I’d listen to Hank Snow, Anne Murray, right from there to Stan Rogers,” he said. “All this stuff just kind of blending all together. The kind of music that’s always been about family and stories — and it’s the same as the west.”

Canyon said his bandmates are the cream of the Canadian crop and credited them with much of his success.

“I’m really blessed to have them with me this long — some have them have been with me for seven or eight years.”

Before he hits the stage, Canyon plans to experience some of King & Cash’s set, the country band that plays before him.

“They’re label mates of mine. I’ve heard their music before but not live so I’m really interested to see them.”

Canyon takes the stage at 9:30 p.m. after King and Cash at 8 p.m.