Summerland’s Kevin Foley didn’t set out to become a Neil Young tribute artist but sometimes you’ve got to follow your feelings.
“My voice always just seemed to match, you know, when I started playing guitar,” said Foley. “I just kind of fell into it. I had this idea in my head, it kind of just wouldn’t leave me alone, to do this show, kind of like a Neil Young tribute show. I rented Centre Stage (Theatre) in Summerland, went out and hired some musicians to do the show with me.
“We sold the place out and then after that the phone just started ringing,” he said. “It was supposed to be just more of a one-time thing to get that out of my system but away we went.”
That was five years ago.
Foley’s Forever Young tribute to the Canadian folk/country superstar takes the stage Friday during a special tribute night happening at PeachFest.
Foley said his show honouring the music legend and environmentalist quickly became part of the music festival scene throughout the entire Okanagan.
“We’ve done some really cool gigs on some big stages,” he said. “It’s been a blast. It’s been quite a riot.”
Foley said he was fortunate the musicians who performed at the first show in Summerland wanted to join him and become part of the band. Although some of them have moved on he’s grateful for their contribution.
“I’ve been lucky. I’ve been really lucky,” he said.
Being more popular than he’d envisioned also meant Foley had to add to his song repertoire.
“I’ve got 45 albums to choose from,” he said with a chuckle. “So I mean, it’s always changing. We always try to keep it interesting for everybody. The funny thing is we’ve developed a following that we see a lot of the same faces in the audience all over the place.”
Growing up, Foley was a fan of Young’s with two albums – Harvest and After the Goldrush – being his two favourites.
“Those two albums were extremely healing for me and got me through some tough times in my younger days,” he said. “I can put those albums on and just sit there and it’s so healing, you know.”
Foley said that Young’s talents as a songwriter extend beyond just the commercial successes.
“If you get into not so much the hits, but a lot of the obscure things he’s got on albums, it’s very deep and cuts deep inside you,” he said. “The neat thing for me is, when I’m up onstage, I can find that place and just kind of disappear in the music and that’s what I think I love about playing his stuff the most.”
In addition to working with his band, Foley has also put together an acoustic show and performs at pubs and wineries in the Okanagan.
Foley played his tribute show for the first time at PeachFest in 2013 and is looking forward to returning.
Being the first of three tribute artists to perform Friday along with High Voltage (AC/DC) and U4 (U2) should make for an interesting time and provide some great entertainment for the crowd, he said.
“It’s nice for the audience because they can come and see their favourite band even though it’s not that band and hear some of their favourite songs,” said Foley. “They know what they’re going to get.”
All shows take place on the Peters Bros. main stage with Foley’s show taking place from 6:15 to 7 p.m., followed by High Voltage from 7:50 to 9 p.m. And U4 from 9:30 to 11 p.m.