They have worked with Buddy Holly’s producer and written hits for Anne Murray, Michael Bublé and a slew of international performers.
If there is one thing the four members of the Timewalkers know, it is the elements of a great song, and it is simple.
“Good songs don’t go bad,” said Ron Irving, who is on guitar, vocals and bass with the Timewalkers, performing at the Dream Café this weekend.
They are bringing a setlist packed with the Eagles, the Beatles, Roy Orbison and a bunch of originals hits.
B.C.-born Irving is a veteran Canadian singer/songwriter with over 100 songs recorded worldwide in seven languages. Artists who have recorded his songs include the Statler Brothers, Asian pop stars, Jennifer Rush, Lee Greenwood, Lisa Brokop and numerous others. He currently is working on songs to present to Ricky Martin for an upcoming project. Still, he loves being under the spotlight himself.
“There is nothing better than playing a song and getting that reaction from an audience. That’s fantastic and you never get tired of that. That is one of the things I enjoy about this group is that we are all friends, we love the music and it is so much fun,” said Irving. “When you are behind the scenes you miss that part of the instant response. You send out the songs into a void and sometimes they get back to you and sometimes it’s on the radio or sometimes you don’t hear anything.”
It was She Loves You by the Beatles that set the tone for his successful career.
“I heard the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show and it totally changed my life. I think the influence was huge on me because I spent a lot of years learning those songs and understanding the structure,” he said.
Irving penned Anne Murray’s 90s hit Bluebird, a song he wrote years prior for his wife at their wedding. The song gave him an opportunity to take a seat from touring and performing life and focus on being a writer. Bluebird also landed him a job at BMG Music Publishing as a staff writer.
“In Nashville, I really learned a lot working with some of the great writers there. Their focus was on the story, the lyrics and getting a clear message across,” said Irving.
It is where he learned how to grow a thick skin when it comes to putting his thoughts down for the world to see and hear.
“I always love singing for people but also happy to have someone else take my songs and take it for a good spin. You have to have this self-driven enthusiasm because you face a lot of rejection in this business. A producer might listen to 30 seconds and say ‘Nope, not what I’m looking for’ and hit fast forward. You have to try not to take it too personally,” he said. “It is not an easy business and there is a lot of competition out there for songs.”
Irving is a member of the B.C. Country Music Association Hall of Fame, has released two solo CDs and his songs have received national awards. Country duo One More Girl, who have played in Penticton before, are taking one of his co-written songs to a whole new place soon.
“Britt and Carly McKillip are performing at the Grand Ole Opry for the first time on June 3 and they are doing a song their mother and I wrote called The Hard Way. I am really excited about that. I’m not going to get to be there but I’ve never had a song played at the Grand Ole Opry,” said Irving.
He isn’t the only one in the four-person group that has seen a share of success. Michael Vincent is a Warner Bros. recording artist, Bryan Nelson recorded with Buddy Holly’s legendary producer Norman Petty and Luke Isaac writes songs that turns heads at Nashville’s major record labels.
“Everyone in the band is also a really good guitar player. Instead of having someone on electric shredding we are doing all our solos on acoustic and a lot of four-part harmony,” said Irving. “We seem to be striking a chord with the boomer crowd and younger people like it too because we ride the fence between these classic songs that everyone knows and our own originals.”
The Timewalkers perform at the Dream Café on May 23 and 24. Saturday is already sold out. Tickets are $20 and available in-person at the Dream Café or by calling at 250-490-9012.