Couchiching musician has opened for major acts but can’t resist a good busk
Arden Bruyere once opened for the queen of country music Loretta Lynn.
Couchiching’s Arden Bruyere recently brought his street music to the First Annual Valley Fresh Buskers Festival in Thunder Bay.
“It’s been awesome, what a great event,” Bruyere said about the July 27-28 festival. “It can only grow, it can only get better. It was just a fledgling idea that blossomed into this and who knows what it can be down the road.”
Bruyere played a variety of music on both days of the festival, including songs suggested by people attending the festival.
“Basically, what my busking songs have developed from was just growing up playing around camp fires,” Bruyere said. “We’d bring the guitars out wherever we were at and we’d sit around the camp fire and create our songs.”
Although Bruyere enjoys busking whenever he can, he usually plays bass for several bands in Thunder Bay.
“The biggest highlight in the last five years is I’ve been the on-call opening act for the (Thunder Bay Community) Auditorium,” Bruyere said. “I’ve had the pleasure and honour of opening up for people, wide ranging from Tom Cochrane to Bachman Turner and Loretta Lynn. I even went up and did a solo gig in front of Black Label Society — that was quite the challenge.”
Bruyere said while most of the acts usually head out right after their performances, he did meet with Loretta Lynn.
“It was just her and I sitting backstage for about 15 minutes chatting while the guys moved the equipment,” Bruyere said. “It was like an audience with the Queen, but she is the queen of country music. That was awesome; so that was one of my coolest moments, sitting and chatting with Loretta.”
Bruyere is currently working on starting up a new Anishinabe band, noting they already have an upcoming performance on Aug. 17 at the Wayland in Thunder Bay.
“We’re a power trio doing rock from the 70s and 80s,” Bruyere said.
Bruyere has also completed a recording with Tracy K, a blues musician from Manitoba, in Memphis, Tenneesee.
“We entered the International Blues Challenge here in Thunder Bay and we were the first local winners,” Bruyere said. “So we won a free trip down to Memphis to compete in the IBC.”
This gave Bruyere and Tracy K an opportunity to record two songs at Sun Studios while in Memphis.
“It was fantastic,” Bruyere said about the recording session. “The engineer was awesome. What an experience, recording on the same floor as Elvis did.”
Bruyere recalls borrowing his brother’s guitar to take his first music lessons.
“I borrowed my brother’s guitar behind his back and went and took lessons off my cousin who lived across the way from me,” Bruyere said. “So I spent my first three or four months playing on a borrowed guitar. In fact, I’m playing on a borrowed guitar right now.
“When I got my first guitar it was awesome. It was Christmas, about a year after I started playing, and the first thing I did was take it apart. I wanted to find out how it worked.”
But Bruyere’s mother was not so pleased to see the new guitar in pieces.
“She said ‘you better know how to put that back together too,’” Bruyere said. “And I’d better see you playing it.”
So Bruyere put it back together, painted it and made it his own.
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