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Dani Strong Looks After “Family”

The rising Canadian country music star shares her stories with the crowd at Mavricks Music Hall Dec. 2
Dani Strong plays Mavricks Dec. 2 (Photo provided)

The surname says it all… Strong… passionate… a firm believer in what she does, and with whom and for whom she does it. Dani Strong has been called a country music artist with a magnificent stage presence, one who ropes you into her performance and makes you part of the story she’s telling.

But first, she says, there has to be the story to tell.

“I'm a songwriter first,” Dani tells BarrieToday, a week and change before she and her band play the KICX-FM Radio for Cardiology concert, “and to me, a songwriter is a storyteller... and country music takes pride in its storytelling.”

The B.C.-born and Ontario-raised Strong now calls Barrie home, and is getting buzzed to play Mavricks Music Hall, along with the Rob Watts Band before headliners The River Town Saints and Jason McCoy hit the stage, Saturday, Dec. 2. All of the artists – Strong not the least – are givers, which is why she considers this show so important and exciting.

“I love playing shows that support an amazing cause. By improving the Cardiology Unit at RVH, it has the potential to save lives. People in the Barrie and north up to Muskoka and out to Collingwood will no longer need to be taken all the way down to Newmarket for cardiac care. Those 40 minutes are precious.”

Strong and husband Grant Taylor, the band’s drummer, are particularly in love with Mavricks. “I played that venue last October for the release party of my very first album Time to Breathe. It was the best show ever. Al (Quigley, club owner) and his team there at Mavricks are top-notch. Barrie's music scene is lucky to have that room!”

As one who pens her own tunes, one could say that Strong’s best tunes are the ones still inside her head.

“My personal favourites always end up being the songs I am currently writing. I guess that's a good thing, right? If I'm loving what I'm writing, it's a good sign.”

And get set to hear songs like What You Need, off the Time to Breathe CD, considering it her story and that of her drummer husband.

“But I really love singing Stronger Now too.”

The first single from Breathe, however, is called Wild One, which Dani says gets the crowd going.

”It's a super fun song to play, so we don't mind at all.”

To Dani Strong, playing country music in this country is a fine thing to do and a fine place to be, like being part of a vast, warm, extended family, with its arms open wide.

“We all look out for each other. What’s more, country music festivals all over this nation sell well over 20 - 30,000 (tickets) in multiple provinces. That must mean it's doing OK...  I hope.”

Strong’s “family” consists of nine members in all – with whom she’s travelled for over a decade. Besides herself and Taylor, there’s Mike Bowell on lead guitar and Steve Gotlib on bass, as well as Brett Caswell on keyboards and guitar, Shane Guse on fiddle, Gina Horswood and Tamica Herod singing background and guitarist Dan Brodbeck, who also produced the Time to Breathe album.

“I love my band,” says Strong. “They are in this as much as I am.”

Dani Strong and her “family” take the stage with the Rob Watts Band, The River Town Saints and special guest Jason McCoy, as part of the KICX-FM Radio for Cardiology Christmas Party, at Mavricks Music Hall, 46 Dunlop Street West, on Saturday, Dec. 2. The doors open at 8 p.m., with the party getting underway at 9 p.m.

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Glenn Wilkins

About the Author: Glenn Wilkins

Glenn Wilkins, in a 30-year media career, has written for print and electronic media, as well as for TV and radio. Glenn has two books under his belt, profiling Canadian actors on Broadway and NHL coaches.
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