The image of George Canyon is one of a great guy, humanitarian, helper of people in need, not just someone who sings and garners fame and fortune for it. Part of that is showing his vulnerability in the face of a potentially fatal disease and helping others who may be in the same boat.
The 46-year-old Canyon, who shot to fame in the early 2000s on a TV show called Nashville Star, has been coping with Type 1 Diabetes since he was 14, and in a few weeks will be resuming what he calls his The Sky’s NOT the Limit tour, performing and also sharing stories about living with the disease.
“It’s something I started doing last year,” he tells BarrieToday, “as I am blessed to have this platform for sharing my story about Type 1 Diabetes. I fly my bird-dog plane around to various airports – wherever they happen to be (the next one will be in Edmonton on Aug. 2) and speak to kids who have Type 1, along with playing them some tunes, and they think, ‘if George can live his dream, I can live mine'.”
"Sky’s NOT the Limit got going in earnest in November, and we’ve had four successful events since then."
Canyon, who has garnered a lot of CCMA awards in his storied career, touches down at the Orillia Opera House, Saturday, Aug. 19, and what should thrill his fans is that he and his band will be in the studio next week, getting cracking on a new album. The Nova Scotia product, now based in Alberta, points to the album’s first single release, Better Off in Love, which has already enjoyed some airplay.
“We’re hoping to have as many songs from the album in the concert as possible. But having about, what, 32 singles released over the years, it’s sometimes kind of hard to tailor the songs to the venue you’re playing.
“I mean, if you’re in an outdoor setting as festivals and what not, you don’t want to play too many sad songs.”
George says he’s hoping to conclude cutting the rest of the album over the next few weeks, with a release date sometime early in 2018.
As for what gets the most requests when George plays a show, he’s somewhat non-committal.
“Oh, man. Ring of Fire (gets a lot of requests), also Slow Dance, Angels, My Name.” And one could forgive him if he failed to mention songs like I Got This, Believe, and the remake of the Crowded House croon, Better be Home Soon.
He’s also worn many hats in his work life: cop, slaughterhouse beef inspector, actor (he appeared as the character Charlie Wells in the series Heartland in 2010. His most notable film role to date was as the character Cattle Jack in the 2012 film Dawn Rider, a remake of a 1935 John Wayne film of the same name. In 2013, he had a role on the movie Coming Home for Christmas)
He is now also an honourary colonel at 14 Wing Greenwood, the largest air base on the east coast.
His family must come in for some credit, too, amid all this: there was a time when his wife reportedly worked three jobs during the day, so that George could pursue his dream of singing and performing at night.
George dubs the Opera House a “fantastic” venue to perform and says he and the band can’t wait to get there.
George Canyon and his band will play the Orillia Opera House, Saturday night, Aug. 19. Show time is 7:30 p.m. For tickets and information, click here.