This week has been a busy one for me. One of those weeks where you’re so exhausted when you finally get home that you’re asleep before your head hits the pillow. So when my dad called me and asked if I wanted to catch a concert with him, I contemplated staying home in my jogging pants. But never one to turn down a good show, I agreed to a date with my dad.

I had heard of Royal Wood, but never got around to checking him out. My dad is a big Ron Sexsmith fan and told me that this guy had been called a mix of Sexsmith and Rufus Wainwright – those are some pretty big comparisons, so I got excited. Royal Wood had been on big international tours and shared the stage with big names like David Gray, but he wanted to take a more intimate approach this time around and decided to play small clubs around the country on his most recent tour called Root of It All.

His Hamilton stop was at The Pearl Company in our city’s downtown core. If you’ve ever been to Hamilton, you know that our city’s centre has a bad rap – full of unemployed crack heads and uninteresting, unmotivated people. Well, I hope that if you live here, or come to visit, you know that this is unfair judgememt and there are true gems in this city like The Pearl Company. It looks like an abandoned factory from the outside but the inside was full of art and character and set up for the perfect intimate concert experience. There were mismatched chairs mixed with couches and simple white christmas lights to highlight the stage. My dad and I took a couple chairs off to the side, waiting for the piano, stand-up bass and guitar to meet their owners.

The Royal Wood Trio took the small stage and it was a welcome show since my year had been full of large venue concerts. Royal Wood chatted with the audience, telling the inspiration behind each song and joking with us like we were old friends. He told us stories about having to sing a song on a children’s show, writing a song for a friend who lost her grandparents and a song about how a bird’s tune inspired him on a nature walk. Each song was heartfelt and his honest revelations filled the room and it’s listeners with a true connection. One song that had a beautiful story and a haunting performance was “Tonight I Will Be Your Guide”. He said it was about a friend who had come on some hard times and he wrote it in hopes that it would help her get through it.

Royal Wood – Tonight I Will Be Your Guide
Royal Wood – Tonight I Will Be Your Guide

I won’t spoil of his great stories for you because he still has some shows left on this small club tour. Click here to see the remaining days. If there is one in your area, I really suggest going to see this show – you will not be disappointed. You can grab his new album The Waiting here.

Check out his cover of “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People that he recorded while on tour in Halifax. It gives the original a run for its money.

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