The Steven Page Trio
Group’s Thunder Bay Stop One of Several Northern Ontario Dates
Story by Nancy Saunders, Photo by Robert Georgeff
The Steven Page Trio is performing November 4 at Fort William Historical Park’s McGillivray's Landing. The show is part of a northern Ontario tour that includes stops in Geraldton, Atikokan, Fort Frances, Kenora, Red Lake, Dryden, and Sioux Lookout, and is being presented locally by the Sleeping Giant Folk Music Society. Thanks to a collaboration between communities, for the last 15 years towns have been able to secure live entertainment by high-profile performers at an affordable price. It also sees artists play smaller, more intimate venues—an appealing and unique experience for both performers and their fans. Page, previously of the Barenaked Ladies, has been touring continuously since the release of his last album, Excelsior, in September 2022. The northern Ontario shows will be his first time doing this type of regional tour. "I've heard about this circuit from other musicians. I always thought it sounded awesome,” he says. “I was immediately like, yeah, let’s do it!” “[We] always focus on the major markets, but there are so many places to play and it’s just an experience for us to be able to [play in] other parts of the country,” Page continues. While he doesn’t think of himself as a folk musician, folk music and folk festivals were a big part of Page’s childhood; his parents were involved in the Mariposa Folk Festival, one of the longest-running of its kind in North America. “So I grew up going to that,” he says. “Then as a teenager, the music that I connected with had certain roots in that kind of secondwave folk movement of the 60s.” One of the first things he did when he became a solo artist was to book as many folk festivals across Canada as he could. “The ability to come and play to Canadians where they live is really important to me,” he says. As important as touring is to Page, he is intimately familiar with the isolation that can accompany it. “Being ‘at sea’ is the biggest thing about traveling as a musician. You can feel lost, you can feel at sea, you can feel isolated, as you’re never in one place very long,” he says. “You feel this kind of sense of being unmoored.” In recent years, Page has spoken openly about mental health and his own challenges, emphasizing the importance of addressing the associated stigma. “When I started doing mental health speaking, every time I’d go up and do a talk I would think, these people must think, ‘what does he have to offer me?’” he says. “I think there's a sense of, ‘well, he’s lived a completely different kind of existence from me.’” Page says that sharing his own struggles and healing path “gives people the opportunity to hear how similar most of our lives are.” He sees it as his obligation and responsibility to continue striving to connect with audiences on these topics, through both speaking engagements and his music. While the upcoming tour requires a significant amount of time on the road, Page credits bandmates Craig Northley (guitar) and Kevin Fox (cello) and their team for making the experience enjoyable. “They're just good people, you know,” he says. “Everybody's there to catch each other, which is really nice. […] They're my closest friends and the easiest people to be around.” Page praises his bandmates as “amazing singers and songwriters in their own right,” adding that “to be able to have them backing me up is a real privilege.” The two join Page’s distinctive sound—one that has remained easily recognizable throughout his decades-long career as an award-winning musician. The Steven Page Trio’s northern Ontario tour offers the opportunity to enjoy an exceptional live concert in a variety of intimate settings, and to witness the talent of some of Canada’s premier musicians. The Steven Page Trio performs November 4 at Fort William Historical Park’s McGillivray's Landing. For more information, visit sleepinggiant.ca or stevenpage.com.