Alannah Myles in Bradford: Black Velvet at The Main Lounge

Miriam King
Alannah Myles in Bradford

Alannah Myles in Bradford

The new owners of The Main Lounge in Bradford, Sebastian Zucca and Giuseppe Strazzeri, wanted to open with a bang, become part of the renaissance of downtown Bradford, and get noticed as a venue for urban-style dining and entertainment in an intimate setting.

They've done all that by persuading Grammy Award winner Alannah Myles to perform at The Main, for one concert only, on Saturday, October 30.

The Toronto-born singer, whose "Black Velvet" rocketed to the top of the charts in 1989, was asked if she had any childhood memories of travelling through the Bradford area and the Holland Marsh.

Alannah: "I was raised in Toronto, where I went to school as a girl growing up, but spent much of my time north of Peterborough at my family's cottage/ranch. I did however chance to visit friends in the Huntsville Georgian Bay area, as well as skied in Collingwood, which brought me to travel through the Holland Marsh on Hwy. 400...

"For some reason, I always felt something spiritual overcome me when I would pass - and still do! I loved the flat shape of its basin, and the many fields of farmed produce. When I was living in Los Angeles making my second Rockinghorse record (1991-92), I would travel up the coast to visit my collaborator Nancy Simmonds, who lived in a little town along the Pacific Ocean called Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara. Every time, I drove up the Pacific Coast Hwy. #1 and cut across Los Posas north of the Santa Monica Mountains. There was a flat area almost identical to the Holland Marsh, and an eerily familiar feeling would overcome me - as if I was somehow transported back to Hwy. 400. It always reminds me of my life in Canada."

Times: We think of you in a rock context. Is acoustic something you're now exploring? Or has it always been part of your repertoire?

Alannah: "Though I began my career as a rocker, there's no question that all of my top 40 hits were softer blues (Black Velvet) or pop ballads (Lover of Mine, Song Instead of a Kiss, Sonny Say You Will). My stage performance was predominantly rock, but we always broke midway through the show to do an acoustic set before ending the performances on a high, rocking note."

Times: We were wondering about that long gap between recordings - between 2000, and 2008 when you released your new version of Black Velvet.

Alannah: "There was a great deal of unrest creatively, as well as financially, in the way I was dealt by my early record labels. By the time I had released a Best Of on Warner in Canada to meet my contractual obligation to Atlantic Records who released me from an 8-album contract after only 3 records, I was met with a scathing review by a Canadian national publication, and filed suit for defamation of character. The litigation took 2 miserable years out of my life, between 2000 and 2002, resulting in an out of court settlement and printed apology.

"My artistic spirits were dampened by the subsequent and inevitable ravages of fame, and my multi-platinum and diamond award sales did not compensate me for my creativity or hard work, leaving me with an exhaustive international tour schedule that kept me further in debt. Once I was compensated by the paper, I stopped everything I was doing and took 5 years to write songs, heal, and make a new CD - titling it Black Velvet as a way of reuniting me with my fans."

Times: What can Bradford concert-goers look forward to hearing on October 30?

Alannah: "I have offered both rock and acoustic formats to my clients throughout the world for the better part of the last decade, since taking on self-management, and have seen for the first time in my 25 year career, a financial profit. I have enjoyed sculpting my performance with whatever the promoter or venue owner can provide... to entertain my fans with all of my singles, along with some of my repertoire that would never have had the chance to be heard on the radio.

"I have always made excellent quality choices with songs I've recorded on my albums - and the proof of that is the enjoyment that I, my musicians and my audiences receive from each one of my engagements."

Alannah Myles sings at The Main Lounge, 9 p.m. on Oct. 30. Dinner/concert tickets are sold out, but a limited number of "concert only" tickets are still available.

For details call 905-551-6000 or visit www.themainlounge.ca

Photo: Alannah Myles, by Deborah Samuel