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Empress Theatre gets back to roots with this year’s Center Stage lineup


The Empress Theatre is delivering a roots-focused all-Canadian lineup for its Center Stage Concert Series for the 2017-’18 season.
Starting this fall, audiences will be treated to folk, country and bluegrass performances — with a bit of jazz too.
The series includes six shows running September through March:

  • Sept. 28 — Pharis and Jason Romero.
  • Oct. 21 — Russell deCarle.
  • Nov. 4 — Charlie A’Court.
  • Jan. 27 — The Polyjesters.
  • Feb. 24 — Maria Dunn.
  • March 17 — Lindi Ortega.

Pharis and Jason Romero are a folk music duo from British Columbia who won the 2016 Juno Award for traditional roots album for their album A Wanderer I’ll Stay.
They have released five records — three as a duo –and toured across North America and the UK.
The Romeros are passionate teachers and believers in many things folk, and their heartbreakingly harmonic live show is an ever-evolving and never-ending quest for good songs and beautiful sounds.
Russell deCarle, lead vocalist and bassist of Canadian country roots band Prairie Oyster, is also a prolific solo artist, appearing on CBC TV’s Songwriters Circle, opening for Merle Haggard on his cross-Canada tour, traveling coast-to-coast with Bluebird North Songwriters’ Tour, and performing as a featured guest on Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café Christmas Tour.
As a songwriter, deCarle has been honoured with two SOCAN Song of the Year Awards. He has a new album released this summer, Alone In This Crowd.
Charlie A’Court is planted at the crossroads of roots and soul,
A’Court’s mighty voice, fierce guitar work and contemporary songwriting have earned him an international following and a host of awards and accolades for his five solo albums to-date, including Come On Over, winner of the 2015 East Coast Music Award for Blues Recording of the Year and 2015 Music Nova Scotia Award for Blues Recording of the Year.
The Polyjesters — Albertan brothers Jason and Sheldon Valleau — honed their musical talents in Europe playing for everyone from street folk to the Prince of Monaco.
It’s been a bumpy, twisting road since then, rife with adventure, great stories and excellent, eclectic music that ranges from Billie Holiday to The Beatles, classic swing/jazz standards to alternative country.
The Polyjesters have a unique sound that is highly energetic, completely contagious, unfailingly entertaining and appealing to a wide range of musical tastes.
Maria Dunn, a true preserver of the spirit of folk music, this 2017 Juno nominee is often compared to Woody Guthrie for her keen social awareness and unvarnished songs about ordinary people.
In 2016, Dunn released her sixth independent album, Gathering which was a nominee for the 2017 Juno Western Canadian Music Award and was winner of the 2016 Edmonton Music Prize) and offers songs of courage and struggle.
Lindi Ortega’s guitar-playing chops and innate country music instincts put her in an elite group of artists; she has earned an unusually inclusive type of success with both indie cred and mainstream country recognition.
From supporting Carrie Underwood at the 2016 CMA Awards to her opening slot on Chris Stapleton’s up-coming Canadian arena tour, Ortega is a sought-after and unique personality in Nashville’s music community and beyond.