Kellie Loder: Impromptu Gig in Team GDW’s Hometown

Kellie Loder

Newfoundland singer-songwriter Kellie Loder is close to wrapping up her first Eastern US tour, having shared music from her “Benefit of the Doubt” album to audiences in some of the largest cities this side of the Mississippi.  With stops in Cleveland, Chicago, and New York City, Kellie opted to hit the metro areas rather than maintain a low profile.  Indeed, she jumped straight into the deep end with her inaugural stop on this tour, performing at the prestigious Philadelphia Folk Festival, one of the longest continuously run and revered festivals on the East Coast.  If you are going to seek out new audiences in the US, go large, or go home, right?

With a brief respite between gigs this past Wednesday, Kellie was convinced by the team at Shippensburg, PA music venue, The Thought Lot, to grace their intimate stage and share her music here in the PA midstate.  Okay, I shall confess that Team GDW may have been a little influential in planting some seeds that brought the hosts and artists together, but never did we expect to learn shortly afterwards that Kellie would be visiting and playing here in our home town.  How often do you find a JUNO nominated artist here in Shippensburg?  Never!  Actually, that is not true – Canadian rocker Bryan Adams performed at our university campus many years ago, and he’s got a few of those trophies in his display cabinet.  But Kellie would certainly be the first JUNO nominee to perform at The Thought Lot, whose intimate stage is tailored perfectly for bringing artists and audiences together. Having enjoyed many great shows at this venue, we knew that Kellie would be an absolute perfect fit, making for a highly anticipated Wednesday night.

Joining Kellie on stage were her touring band, comprised of fellow Newfoundlanders Tiber Reardon (bass) and Chris Donnelly (percussion).  “This is our first time ever touring in the US,” Kellie shared. “It’s my drummer’s first time in the US, ever. Period.  I think he’s the most excited out of us all.  He gets lost sometimes, and wanders around, and I think the most common saying for us on this whole tour is, ‘Where’s Chris?’.”  Adding both lead guitar and keyboards to the ensemble was the versatile Toronto musician Derek Downham (The Beauties), who was very strongly endorsed by Amanda Rheaume during an interview with us about her “The Skin I’m In” album earlier this year.

Opening the evening with a performance of “Unlikely Seas,” the first of several tracks from her 2018 “Benefit of the Doubt” album, Kellie was eager to share a tale with the room.  “I wrote this [song] when I had just got out of nursing school,” she explained.  “I had just left the program to pursue music.  And growing up, I was always told that I could be five things and be successful; a teacher, a doctor, a nurse, a lawyer, or an engineer; and so I chose to get away and pursue something unlikely.”  Other popular album tracks shared on this evening included “Molded Like A Monster,” “Fearless,” and “Playground,” prior to which Kellie announced that this was the first love song she had written.  “During sound-check, I had a moment, where Michael (event host) and his wife started dancing to it, and it broke my heart in the best ways,” she shared.  This works both ways Kellie; I don’t know how anybody could not be moved by your on-point, poignant lyrics, and amazing musical gifts.

Not only enjoying the support of her band during the show, Kellie invited the fifth member of the team, her friend and tour manager/musician Erin Roblin (Cubs Refrain), to join the band on stage and provide some stunning harmonies for “When We Kiss,” a new and currently unreleased track.  And naturally, the band would take a brief hiatus mid-show, allowing Kellie some time to perform a handful of intimate solo-acoustic pieces under the stage lights.  The audience would enjoy “The Boots Song,” a track requested earlier that day, before being privy to some incredibly personal new and unreleased material (and amusing anecdotes about her grandfather, Freeman “Free” Loder).  She would also invite Derek to accompany her during “Hate Loves Hate,” a composition that they co-wrote after meeting at a songwriter circle in Toronto, and completed quickly enough to be added to the album prior to the final mastering deadline.

With Tiber and Chris back on stage once more, the quartet increased the tempo down the stretch, adding explosive interpretations of both “Want It Back” and “Beneath The Sea.”  Indeed, during the latter, Kellie would temporarily remove her guitar and join Chris at his drums, picking up a pair of sticks and banging the tom in unison to his beats on the snare.  Feeding off the appreciation from the room, Chris and Kellie would somehow trade places, yet keeping the percussion going with precision, not once missing a beat.  “That one’s my mom’s favorite,” she would share while strapping her guitar back on at the close of the song. “She just loves all the drums.  I don’t invite her to my solo shows.”

Performing fourteen tracks over a ninety minute period, Kellie and her band earned a well-deserved ovation from the audience.  When factoring that this event was a last minute addition to Kellie’s tour, kudos to both the hosts and sound crew (Ace Music) at The Thought Lot for not only making it happen, but for allowing us fans in attendance an incredible night of entertainment.  As a rapidly rising artist on the Canadian folk music circuit, Kellie Loder will undoubtedly make plans to return to the US again in the near-future, with some exciting new material to share once more.

Set List:

  1. Unlikely Seas
  2. Can’t Go Back (New Track)
  3. Playground
  4. When We Kiss (New Track – feat: Erin Robley)
  5. Fearless
  6. The Boots Song (solo acoustic)
  7. Where Do We Go? (solo acoustic)
  8. What She Don’t Know (sic) (solo acoustic)
  9. Please Make Up Your Mind (solo acoustic)
  10. Hate Loves Hate (solo acoustic – with Derek Downham)
  11. Want It Back
  12. Beneath The Sea
  13. Molded Like a Monster
  14. Boxes

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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