Canada’s “flippin’ fiddler” Scott Woods is returning to Red Deer — with a sibling in tow.
Woods’ sister Kendra Norris is joining his band on a Western tour that stops Thursday, May 26, at Red Deer’s Sunnybrook United Church.
Norris is “a real card,” according to Woods, who considers himself the straight man of the two. “She’ll play the fiddle along with me and also play the piano, but she’s like Minnie Pearl,” said Woods — always cracking jokes and scene-stealing.
“People usually look to her. If they can’t tell whether I’m being serious or if I’m being funny” they check out Kendra’s outrageous reactions, he added.
Norris, nine years older and a retired music teacher, is one of Woods’ biggest supporters.
When he was just eight years old and waiting to perform for the first time at the Ontario Fiddling Open in Bobcageon, he recalled Kendra saying “Don’t worry, you’re going to be great!”
She was much more encouraging than his no-nonsense eldest sister Elizabeth, also a fiddler. Elizabeth told Woods, “You’d better not screw up! We have a reputation, you know…”
Fortunately, he didn’t embarrass the family on stage. “I was the youngest fiddler there, so I got a big trophy and twenty bucks that I used to buy ice cream…”
Woods, now in his mid-40s, has since crisscrossed Canada 35 to 40 times with his band. He said he always tries to bring something different to audiences to keep the show fresh.
“We always have different music, different jokes, different backdrop and costumes…”
This year he’s celebrating old-time fiddling with songs such as Grandpa’s Way of Life. The tune, popularized by the Spinney Brothers, is about “wishing we could throw our cell phones out the window and go back to… our grandparents’ time, when people sat down to Sunday dinner together, and actually talked to each other instead of texting their friends.”
Woods will also play traditional tunes, such as Take Me Back to Tulsa and San Antonio Rose, western swing songs by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys.
“You can see it in people’s faces, when we start to play a tune they haven’t heard in years…. There’s a nostalgic thing (that happens) They start to so back in time. It’s a really neat feeling,” he said.
A trio of original instrumentals are on the program as well — including a tune written for his two dogs — Melody, who stays home in Fergus, Ont. with his wife, and Harmony, who comes along in the tour bus.
Woods’ band consists of multiple-award-winning guitarist Steve Piticco, who’s played with Merle Haggard and Farmer Brown, upright bass player and singer Gary Boles, “farm-boy” drummer Wes Dymond, and 18-year-old guitarist and champion step-dancer Patrick Linton.
“The ladies go crazy when (Linton) starts dancing — his feet go 100 miles per hour!” said Woods, with a chuckle.
Of course, the audience can always expect fiddling acrobatics. Woods added, “I’m still able to walk on a barrel and do a front running somersault…”
Tickets to his 7 p.m. show (which supports Sunnybrook United Church programs) are $25 ($10 for kids age 6 to 12) from the church office.