Michelle Wright is returning to the Great White North to get her fill of a white Christmas.
The Canadian country singer, who lives down south in Nashville, admitted she doesn’t miss certain things about Canadian winters, such as scraping frost off her car windshield.
But she does miss the seasonal associations of snow — “It can be a beautiful thing that’s kind of Christmas-y,” so she’s hoping to get her snow fix while travelling across Canada on her latest concert tour.
For the seventh year in a row, the singer is embarking on her Wright Christmas tour, which alternates between Eastern and Western Canada. This year, she performs in 22 communities between Winnipeg and Nanaimo, B.C., with a stop at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre on Wednesday, Dec. 16.
Wright wants to help get fans in the mood for a family-style Christmas, with some of her favourite carols, including a “fun” version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, a reggae-flavoured Little Drummer Boy, and sentimental renditions of White Christmas and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
As well, the Ontario native plans to mix in some of her own hits, such as A New Kind of Love, Nobody’s Girl and He Would Be 16.
“I do about 65 per cent Christmas songs and 35 per cent my songs — a nice balance,” said Wright, who also uses “high-tech” touches, like computer-generated moving lights to create a winter wonderland setting on stage.
“You might even see a Canadian flag flash up on the screen and Santa Claus has been known to stop by. It’s a real visual show,” she said with a laugh.
Wright’s last trip to Canada wasn’t as lighthearted. The 48-year-old performed in Charlottetown, P.E.I., at a Nov. 7 benefit concert in honour of Capt. Nichola Goddard, the first female Canadian soldier killed in combat since the Second World War.
Wright was entertaining troops at the base camp in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Sept. 17, 2006, the day that Goddard was killed and she attended a ramp ceremony for the fallen soldier two days later.
Wright surprised the audience at the P.E.I. benefit by reading a poem written in Goddard’s honour.
It was the first poem she had ever written — and Wright was touched that it resonated with Goddard’s parents, Tom and Sally Goddard.
She said she was inspired to write it after reflecting on her experience of being in Afghanistan — that Goddard was female never factored into her feelings. “The words just poured out.”
While Wright hasn’t been back to Afghanistan since 2006, she said she’d love to return whenever she’s asked.
In the meantime, she’s been busy recording a live acoustic CD and re-releasing her first album, Do Wright By Me, with several new bonus tracks. Wright is also a featured singer on a new DVD being issued of an all-star concert that included Emmylou Harris and Kathy Mattea and was performed on a Scottish estate some years ago.
Called The Trans-Atlantic Sessions, the DVD was released in Europe to popular acclaim and is soon to be available in North America.
As for her next album, Wright isn’t sure there’s going to be one.
She has certainly written at least 12 new songs since issuing her last CD in 2006, but Wright isn’t sure that putting them on an album is the way to go, considering the decline in conventional music sales, and even music stores.
Releasing songs for download on iTunes, then spreading the word to fans by Facebook might be the better way to go, mused the singer, who’s no longer with a record label. “I didn’t feel the need to be on one. . . .
“It’s kind of cool and interesting that we can do things this way now. I feel more involved.”
Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert are $40.80 from Black Knight Ticket Centre.