Troubador’s perspective on global events

With droughts and floods happening at the same time, in the same country, there’s nothing like relocating to Australia to focus your thoughts on climate change, said Irish transplant Andy White.

With droughts and floods happening at the same time, in the same country, there’s nothing like relocating to Australia to focus your thoughts on climate change, said Irish transplant Andy White.

The singer/songwriter, who performs Friday at an intimate house concert in Red Deer, wrote a quirky song inspired by Australia’s weather extremes.

If You Want It, from his latest Songwriter solo album, “really says, ‘Come and get it, it’s the last long evening on the planet,’” said White, who handles a deadly serious topic with characteristic wit.

The Belfast native moved to Australia 10 years ago when Ireland was a nation in flux. White recalls that his homeland was rapidly turning from a country that valued songwriters and other artists to one trying to suppress its creativity in order to become the financial centre of Europe.

“That’s certainly fallen apart,” he said, referring to Ireland’s economic downturn since the world financial crisis.

While White admitted he’s probably due for a major life change, which tends to hit him every decade, his country’s troubles aren’t calling him home permanently.

So far, he’s enjoying the “broadening” perspective of being a globe trotter.

The last few weeks have taken White from Australia, through Europe, and now to Western Canada, where he has more than a dozen concerts lined up in Alberta and British Columbia.

His frequent songwriting partner, Stephen Fearing of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, plans to join him for some B.C. gigs. White credits Fearing, an Irish-Canadian that he met at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, with exposing him to performing in smaller Canadian communities, such as Red Deer. The two first performed here as a duo in March 2011.

White described their songwriting partnership, which has produced an entire Fearing/White album as well as songs for their solo recordings and for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, as “very strong . . .

“You can’t really go looking for it. It’s a John-Paul connection, like a Beatles-y thing. You can’t manufacture it.”

One of the tunes the two wrote together is also on his latest solo album and has the longest title of any White song, so far — Turn Up the Temperature in the Machine of Love.

The singer admits its inspiration sprang from an unlikely place — a friend’s six-year-old daughter came up with the title, and challenged him write rock lyrics for it.

Fearing and White came up with a ballad about a guy who comes to Canada to have a child with a woman, but she leaves him. “When you co-write a song, you have to let the other person expand upon and change the storyline, so these songs aren’t specifically ones that can be closely tied to any personal experience.”

Songwriting isn’t the only kind of writing White does. He has also penned a memoir-like book called 21st Century Troubadour, available through, He admitted many of its “snapshots of life on the road” are drawn from his own life.

“It’s the non-glamourous side of touring, only I happen to find that pretty glamourous!”

For more information about his 8 p.m. Red Deer house concert, including ticket prices and location, please call 403-505-1972.

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