STEPHEN HARDY PALMER
Aldora Britain Records Ezine 13.
Interview with STEPHEN HARDY PALMER! This veteran singer-songwriter comes by to talk to us about opening for The Who and his latest album dedicated to his late partner!
We catch up with the supremely talented Canadian singer-songwriter, Stephen Hardy Palmer, to discuss his latest studio offering, The Journey in Story and Song. The album was recorded and performed in homage to Palmer’s late partner and sweetheart, Lorraine.
Palmer began his performing career in the 60s where he performed in local bands that supported the likes of The Who, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, and The Guess Who; not a bad resume! He has enjoyed a modestly successful career since but his talent is undeniable; listen to the opening track from his latest album, ‘My Sweet Lorraine’, and you will be assured of that.
So, it’s a warm welcome to this old-time rocker and roller, and country cowboy. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Stephen Hardy Palmer, enjoy!
Aldora Britain Records: “Hi Stephen, how are you? It’s great to be talking to you, I simply love your blend of folk, roots and country. Could you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your musical journey to date?”
Stephen: “Thanks for your interest Tom and thanks for the kind words. I’m 71 now, I started playing gigs in 1966 on a 1954 Fender Stratocaster through a Fender Super Reverb amp. I started out playing country dances and some high school dances around my hometown of Edmonton, Alberta with some high school friends. Mostly R&B and some Top 40 pop but I began writing songs at this time too. We worked hard and got a little better, so the local promoter let us open for The Who. We did very well so he then added us to all the big shows – Cream with Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, The Guess Who – any big names that came through Alberta.”
“The Who were super friendly but, being into folk rock, my all-time favourite artist was Jesse Colin Young. His biggest hit was ‘Get Together’ which a lot of people still remember. Very nice guy too.”
Aldora Britain Records: “You brought out your latest album, The Journey in Story and Song, early last year. It’s dedicated to someone special in your life; it’s a very brave thing to do to put those feelings into song. Could you tell us about this dedication if you don’t mind?”
Stephen: “My newest album – The Journey in Story and Song – is dedicated to my deceased partner, Lorraine Hill. We met in 2004 in an Olde Town café in Nanaimo (on Vancouver Island, British Columbia). And, just like the song, ‘My Sweet Lorraine’, we hit it off right away. Lorraine was legally blind from a lifetime of Diabetes Type One. The doctors felt she didn’t have very long to live but we had ten wonderful years together. At that time, I just had my first album out, From Here to Nashville, and I was just playing pubs and legion dances. She convinced me to ‘sing where people are listening’ and I then began touring and playing more interesting gigs. I released my most successful album, Roots and Strings, at this time. A very folky, rootsy album that got some national notice. Penguin Eggs magazine called it ‘a jewel of an album’ which was nice.”
“In 2007 we moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; a beautiful, friendly prairie city. This was our home until Lorraine passed in 2015.”
Aldora Britain Records: “How did the album come about?”
Stephen: “The Journey in Story and Song was recorded in Winnipeg, Manitoba in the summer of 2018. I was still dealing with losing Lorraine, but it felt healthy to be back to work. Many of the songs on it were written during the sessions too, resulting in my first album of all original songs. No cover songs at all.”
“‘Diamond Girl’, I wrote in 2015 at the time I lost her. It probably took ten minutes to write. It’s a fantasy song but also very true.”
Aldora Britain Records: “The feel of the album is captured in the opening song, ‘My Sweet Lorraine’. It’s an almost ‘smile because it happened’ attitude. How did this lovely song come about?”
Stephen: “Like ‘Diamond Girl’, this song was very quick and easy to write. I wrote it in 2018 before Journey album sessions began. This song records our first meeting, a very happy memory for me.”
Aldora Britain Records: “I’d like to cast your mind back a little now, your debut album opened with a Johnny Cash number. I love that man! What does Johnny Cash mean to you?”
Stephen: “Johnny Cash was a big star in Alberta, Canada in the 1950s and 1960s and on from there. When I did my newspaper deliveries after school, he was playing on all the shop radios I would walk past. And any cars driving by. He’s in my DNA, I guess.”
Aldora Britain Records: “What’s up next for you?”
Stephen: “I’m learning to use video now things are changing for albums. I’ll create, with friends, videos for my new songs and possibly assemble them into albums if the public will enjoy them.”
“I’ve also learnt enough computer code to create download pages for my older five albums and I’m learning some French here in my new home of Quebec, Canada.”
“I still tour across Canada from coast to coast but I’m working on touring the UK and Scandinavia soon. Perhaps fall of 2020. A good chance to meet new people and see more of this world.”