C.R. Avery began playing music professionally at the age of 17 when he toured from the nation’s capital to the far interior of Vancouver Island. The train was just beginning to gather steam.
Fifteen albums and seven operas later smoke stack lightning is the eternal horizon. In the past four years, Avery has played almost every major Canadian folk festival.
This year he headlined his own tour across France and opened on two major tours for Billy Bragg and Buck 65. He has performed extensively throughout North America and Europe as a beat-box poet, punk piano player and outlaw harmonica player of hip-hop with his rock ‘n’ roll band the Boomchasers or fronting the indescribable Legal Tender String Quartet.
C.R. has also paid his rent as a sideman for such acts as Po’ Girl, Tons of Fun University, Sage Francis, and Tom Waits. He received accolades as a songwriter in 2007 when Los Angeles based songstress Jolie Holland, formerly of the Be Good Tanyas, covered his song Crazy Dreams for her album Springtime Can Kill You released by Anti-Records.
Songwriters and poets have been stealing his best lines for years, which has never bothered Avery. His well is deep and unearthly.
C.R.’s recording sessions are squeezed in between non-stop touring and other artistic outlets. He is never afraid to experiment. Early 2010 will see the premier of Eric Mandelbaum’s film Uncertain Terms, filmed on location in New York City, in which Avery co-stars.
What it all comes down to is his live act. Each one is all or nothing. CBC radio described it best by saying, “when he hits the stage, look out.”
No live show could go without Avery’s recontextualization of the Delta Blues. His signature beat-box harmonica had Tom Waits growling, “he’s blowin’ my mind.”
C.R. believes in the highway like Christians believe in God, or junkies believe in their next fix. Smoke stack lightning, black against the glowing moon, the eternal horizon
C.R. takes the stage at The Royal on Saturday night in a show that combines music, poetry, burlesque, comedy and more. Tickets are $10 in advance and will be available at the Royal, Urban Legends, The Music Store and liveattheroyal.com. Tickets will be $15 at the door. Doors open 8 p.m.