Road warriors and those who love them
Tales of struggle and success on the long, hard road
by Ed Kapp
The travelling musician’s life can be rocky — especially when on the road.
They have to cover long distances, fighting the elements — and traffic — to get to gigs on time, and they have to get creative when it comes to finding appropriate places to rest their eyes.
And it’s tough to know what to expect when performing at new venues in front of new audiences.
Ben Kunder, who caps off his western Canada tour Oct. 4 at the Artful Dodger, is dealing with another pressure while on the road.
Since the release of his debut solo album in May, Golden, his wife gave birth to a baby boy.
“It certainly is difficult, but luckily Skype exists,” the 30-year-old singer-songwriter says en route to Kamloops, B.C. from Duncan, B.C., where he performed the night prior.
“I just have to tell myself that it’s something I have to do. It’s sort of my calling, but I have to do it. It’s work; I don’t treat it as a vacation or anything like that, though I do love travelling and exploring new places and driving through this country. But I just know I’m bettering myself as a person by doing it.
“I see his face on Skype every day and we talk,” he adds, referring to his three-and-a-half-month-old son, Kai, “and he has the support he needs from his mom and the rest of his family right now.”
Despite the distance between Kunder and his young family and transportation-related issues, he loves his time on the road — just as much as his time in the studio, though he hasn’t had an opportunity to do any recording since releasing Golden.
Performing in person, Kunder says, gives him the opportunity to best share his story
“The way I perform,” he says, “is definitely a part of how I tell my story.”
So what is his story?
“Well, I grew up in Toronto,” says Kunder, who was introduced to music about twenty-five years ago by thumbing through his father’s wide-ranging, decades-spanning vinyl collection before discovering his old man’s guitar and music books a little later down the road.
“I was a city kid, but always spent a lot of time outdoors. I’ve lived across the country and I’ve spent a lot of time having adventures and taking risks. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, learned from them, and have been able to connect with my environment in this country and the people who live in it.
“I’m trying to tell my story and connect with people through my music.”
The last time Kunder was in Regina was six years ago, when he was passing through the city while on a cross-Canada tour — “a long time ago,” he says, laughing.
Despite Kunder’s prolonged absence from the Queen City, he plans on having a lot of fun on stage and ending his tour on a high note.
“It’s the last show of my tour, so I’m going to have a blast — I’m going to have a great time,” Kunder says, adding, “It’s going to be a great send-off and I’m going to have a great time. I’m hoping there’s going to be some great energy because I’m coming into it with really great energy.”