Solo in a crowd 

Wil Mimnaugh headlines free outdoor concert series with live music also from Hey Ocean!, Cadence Weapon, Redeye Empire and Maestro Fresh Wes

What: Celebrate Live in Whistler

When: Feb. 12 -17

Where: Village Square

Admission: Free

EMI recording artist Wil Mimnaugh has come a long way from his days of playing at the Crab Shack in Whistler. The Calgary-native is no stranger to the open road, criss crossing Canada too many times to count shopping out and perfecting his music.

He doesn’t even stop long enough to record his new music in one town. His newest album , By December, released on EMI last year, was recorded in what felt like 27 places with 356 people throughout Canada and the U.S.

“When Trina Shoemaker says ‘I’ll produce for you, come to Nashville,’ you just do it,” Mimnaugh said of the Grammy-Award-winning producer, from his island hideaway on Vancouver Island. “When a label gives you the green light (on recording), you also have to make a living playing shows.”

Making a living doing what he loves will land Mimnaugh in Whistler for the Celebrate Live in Whistler free outdoor concert series hosted Feb. 12 to 17 from 3 to 6 p.m. in Village Square. The free outdoor showcase reflecting Canada’s diverse culture kicks off the series on Feb. 12 with Mimnaugh and Swarm as part of Celebration 2010, an official festival of the 2008 Cultural Olympiad.

Mimnaugh will bring his expansive roots-rock sound and world-weary lyrics to the celebration with music the Calgary Sun described as having so much “power and soul it could stop your heart.”

His first album, Both Hands , resulted in three nominations for the Western Canadian Music Awards, including Entertainer of the Year.

The same applause is expected for his new album, By December.

“It’s just an honest record,” he said. “I enjoy performing and writing. I like to call it honest, mind you I don’t know what a dishonest record is.”

Honest in lyrics with hits such as Wedding Dress and Tell You Twice. For the first time in his career, he collaborated with other writers – and he is glad he traveled outside of his usual independent streak.

He worked with some of Canada’s most respected musicians: from producer and multi-instrumentalist Dave MacKinnon of FemBots fame to songwriters such as Ron Sexsmith (song doctor for 54-40’s Neil Osborne and Broken Social Scene’s Jason Collett). His music guest list for the album also boasts a host of other musicians known for working with Arcade Fire, Hidden Cameras, Feist and Blue Rodeo, just to name a few.

Mimnaugh’s soulful voice and riveting guitar that just doesn’t stop – his web site says it all – led the music charge with great success; critiques touting his work.

“Wil has made a major league record that speaks for itself with a clearly defined voice of artistic integrity,” praised Vynal Final of The Edge.

As many fans as air miles, the jet setter free from the confines of a band was free to tour and record whenever the call came. Already the calls are beginning once again as Mimnaugh never stops writing with the next album already well on its way. The not-yet-titled album will be released later this year.

Until then, he is harbouring himself away in a small home just north of Qualicum lost in the trees where he can write music all day and night to whatever a.m. hours without having to worry about upsetting the neighbours. The hard-working music man ventures out to pay the bills as well as continue on his never-ending passion to discover what his music has next in store for him.

Celebrate Live in Whistler is his next adventure. The concert series will also showcase Bombolesse and Hey Ocean! On Feb. 13; FreeFlow and You Say Party! We Say Die! on Feb. 15; Paramedic and Cadence Weapon on Feb. 15; Redeye Empire and Maestro Fresh Wes on Feb. 16; and Bitterly Divine will close the concert series out along with four local short film screenings from the Whistler Film Festival’s 2007 Whistler Stories films.

Admission is free.

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