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Canadian music legend Valdy still rocking at 78

Performer returns to Errington War Memorial Hall April 27
Paul-Valdemar Horsdal, better known as Valdy, will be in concert at the Errington War Memorial Hall on April 27. Photo shows Valdy performing in Oshawa, Ont. in March 2024. (Ian MacCready photo)

Canadian music legend Valdy will play songs new and old at Errington War Memorial Hall on April 27.

Valdy, born Paul-Valdemar Horsdal, has toured Canada for 50 years and released 16 albums.

The two-time Juno winner is looking forward to coming back to Errington.

This year he is getting back into touring full-time after a few slow pandemic years.

“It’s been great. We’re revving it up again after four years of almost nothing,” said Valdy, who is happy to be back in B.C. He’s already flown across the continent several times, including shows in Florida, California, Arizona, Ontario and Alberta.

“It’s been tiring but it’s always rewarding because I get to play music and that’s the reason for doing it all,” said Valdy, 78. “That’s certainly where the health comes from, mental health and physical health and that’s my whole raison d’être for being here.”

He said he doesn’t get tired of playing his hits like ‘Rock and Roll Song’ and because the audience loves them and can sing along.

“Some of my newer songs always thrill me. They may not thrill the audience as much,” he joked.

To write a good song, you need to have something relevant to say, plus some “curiously assembled” melodies and chords, he added, “so there’s some turns that people aren’t expecting. Those are little hooks for attention.”

Valdy was born and raised in Ottawa. Henry Mancini was his first big musical influence, followed by the likes of The Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem, Chubby Checker, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley.

Gordon Lightfoot was another major influence and at one point in 1964 Valdy aspired to play guitar in Lightfoot’s band. He recalled practicing for a week at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Toronto and planned to audition.

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“And then he did a show with Red Shea and I just thought, okay he’s got him,” Valdy said with a laugh. “I was a molehill and Red Shea was a mountain. But they’re dreams you have when you’re a kid. That’s what keeps you going.”

He was a member of the London Town Criers during the 1960s and also played in the Montreal band The Prodigal Sons, before moving to Victoria.

He tried his hand at farming in the early seventies, after he bought five acres between Sooke and Jordan River.

Valdy enjoyed the lifestyle, which included living without power after he felled a tree that crushed a powerline.

“The house wasn’t anywhere close to code, so they wouldn’t hook it up to power again. So, we lived for a for years without power.”

He recorded ‘Rock and Roll Song’ in 1972 as a solo artist, which became a hit and ‘A Good Song’ was featured in The Getaway starring Steve McQueen. The next year he won a Juno Award for Outstanding Folk Performance.

Valdy’s song lyrics can be inspired by just about anything.

“Sometimes the songs take months and sometimes they come out within 20 minutes. It’s most unpredictable. It’s really hard to build a career on it,” he said with a laugh.

Valdy has performed in venues across the world, won two Junos, been nominated seven times, released four gold records, sold nearly half a million units internationally and even played Halibut Stu on The Beachcombers.

He’s played at Errington Hall number of times and is looking forward to coming back.

“For the show we’re doing in Errington, I have a song which we’re recording in May and June,” Valdy said.

“It’s called ‘Shadowland’ and it’s a song about Alzheimer’s and I’m going to playing that. Just so people will know there’s something different coming.”

He added that his concerts include some new material, but also lots of retrospective.

While he was in Oshawa, Ont. this spring, he noticed there were a lot of tribute bands paying homage to groups like Rush and Sting, which gave him an idea.

“I’m going to jump into the breach before someone else does,” he said. “I’m doing a Valdy tribute.”

The concert at Errington Hall (1390 Errington Rd.) starts at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Shades of Green, the Errington Store and online at

Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
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