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The Butchart Chronicles : August 26, 2015

Shari Ulrich Band, Thursday, August 27, 2015

Shari Ulrich Trio plays at The Butchart Gardens

We are excited to have the Shari Ulrich Band play at The Gardens, 7:30 pm, Thursday night, August 27, 2015! Read what the legendary west coast singer and songwriter has to say about her own unique life story and enjoy the performance tonight!

I was born in San Rafael, California, the accidental third child of Esther and Stanley. My mother always said I came so quickly that the party atmosphere in the delivery room must have been the reason I was born a happy kid, and I still am. Music came from both of them - my mother raised in a social culture where piano lessons were a given, and my father - well, he simply had it in his blood. I was a child of the 60's in the San Francisco Bay Area, which leaves a lot implied about the influences of my early years, and filled me with The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and a long list of the folks who still inspire generations. And yes, I still have a hippy heart hiding in there.

I bolted to Canada when I was 18 when "Kent State" rocked the world of those protesting the war in Vietnam. After stints of backpacking and bicycling around Canada and the US, in search of my place and path in the world, which included performing with my sibs in the San Francisco Free Theatre, and finally surrendered that music was undeniably IT for me.

I've been incredibly fortunate on this road. I've released lots of albums (21) and been in lots of trios (3) with remarkably talented, handsome and wonderful men - Rick Scott & Joe Mock of The Pied Pumkin, Bill Henderson & Roy Forbes in UHF, Barney Bentall & Tom Taylor in BTU, and of course a gaggle of them in The Hometown Band and now The High Bar Gang. Lucky, lucky girl. But my solo life, which began in 1977, the night before we won a Juno for Best New Group, has been my main course. And that's all about songwriting.

I write about what I know and what I've lived. Some of it is stuff people don't like to talk about, but seem to be hungry to hear. I didn't intend to be that kind of writer - it just comes out that way. The rest is about being a musician, and trying to get better at it. I pretty much left the sax and flute behind with The Pied Pumkin, but the violin, which I started in grade 4, remains my main instrument, and everything else I've just picked up along the way - piano, guitar, dulcimer & mandolin - all of which I use for writing too.

Shari Ulrich and Julia Graff
Inarguably, my shining prize is daughter Julia, who at 23, has grown into a superb human being and musician. The musician part was her call, though again, with the genes from both sides (her father is singer-songwriter and visual artist David Graff) and being on the road with me from when she was 6 weeks old certainly left its imprint. But the hard work of becoming so accomplished on violin, piano, guitar, accordion and mandolin, is all hers.

In short, it's been a remarkable way to go through life and I have never, ever, for one day, lost my sense of gratitude for all that music brings, is, and continues to be. I love the people I play with and for. I love doing something that brings joy, escape, and sometimes tears, to the hearts of people who are so hungry. It's taught me everything I know about humans and getting along with them. And it's damn fun. See you out there.

- Shari Ulrich