Tams plays to hometown crowd PDF Print
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Thursday, 25 November 2010 20:29

A typical southern Alberta winter day greeted Coaldale native Theo Tams as he arrived from Toronto Thursday for a quick 48-hour visit to his hometown.
“I was shocked when I walked off the plane.”
He said he made the most of his Thursday-morning jog in Toronto after his mother reminded him it would be too cold Friday to be jogging anywhere in southern Alberta. The adjustment to the dry, cold weather had to be a quick one for the singer, who played to a full house Friday evening at the Gem of the West Museum.
This is only the third or fourth time Tams has been able to make it home for a quick visit since he won the last season of Canadian Idol, recorded his first album and went on tour across the country.
“I always look forward to it,” he said of the opportunity to come home for a short visit.
He said it’s always a little crazy for him coming back to southern Alberta because there are so many family and friends to catch up with and such a short amount of time to do it in.
“I love coming home.”
Friday evening’s benefit concert for the museum was the first time he has performed in Coaldale since his mainstreet concert during the Idol competition.
“You almost feel more pressure because it’s home.”
On the other hand, he said performing in Coaldale is almost like performing for a large group of family and friends because so many of them were in the audience Friday night.
“It’s familiar faces.”
He said he was looking forward to sharing what he’s been up to since the last time he was home. He has been hard at work on his second album, slated to be out in 2011. He planned to perform a few of his new songs, for the first time before a live audience at Friday’s concert.
Going into his second album, Tams said the experience is different than his freshman album which was more about the Idol experience. Now he feels he is in a better place and more prepared to record his sophomore album. At 25 years old, he said he is able to deal with the pressure better and being under new management has helped him be better prepared to record a new album.
He said he is excited to put together the new album which he feels will be a better representation of him as an artist. He spent much of the summer on tour and then has been in writing mode every since. A death in his family resulted in a trip to Australia which actually ended up providing him with a silver lining. He was able to work with writers in Sydney and spent about a month in the country before heading back to Canada.
“Writing this record I feel like I’m hibernating.”
He admits he has been in hermit mode for awhile.
“I spend every waking minute at my piano.”
All of his focus this fall has been on making the new record.
“It’s shaping up to be more of a song writer’s album.”
Surrounded by those who he feels trust him as an artist has given him the freedom to be more honest and vulnerable in his writing. He believes the album will be focused on him and the piano.
The past year has brought a number of new experience to the young musician including a chance to travel to Afghanistan to entertain Canadian troops. He said just after he changed management teams he was asked to perform for the troops on Canada Day.
His first reaction was no way, he didn’t want to perform in a war zone but after sleeping on it, he realized “how do you say no”.
“It was one of the craziest experiences I’ve had.”
He said it was an honour to sing O Canada on July 1 for troops in Afghanistan.
“It’s weird playing for an audience that is armed.”
During his third song a rocket alarm went off and the entire audience hit the ground while he took cover under the piano. He joined the audience as they took cover in a nearby building until the all clear.
He admits he was a little shaken when he returned to the outdoor stage and it took a few minutes before he got back into the performance.
Even though he was little more nervous to get back on stage he said he has no regrets about going there to perform for the Canadian troops. He said everyone went out of their way to make him feel safe.
Growing up in southern Alberta he said he never knew anyone in the Canadian Armed Forces, in fact he doesn’t think he knew anyone who knew anyone in the service. For him the trip brought a new awareness of what Canadian troops are facing every day.
“It’s a job I could never, ever do.”
Meeting with troops, who were often younger than him, Tams said helped him put the faces to the job the Canadian military is doing and brought the whole situation home to him. He was amazed at their commitment and drive.
He said his summer on tour was also an amazing experience.
“I feel like I’ve found my niche.”
His performances were stripped down to him, a piano and a cello. He said this approached allowed the songs to be sung.
The focus in his career now is more in line with that stripped down approach, he was looking forward to Friday’s concert featuring just him and a piano.
The concert was made possible by the fact Tams was going to be in Coaldale to celebrate his dad’s 51st birthday over the weekend.
“This is a quick little jaunt.”



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