Jay Gilday: Electrifying, soulful, resonant

Canadian artist straddles genres at Myrna concert in Helena

On Stage

Canadian singer/songwriter Jay Gilday makes his Montana debut 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, at The Myrna Loy in Helena.

This is a voice you don’t want to miss: Electrifying. Soulful. Resonant.

Gilday, a self-described “vagabond turned mailman,” has searched for himself in the depths of folk, blues, traditional, rock and most recently piano pop and soul music.

While some may have heard his award-winning rock music, he will play a solo act at The Myrna that taps into his large library of folk music – most of it original.

“And there’s a number of piano pieces I’ve been working on that are a mixture of jazz and pop,” he said in an interview from his home in Edmonton, Alberta.

“My lyrics tell my own story of who I am and the lens that gives me on the world.”

Gilday describes himself as half Dene and half Canadian-Irish – a mix that shapes his worldview. “I have lived a life that has straddled a really northern sense of living and a sense of living in the city.”

Gilday grew up in Yellowknife, a spectacular part of the Northwest Territories.

“There are so many people stuck in the city and don’t have that connection to the land anymore,” he says, “so I find they typically appreciate stories that connect the land and the city back together.”

At The Myrna Loy, Gilday will be playing some of his folk-pop-rock music from his new album, The Choice and the Chase, accompanying himself on guitar and piano.

The artist’s second full-length record, Faster than Light (2016), earned the Indigenous Artist of the Year award from the Western Canadian Music Awards (2017), plus Singer-Songwriter of the Year, and Artists to Watch from the Edmonton Music Awards (2017).

“I’ve chosen to do music, but what that means to me has changed over the years,” he told the Edmonton Journal. “I have been chasing what a rock ‘n’ roller should be chasing, bigger stages, bigger lights, and I’ve been cast in the rock ‘n’ roller role and created expectations there.”

Although rock offers more opportunities, “I’ve come to choose a better version of myself.”

The Choice and the Chase takes “a subtler, sparer, acoustic path to self-expression,” writes one reviewer. “Gilday’s innate sense of songcraft shines through more beautifully than ever. And then there’s that voice, so full, urgent and arresting, so vulnerable and strong at the same time, so bound up in truth…”

Tickets are $22 and available at 15 N. Ewing St. or online.

For more information, call 443-0287. Face masks are required.