Crooner classics past and present in spotlight, courtesy of Ken Lavigne

Crooner classics past and present in spotlight, courtesy of Ken Lavigne

Chemainus tenor prepares for upcoming concert tour of Let Me Be Frank!

When it comes to crooners, a number of tenor-voiced singers have made their presence known over the years.

From Michael Buble today, back to Harry Connick Jr. in the 80s and 90s, and back to Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

But the man who set the bar for all of them in that department, post baby boom, was ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.

That’s a big reason why tenor Ken Lavigne is heading out on an Island tour this month — including a hometown show in Chemainus — with a new concert he calls Let Me Be Frank! Crooner Classics from Sinatra to Buble.

“I think it’s a chance to get in touch with that big, brassy Vegasy sound,” Lavigne said, on his way to record tracks for a studio version of the set that he hopes will be available by the first concert, April 26 at Colwood’s Church of the Advent.

“When you think of the crooner style, you think of Sinatra, just like when you think of operatic tenors you think of Pavarotti,” he said. “(Sinatra is) a high water mark for other people who came along later.”

Lavigne called on his “nerdy history buff” side for a moment and pointed out that in his early days, Sinatra was chasing the Bing Crosby sound, with his breezy, baritonal crooner style. “Sinatra started his career as a tenor, but over the years he started to get down into that baritone range,” he said, adding that years of smoking and drinking affected Sinatra’s voice.

Besides the crooner sound, Lavigne said, “there’s a sense of swagger as well. But Sinatra had his intimate and sensitive side as well. Either way, I’m looking forward to some of the vocal challenges that come along with it.”

Modern-day singers at the top of the ladder have a lot of pressure on them to perform at their peak every night, he noted, but there’s a certain appeal to the simple, pure sound created on record by vocalists like Sinatra.

“I am always astounded when I’m listening to these old recordings at how clean they are and how the artists were able to enunciate,” he said. Often striving to nail their part in one take, he added, “they knew they had to sing to a certain standard.”

Lavigne enjoys revisiting the classics for their interesting chord changes and memorable melodies, but also the sentimentality of theme that modern singers often don’t want to touch. “That’s why this music is still alive, it speaks something genuine.”

The Colwood concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Other shows in the series include Port Alberni (April 27, 7:30 p.m.), Campbell River (April 28, 2 p.m.), Sidney (May 4, 7:30 p.m.), Parksville (May 10, 7:30 p.m.) and Chemainus (May 11, 2 and 7:30 p.m.).

Tickets are available through the individual venues or you can find them online through kenlavigne.com, or by phone at 1-888-999-1110.

Live music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations with RV hook-ups

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

Ladysmith Save-On-Foods. (Cole Schisler photo)
$5.4 million in renovations coming for Ladysmith Save-On-Foods

Save-On-Foods would not say when the renovations will begin

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused, Horgan says

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read