I have known Linda Jones long before I ever knew she was a singer/entertainer.
She always has been an singer as long as I have known her and she even gave me a copy of her CD as you can see in the picture above,
I had a few questions for Linda and she was kind enough to answer them for me and was very kind in giving some lengthy and insightful answers of what she is all about.
Where did your interest in doing Remembrance Day shows for our Vets come about and how long have you been doing it?
I had been singing for a few years when one day in around 1981 my then musical partner, John Holt, and I found ourselves performing a Remembrance day show at Legion #8 in White Rock. After the show was over and I was packing up the gear a distinguished looking first World War Veteran (I never knew his name) struggled out of his chair, walked several yards across the floor, with cane in hand, to shake my hand and to let me know how much he enjoyed our show and how many wonderful memories the songs brought back to him. I was humbled to the core that this hero would thank me when I knew in my heart and soul it was I who should have been thanking him. Which I did immediately. I never forgot the impact that one man made on my life. I knew then and there that this was my calling musically.
My grandfather was a first world war veteran who earned the M.M. for his bravery in the field during the battle at Ypres.
His citation reads to the effect that this soldier (a medic) was not observed to have taken a break for some 83 hours straight while carrying wounded soldiers to the make shift medical station some miles behind the lines. As an aside a story that I heard from my father was that Grampa was on his mission, as many other times, and came across a severely wounded soldier who had had the misfortune of being hit by a large piece of shrapnel that removed a large piece of his head. He managed to carefully push the contents of his head in place and wrap a field dressing around the wound then carried him a few miles (not sure how many) to get urgent medical attention. That soldier lived after having a steel plate inserted in his head. He lived for many years and in fact outlived my grandfather. That man was his brother. I have drawn much strength from that knowledge when I have been faced with what seemed like insurmountable odds of moving myself forward. One such time was when I slipped on the beach and shattered my shoulder. When I was having to get off that beach that the struggle was that I had to get myself at least two blocks along the beach to the path by climbing over boulders and walking around huge logs to get to the pathway, holding my arm still, to then walk up a narrow curved path and then negotiate the next block and a half to the car . Turns out it was broken in at least 4 places requiring a metal rod with a dozen screws to put it back together. My recovery was successful. The hardware is still in there to remind me not to walk on the beach at dusk. I was not under attack and there were no German's firing on me and although I was carrying a heavy backpack at the time it was not 120 pounds as was the case for most soldiers. I just dug in and remembered my grandfather and if he was watching over me I wanted him to know I don't give up.
When did you start to sing , was it something you came by naturally or did you get some vocal training?
I can not remember a time when I did not sing. I was probably about 3 when I felt the magic of music and singing. I can always remember hearing the radio playing and I loved to learn the songs but before I leaned those songs of course there were our now familiar children's song. It was probably around age 5 that I started to sign the songs I heard on the radio and I seemed to have a natural knack for learning the lyrics. I sang in choirs through school but was not permitted to do so outside of that so I use to hide in my room and sing the song on the hit parade. I never had vocal training but I was tenacious and was not about to give up my newly found avenue of expression and what I later referred to as my therapy. lol.
For those not familiar with your music how would you best describe it?
I would say my music stands solidly in the genre of Eclectic. Variety they say is the spice of life and I love spice so set to task to learn as many kinds of music as was available to me. There was an endless list that included, Country, Rock 'N' Roll, Show Tunes, English, Irish, Scottish, Comedy, Latin American, some German and of course my favourite War Songs of both Wars. I turned my hand to writing songs as well and have had a great time trying to create something of meaning which I perform some of in my shows. Some writings include comedy and patriotic and of course my signature song "The Veteran's Song" which I wrote as a tribute after I returned from a Veteran's pilgrimage in 1996 with my father who was a Second World War Veteran fighting along side his comrades of the Saskatoon Light Infantry who were part of the British Eight Army along with the Seaforths. His campaign took him mainly through Italy and Sicily although he was also in the London Blitz. He was there at that time as he was one of the few men who could make barbed wire which he did throughout southern England. He was also present at Spitsbergen.
You had recorded an album "Steppin Out" in 1998 are you planning on making another one?
I have been fortunate enough to record four Cd's. Of course in the beginning they were cassettes lol. If I had the money I would record at least two more Cd's. One would be more of my own originals and one of comedy. I love performing comedy. My other recordings were mostly cover tunes of the big band era and WWI and WWII songs.
How do you balance your music between other personal time IE: family & work .
It was indeed a balancing act from time to time but it was much later in my career when I went on the road and was away sometimes for months at a time. My family depended on me for many years as a single mom so singing was the only logical choice for me . I did not go on the road until my girls were in their teens as I was so far in debt there was little else I could do but accept a show away in order to balance the budget. All families though make sacrifices for the greater good and I am no exception.. I chose to sing in order to be with my children during the day and still bring in an income. It was always my philosophy that I did not have children so someone else could raise them. I know there are a lot of single moms and dads out there that are not afforded that luxury and I know they don't have a choice. I had a choice in that I could sing and earn my living mostly in the evening so I would not be away from my children almost until they were in bed. They are grown now and one just left us so I have no other responsibilities except to keep myself going. I don't require much so am ok with my situation as I am still able to live my passion.
Do you have your own favorite type of music and is it any different than what you perform?
Well, I pretty much perform all the songs I love to sing. The only exception might be that I also love to sing Country. It is so expressive and so passionate. With all the musicians I have worked with we also played a lot for dancing. It has only been in the last 10 years that that has given way to shows exclusively but I still love to wrap my vocal chords around the dance music too. Variety as with my shows is the key for me. Everyone likes different things so in the beginning I figured the more variety I could do the more gigs I would get lol.
Anything odd or out of the ordinary ever happen at one of your show?
I guess there have been few memorable moments lol. I remember doing a show with a new musician (for me anyway) and we were going to be doing a show followed by a couple of dance sets. We were both nervous due to the fact she was actually a guitar player and I needed a keyboardist. I had a musician that had to take another gig on the road so needed a replacement so thought "what's the worst that can happen"? She can say no or we can rehearse like crazy and pull it off. (Remember I don't give up). Well, we did rehearse to numbness and the big night came and the show end of things went surprisingly well so I was so confident that everything else would go well too. I turned to her on the very first song of the dance set and said "Take it away Patti" and she turned to me absolutely horror stricken and said in a panicked voice " I CAN'T". |She apparently was not a lead musician but a rhythm player. We still laugh about that to this day some 25 years later. We have had a lot of fun over the years. One time we were up in Port Alice and again the show went great and the dance set was also going well but when Patti was playing the fourth time around of a Latin American medley I was getting bored so when she started to sing yellow bird again I happen to have a little feathery duck my costume maker gave me and I threw it up in the air and fired my starter pistol at it .. and said that's enough of the yellow bird. Well as you can imagine, the entire room jumped up at the same time and you could see acres of daylight under the dancers on the floor. We laughed about that for a long time after someone pointed out to me "what was I thinking firing a starter pistol in a room full of geriatrics"? She said "there could have been massive coronaries all over the room". Well, that sent us into spasms. I never thought about that !
What other plans for shows and performances do you have planned other than Legion #88 here in Maple Ridge on Sunday November 1, 2015?
I have three shows booked for November the 11th this year. The morning show is a private affair so not open to the public. Second show is at North Vancouver Legion on 15th St. a block west of Lonsdale from 1 to 3 and the last show is at Kyle Centre in Port Moody from 5 to 7. It is for the Legion but they are rebuilding right now so are using this facility in the meantime.
I use to always do three shows on that day as it is my most favorite day in the entire year, bar none, to perform. It means I can sing all the old favorites for my Veterans' and that makes me ecstatically happy. I have actually kept it to two shows for the past 7 years or so as it really is exhausting but this year I am going to give it my best shot again. Think about moving hundreds of pounds of equipment 8 times before the day is done and performing for hours on top of that. I earn my cold beer when I get home but I am feeling so satisfied and accomplished that it doesn't matter. I can rest tomorrow.
Is there any other things you might want to share with my readers?
I should think your readers have had quite enough of my ramblings for one day lol. I do go on sometimes. I guess I would just like people to know that I do perform a variety of shows and although I have been donned as Canada's Vera Lynn ( a title I am most humbled by and proud of) that I do perform other kinds of shows as well. Variety including Klondike and Fun Shows are always a treat for me as well. I am available for all kinds of different shows that cater to the mature crowd. By mature I just mean well behaved lol.
Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you make your dream come true as an artist?
There are definitely those who have been instrumental in keeping me going and teaching me as I went and supporting me through this 40 plus year career. First was John and Lee Holt. John was also a second word war Veteran who eared the MM for his bravery in carrying out several of his comrades from a burning munitions truck that had been bombed. He was badly burned but the surgeons did a remarkable job on restoring his good looks. They were the first ones to take my under their wing. Lee is gone now but John is still with us living in a seniors facility in Langley. He celebrated his 95th birthday in July. I owe him so much. Lorraine Smith is another amazing musician who still works with me from time to time when Patti is not available. Vonda Sinclair is another very talented musician that I had the good fortune of working with off and on for years as well .. she also fills in when needed. I spent about 2 or 3 years with an incredible man, musician, composer, arranger, singer and writer from Guatemala named Lous Galich who produced one of my Cd's many years ago. The other musicians that were instrumental in my growth as a performer were and still are the Canucks Show Band that make Whitehorse, in the Yukon, their home now. They have an amazingly talented son who is playing on the Blues circuit named Brandon Isaac. Although he is a guitar player of extraordinary accomplishment at the time he was the drummer in the show we performed for three summers together in Watson Lake Yukon. The base player Ed Isaac played for Loretta Lynn many years ago and the keyboardist, piano and accordion player in the show was Ray Park who use to play piano for, I think it was, Merv Griffin or Mike Douglas or one of those amazing original talk show hosts of yesteryear. He backed up such grates as Martha Raye and Jimmy Durante. So, I am very grateful for having this caliber of performers include me in their shows.
Do you have a website/Facebook page people can find you on?
Unfortunately I no longer have a website as the friend who was managing it left the planet and I have no clue how to do it so just had to let it go. It's too steep a learning curve for me I'm afraid.
I do have an e-mail that I can be contacted through for anyone looking for a variety show or to send me photos you may have of past performances as I don't have that many and would love some. Contact me if you like at Lindajonesentertainer@yahoo.ca I look forward to seeing familiar and maybe not so familiar smiling faces at the show on Sunday.
Thank you Anthony for your time and dedication to your craft. Thank you to all the wonderful people who still attend my concerts and support me in my quest to continue to sing for our Veteran's (and whomever else will listen lol).
I don't give up. lol.
Sincerely with love and gratitude. Linda Jones xo
Thank you for reading this