Low Profile, Huge Talent

Recently…he graced a stage in the area, not his first appearance, and hopefully not his last--showcasing his Talent of singing and playing.  He is a Canadian Singer/Songwriter, has worked with some Canadian legends, but his career is somewhat subdued. 

Who is he?  None other than Mr. Henry Small.

I had the pleasure of having Henry as a guest on one of my music television shows in the early nineties.  He is an accomplished Songwriter, sought after Vocalist and a darn good Violinist!  You may know him through his work with latter day Prism, that West Coast juggernaut of a group. 

However, he didn’t just happen to start there; Henry began singing and playing at an early age.  Originally from the state of New York, Henry Small was an actual child prodigy with the amazing stringed instrument, the Violin. Not an instrument known to be used much in the Rock universe, however, in around high school, Henry discovered that he had a more than adequate set of pipes.  He began singing and good things started to happen.  How he came to Canada, I have forgotten, but we are certainly glad he did, and that he ended up in the prairies to pursue his musical ambitions. 

A prairie band destined for stardom, Scrubbaloe Caine was Henry’s first vehicle.  He was their lead vocalist and main songwriter.  The band also had none other than Paul Dean as lead guitarist, and we know that Paul went on to Streetheart and then Loverboy.  Henry, though, went on to form ‘Small Wonder’, a group which he could further his talent of song writing and arranging.  This was in the late seventies, and ‘Small Wonder’ were gathering a small, but loyal following.   Henry would write some very sensitive and heartfelt songs during this period. 

At this point, he also was becoming known as a first-rate Violinist, which got him the spot of touring with Burton Cummings.  His unique playing style fast became his signature, and played a prominent role in his original music, which played a dominant role later in his career.  After touring North America with Mr. Cummings, Henry was approached by the management team of West Coast superstar band, Prism, to replace lead vocalist Ron Tabak. 

Knowing that this would be a huge step, Henry followed quite amazingly, releasing ‘Small Change’ in 1981.  Although he and the group garnered a gold album for the hit single “Don’t Let Him Know”, Henry impacted the band with a new direction with such songs as “Hole In Paradise”, “When Will I See You Again” and others.  Most of his contributions were stronger than those of other Artists, that is this scribes opinion and not something that Henry Small would ever think of. 

Henry’s relationship with Prism lasted for a couple years, resulting in the management organisation taking complete control over the band and replacing the original members with others.  The result of this business move, which incidentally had nothing to do with Henry, was the release of the album “Beat Street”, which was a complete departure from anything that the ‘Prism’ name was recognised for. 

It was around this time that Henry moved out of the country, and hooked up with John Entwistle, bassist for The Who in the UK.  Mr. Small would spend about ten years playing with John’s famed all-star side group.  All the while, Henry was writing and arranging and just getting better with his craft.

All through this period, Henry’s writing became more noticed by heavyweights in the ‘biz’…both here at home and across the ocean.  When Henry decided to return to Canada, he had many irons in the fire, including co-writes with some of the Industry’s best songwriters.  A humble minstrel by heart, Henry located to the interior of British Columbia, setting out to help up and coming musicians in this area.  He has established a professionally equipped recording facility in Kamloops, and over the years has recruited some of the areas aspiring musicians in order to record and perform, as well as record himself. 

When Henry guested on my television show, he had just released “The Shift- Out Of The Darkness”, a beautiful Recorded Work that showcased all of his Talents, song writing, singing and of course, his Violin playing.  ‘Out Of The Darkness’ holds within it, some of the best from Henry Small.  Songs such as “I Just Wanna Be Me”, “I Don’t Feel You Anymore” and many more.

As mentioned, one of the driving forces behind this man is the desire to help young musicians gain a foothold in this tough business.  Henry’s Small World Studios is a haven for the young and serious musician.  Henry himself continues to write, perform and record; the man has come a long way from his humble beginnings in up-state New York, and his days with Scrubbaloe Caine and Small Wonder.  He still puts on a magical performance, and is still the Master  of the Violin!  When Henry Small plays that stringed instrument, it is majestic!

-For more on Henry Small: www.smallworldstudios.com

Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:  Fundamentals June 8th   One Bad Son June 9th   Paul Filek June 15th

Lake City Bowl:  Anvil  August 4th                                     

VooDoo’s:   (Penticton)   Sunday  Blues Jam—every Sunday!!     

Notable Concerts:  

 Salmon  Arm:  Shaw  Centre:  Nazareth July 7th

 Merritt:   Harlequinn  July 12th

 Kamloops Convention Centre:   Sweet  June 15th   Nazareth July 9th

 South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton:   John Mellencamp with Special guests:  Cowboy Junkies Thursday June 14th  

Funtastic (Vernon): Kenny Shields & Streetheart   plus  The Headpins  June 29th    Lou Gramm (Foreigner) June 30th

Kenny Shields & Streetheart:   July 14th  Dancin’ Barefoot Music Festival  in Peachland

Sturgis North 2012-Vernon: July 18th to 22nd  Rick Derringer  Jerry Doucette  Blue Oyster Cult  Foghat  Nick Gilder & Sweeney Todd  The Guess Who  Stampeders  Snake Oil Sinners  Jasmine Cain

‘Notes & News’: The Flu:  Having just finished a successful tour with none other than the legendary Paul Rodgers, Kelowna’s own ‘The Flu’ are continuing to write their own legends! 

The group made such a strong impression on those gathered for the Paul Rodgers’ concerts, that most young Canadian Talents better start to look over their shoulders! 

Overheard from some female fans: “F#!*k Bieber Fever, We Got The Flu!”, certainly ascertains that this group of young Rockers are making a very strong impact!  Currently The Flu is sequestered in a recording studio finalising their debut.  The lads will finish up the sessions in July with an earmark release of August.  The resulting record is co-produced by Jeff Dawson with Mike Fraser at the mixing board! 

This promises to be an exciting debut, so keep your eyes open!  Here is a performance from The Flu from their successful opening slot on the recent Paul Rodgers’ tour:

……if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....






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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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