Chatham’s Guitar Summit is returning to the Chatham Capitol Theatre May 19.
After several years off, Tom Lockwood is bringing the event back. He said it began in 2007, and organizers put on five of them over the years before it went on hiatus. But Lockwood said it’s returning strong.
“It’s going to be a great evening of music,” he said. “Some of the people will be your neighbours. The premise of the summit is everyone who plays either lives here or is originally from here. They’re all local guys.”
That includes Mike Francis, a top studio musician who works out of Toronto. He’s been in the business for 35 years.
“He’s originally from here and has a sterling reputation as a studio musician,” Lockwood said. “He’s probably the most recorded guy in Canada. He’s done commercials, and the people he’s played with is a pretty astounding list, everyone from Anne Murray to Alanis Morissette to Jann Arden. It’s cool he’s coming back to play.”
Meanwhile, Lockwood will be playing with London’s Paul Langille. This duo made its debut at the Lighthouse Blues Festival last July.
They recently won London’s Road to Memphis competition in the solo/duo category and went to Memphis earlier this year to compete.
“He’s a great guitarist and singer,” Lockwood said of Langille.
Also set to take the stage Friday are the Moondog Howlers, a local blues band that features Alex “Aug” Polowick on guitar.
Tanya Marie Harris and her band will also take the stage. This country performer features two musicians who have appeared at previous guitar summits – guitarist Tony Bandoni and bassist Jeff Black.
Lockwood said there is an abundance of musical talent in Chatham-Kent, particularly those armed with a six string and a pick.
“Years ago, I looked around and realized how good everybody was around here. I wanted to present things in such a way that people could take an interest in what comes out of their own backyard,” he said. “We set it up for the people to appreciate what we have.”
Lockwood isn’t sure why this is such a hotbed of talent.
“Maybe it’s the proximity of growing up close to Detroit, but there have always been a lot of great musicians from this area,” he said.
Tickets to the Guitar Summit are $35. Contact the Box Office at 519-354-8338 or buy online at www.chathamcapitoltheatre.com.