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Just Heart, Epic Journey to play Pembroke's Festival Hall May 4

Valerie Shearman Interview with Rick Wharton 

Just Heart, Epic Journey to play Pembroke's Festival Hall May 4 2019



Published on: April 24, 2019 | Last Updated: April 24, 2019 8:11 PM EDT

Editor’s Note: Rick Wharton, actor, comedian, radio personality, The Conspiracy Guy, and Festival Hall director, brings Pembroke Observer and News readers exclusive interviews with some of the acts coming to Festival Hall. Instead of traditional story format, these pieces are brought to you in the question and answer format in the same way the interviews took place. So let’s be a fly on the wall and hear what Canadian singer-songwriter Valerie Shearman has to say during her ’10 minutes with Rick.’


Bio, background and buzz:

Valerie Sherman is no stranger to the music scene. Valerie was married to Buzz Sherman from Moxy, a Canadian hard rock band, formed in Toronto in 1974. Buzz died in a motorcycle accident on June 16, 1983, at the age of 33. Buzz was a major influence for Valerie and pushed her to sing all types of music. Valerie has been working in radio and with record companies and on stage for more than 25 years, performing and singing in various groups and solo. Her band Valerie and the DreamCatchers got notable airplay here in the Ottawa Valley. While she still has a solo career she is getting rave reviews with her tribute act to hit makers Heart called Just Heart.

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Rick: So good to connect with you again. You are so busy now with your music career. How did this tribute act come to be?


Valerie: Over the years every time someone came out to see me I was told of my uncanny look and sound (resemblance) to Ann Wilson of Heart. After a few suggestions I thought I would try a few Heart songs and it came rather easy. Then in 2014 I was approached by a couple of musicians and a producer Nik Rak and a few booking agents to see if I would try out a whole show of Heart songs – a tribute to Heart and here we are now, five years later.

Rick: The Canadian music business is all you have ever known. How does it feel to still be working and to be playing live?

Valerie: Well, I absolutely love it. I feel a connection with live music. I’m very comfortable on stage and have always loved the live aspect of music. I think I just like people and the vibe that onstage gives me, it’s electrifying!

Rick: Were you a fan of Heart originally when they commercially broke through in 1975-76?


Valerie: Oh yes, I grew up hearing them in school and I sang Dreamboat Annie in a school play and Dog and Butterfly.

Rick: You make your return to Festival Hall and this time bringing a double act bill with you – Epic Journey (Journey tribute band). Can you let us know how this came to be?



Valerie: A year ago we had teamed up with other shows like Fleetwood Mac and AC/DC tributes. It was suggested that Journey was a wise choice from the past it was a great idea and the connection was made around that time with Epic Journey. I had spoken to Jeff Salem (Fist), the drummer and leader of the group, and wow; what a great band; great people, so we just clicked. It happens their lead singer in Epic Journey is from April Wine – Roy Nichol. You don’t want to miss these talented guys.

Rick: We have just added another guest on the bill that night – Sierra Levesque, who is an amazing up-and-coming talent from Pembroke. Any advice you can offer to young singers and writers today as the business has changed so much.

Valerie: You and I always love to support young talent and up-and-coming talent. I had a show called Toronto Rising Star back in 2010. The business is challenging today. However, the nice thing is you can be your own boss these days. The fact that Sierra is doing all the right things the right way by getting a lot of exposure is cool. I do hear she is absolutely fantastic. I hear she can do it all. Rick, thanks for making this known and getting the word out for her. People need a street team for getting the word out. Sierra is opening the show off for us and that will be a great vibe. Sierra might like to get up and join with me on stage at the end of the show for Barracuda! Make it happen Rick.

Rick: Who were your inspirations growing up in music?


Valerie: I have to say, of course, Heart, Abba, Janis Joplin, Cher, The Mamas and Papas, Karen Carpenter, Earl Johnson and Buzz from Moxy, and Triumph. So many greats!

Rick: You portray Anne Wilson and nail it. (Fist bump) Could you tell us about your guitar partner onstage?

Valerie: Rob Robbins is one of Canada’s greats. I’m telling you he is fantastic. Not only does he play amazingly, he is a great producer for us and we have connected so well. Rob comes from a great Canadian Band – Moxy as well as the Vintage Vinyl live show. We are blessed to have him.

Rick: Can you give us a sneak preview of the show on May 4?

Valerie: To me, there is something truly magical when people are singing along to all their favourite songs from their past and the new fans are just learning the songs that they heard from their parents. (Laughs) And Guitar Hero helps, with the youth – songs like Barracuda and Don’t Stop Believing from Journey and so many more hits! (It will be a juke box of songs, all their favourite Heart and Journey songs in one magic night. Also there will be colourful clothing changes. People feel truly connected to the past with these songs. I know it’s going to be a great night. The Ottawa Valley loves great music and live music!

Rick: It’s going to be a great show and make sure you don’t fall off the stage this time, you almost gave me a heart attack.

Valerie: (Laughs) Yes, that was entertaining falling offstage. You have a great venue there. You care so much about the theatre and the artists and the audience for that matter. We will come and give a great show.

Rick: Thank you.

Valerie: Thank you. It’s great to be coming back to Festival Hall again and I promise you no fancy footwork unless I have my proper dancing shoes on!

* * *

Just Heart and Epic Journey with special guest Sierre Levesque are at Festival Hall in Pembroke

on May 4. The show gets underway at 7:30 p.m. For tickets,

call the box office at 613-735-2182.

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