Shari Ulrich remembers meeting Bill Sample many moons ago.
They were in their late teens/early 20s, and the California native and her boyfriend had travelled to Canada and stayed with the musician.
The pair played together several times as Ulrich’s star rose: first with the Pied Pumkin and with Valdy, as a member of his Hometown Band, then as a Juno award-winning solo artist and one of three with the bands UHF and BTU.
Now, Sample has invited his longtime friend to perform in Port Moody as part of his and Darlene Cooper’s inaugural music series at the Inlet Theatre.
It will be the couple's second show following the series launch last month with Port Moody singer–songwriter Diane Lines.
For Ulrich, she said she’s looking forward to the performance on Oct. 28 and treating the audience to a “living room” concert.
She’ll also be introducing the community to a fellow Bowen Island resident: Cindy Fairbank.
Ulrich first met Fairbank while Fairbank was recording with Ulrich’s former husband, David Graff, in her home studio. The session was being engineered (with Fairbank on a Hammond B3 organ) by Ulrich and Graff’s daughter, Julia, and her husband.
“She is such an incredible player,” Ulrich said, noting Fairbank also teaches music at the local elementary school and is working on her master’s degree.
“Like me, she’s all about serving the song. It’s not about being flashy.”
Port Moody is only one of a few shows Ulrich plans this fall to promote her 2019 album Back To Shore (next month, she also has public dates in Vancouver, Squamish and Penticton).
She’s not a fan of flying, so she likes to book gigs that she can drive to.
And being back on the road, after more than two years off from the Covid pandemic, is “wonderful to get back on the stage,” she said.
“It’s rich and rewarding, and especially to be on the other side of a very long haul.”
During the global outbreak that forced lockdowns, Ulrich was home alone to process nearly half a century of hard work. “I didn’t realize how much I did until I was made to stop,” she said.
She didn’t compose during the break; rather, she picked up her memoir manuscript and continued to plug away at home improvements.
Her Port Moody show will reflect on the downtime, her journey back to performing and a circle back to some of her “forgotten” favourites.
Ulrich will be on the piano, guitar, violin and mandolin while Fairbank will play piano and the accordion, and provide harmonies.
“I assume people know who I am. There’s lots to be said for history and experience,” Ulrich said.
“I try to make my shows like they’re in my living room. I feel that my first job is to make sure everybody is comfortable…. People need music. It does something to the human spirit and it’s just magical to me. I’m in awe of it, so I love to create that experience.”
Said Sample, “Shari Ulrich is a triple threat — a great songwriter, an amazing singer plus she accompanies herself on a wide variety of instruments: violin, guitar, mandolin and piano. We are very excited to present her at the Inlet Theatre on Oct. 28.”
For tickets for the Inlet Theatre Music Series, visit eventbrite.ca or go to portmoodymusic.com/seriesconcerts.
- Dec. 16: Marcus Mosely Ensemble
- Jan. 21: Van Django
- Feb. 18: Jane Mortifee
- March 31: Dawn Pemberton
- May 6: Vince Mai Quintet