One of the very last full-time travelling rock ’n’ roll productions, The Fred Eaglesmith Travelling Steam Show has played nearly 250 dates this year in Europe, Canada and the United States.
They’ve been touring small-town Ontario this fall before getting ready for winter in the U.S., playing to die-hard music fans (FredHeads) and collecting new fans along the way.
The acclaimed roots-rock songwriter hasn’t slowed down after three decades on the road, and last month he released Tambourine, his 20th album. Years in road-worn vegetable oil-powered Blue Bird buses leaves time for life reflection and that’s how Charity Pie Auctions came about – play from town to town and ask fans to donate pies. Then auction the pies off.
The rapid-fire auctioneer’s chant comes easily to Eaglesmith, and when the house lights go up an old fashioned, home-baked pie appears on stage, stirring up memories of farmhouses, threshing crews and community. And the bidding begins.
During the Western Canada tour, the band raised over $17,000 for Alberta flood relief. But most often the money is donated to Operation Smile, a charity that provides operations for restorative facial surgeries in third world countries. Without this operation, performed by Canadian doctors at $240 per child, these children are destined to a lifetime of negative social stigma and ostracism making an already difficult existence even tougher.
So far in 2013, the Fred Eaglesmith Travelling Steam Show has donated more than $23,000 for Operation Smile.
Terri Brintnell of Bayfield contributed a pie in Exeter.
”I was shocked to hear the $50 starting bid for my pecan pie suddenly soar to $300. What a great feeling to know that a short amount of time spent in my kitchen helped change a child’s life forever. I only wish I had baked more than one pie.”
“We all feel satisfied and rewarded when we can do something fun and simple to make a big change in a kid’s life,” said Eaglesmith. “Everyday we get to live the kind of life we want to and we want to share this kind of freedom with others.”
The show’s full night of jokes and music plays the Dundas Legion on Saturday Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. For tickets, call 519-583-3878, www.fredeaglesmith.com or at the door.