Canadian musician overwhelmed with audience reception on B.C. tour

Hawksley Workman brings an artisan approach to his career as a musician.

The Canadian singer-songwriter, whose real name is Ryan Corrigan, is currently touring BC. He’s at SoCal Restaurant and Lounge on Campbell River on Thursday 6 April, Rod and Gun in Parksville on Friday 7 April, Osborne’s Bay Pub in Crofton on Saturday, 8 and 4 October Sunday, April 9th ​​at the Clayoquot Sound Theater in Tofino before completing the tour on April 11th at Guilt & Co. in Vancouver.

When The Courier reached out to Workman in Penticton on Monday, he was 13 out of his 20 BC tour. Following his performances in Prince George on March 31 and Vernon on April 1, he performs at Dream Cafe’s Penticton on Monday night.

“It’s snowing at home,” said Workman, 48, who currently lives in Peterborough, Ont., where his wife was born and raised. “The weather (here) is so nice this spring.”

Workman started using his stage name in his early teens while pursuing a career in music. It stayed with him, and he became famous in today’s era when fans discover artists through music videos rather than streaming services.

The Workman part of his name is a promise to himself, he said.

“I’m the kind of artist who believes in inspiration over sweat,” he says.

Hawksley was his mother’s maiden name.

“I felt like I needed to honor my grandmother by changing my name and have her be at the heart of who I am,” he added.

After 25 years in the business, he’s been known as Hawksley for far longer than Ryan Corrigan.

Workman has many full length albums. He is a multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, and sings on his recordings, often switching between instruments even when performing live.

To maintain these workmanlike qualities, Workman is always writing and recording music, usually with a quick turnaround time

A lot has changed in his time, other than the nature of people listening to music and buying it. He was discovered by a new generation of new fans, if you will, from parents who knew his music.

“I feel like I’m dealing with people,” Workman said. “Generational things are happening.”

He says the rock video era allowed him to build an audience and, 25 years later, a new one.

It’s a product of the musical environment that has contributed to the incredible longevity of many artists. Instead of living the way she had in her 20s, Workman has a new lease on life from sobriety.

“At 48, I still feel young,” he said.

“I feel like I’m at the top of my game. It has a lot to do with being sober for the last four years. It’s not that I’m not doing well. The road is a party. Right now, the music is the biggest focus and the most important thing. I just can’t keep a rock party going on for 10 or 15 years.”

Reinventing yourself after a long career has its rewards and pitfalls. But Workman agrees that you can’t keep pumping out music that sounds the same without trying to chart a different roadmap.

“To date, I’ve released 18 records,” he says. “You have to please your audience and disappoint your audience. If you’re not improving, you’re not challenging yourself or your audience to maintain that ongoing relationship.”

Getting out on the road and entering week three of his BC tour has been a joy for Workman.

“The reception we’ve had here has been overwhelming,” he said. “The whole idea behind this tour is that we don’t get out of here enough to get into small towns and cities. We only come to play in Victoria and Vancouver, and sometimes we come out and play other places.”

Especially post-COVID, many artists like Workman are forging new relationships and intimacy with fans that smaller venues offer.

“I feel like that’s the kind of connection I want to make here,” he reasoned. “In this way, I feel like I’m close to people. We’re playing bars, bookstores. Being in a small room with people in a small town, somehow it’s very 20th century. It’s so nice to be in one room.

“Although we tour Europe and Australia every year, this is my home country where I do most of my touring and work,” concludes Workman. “I’m honored to be able to travel across Canada now.”

You can find more information on Workman’s website

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Acclaimed artist Hawksley Workman makes his debut at Crofton's Osborne Bay pub.  (Photo by Ivan Otis)

Acclaimed artist Hawksley Workman makes his debut at Crofton’s Osborne Bay pub. (Photo by Ivan Otis)

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