By Deanna Jager
Gentleman Reg welcomes you to his debut CD with the powerful ballad "To Have Regrets." This song demonstrates his emotionally-charged vocals and a beautiful musical melange of guitars, violins and cellos.
Throughout his CD, The Theoretical Girl, his voice lures you to listen and the thought-provoking lyrics keep your mind engaged. Reg Vermue has been fiddling with music for years but has only recently become comfortable with the direction in which he’s heading.
Maybe that’s why the singer/songwriter from Guelph, Ont. has just headed out on his first cross-country tour.
"This is kind of different because it’s just a solo tour–so it’s just me and my guitar," Vermue explains.
While the tour may be a first for him, Gentleman Reg isn’t new to the musical lifestyle.
"I’ve always played music," he says. "And my parents sing barbershop, which is kind of insane sometimes. Whenever I say that, people are pretty surprised that barbershop still exists. So I’ve always been around music."
Although he sticks to the guitar these days, Vermue’s childhood was full of musical endeavours in which he fooled around with the piano, the saxophone and the accordion.
"I kind of like knowing a little bit about other instruments, even if I’m not going to be really proficient in them because I think it just gives you a better sense of knowing what you want in your songs and how things work," says Vermue
This experience helps Reg, who has been writing songs for more than eight years, develop the music in which he crafts his lyrics.
"Usually the music comes first, melodies and stuff, just playing around with my guitar," he says. "And then words often just come out of that. Usually there isn’t a specific meaning right away. I just find sentences and words and put them together and then attach meanings to them after."
Almost surprisingly, this works out extremely well for him. If you listen to the flow of the lyrics in some tracks, such as "StealthCat," he denies the usually acceptable link between age and knowledge by whispering, "I no longer use time to compare what you’ve learnt with what I’ve learnt/It’s just that some things are so complex, you see." It’s hard to believe the lyrics weren’t crafted before the music.
But it’s not hard to imagine Gentleman Reg gaining popularity when you listen to the catchy hooks in the crowd-pleasing "Tricks" or the powerful singing in "I’ve Got an Emotion."
The 11-track CD brings you full circle to end with another slow song, "Green Sleeves." This song shows off his mellower side and gives you a taste of what you can expect from the live show as Vermue moves into a softer, less poppy direction in his musical career.
Gentleman Reg’s one-month tour of Western Canada will come to the Multicultural Centre Fri., Sept. 15.