Norton Metcalfe releases third album
The Norton Metcalfe Trio has struck a chord with local country music fans.
"I put together a collection of songs on the advice of my friend and mentor Bill Walker. His encouragement over the past six years has resulted in my rekindled love of music and the desire to entertain others," said Norton. "All of the material in this album has a special place in my heart and often reflects my own journey through life."
The Norton Metcalfe Trio plays the circuit in Camrose and area with Norton on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Sonja Beairsto on bass and Bill Walker on lead and rhythm guitar.
"We have played at the Jaywalkers' Jamboree for a number of years, the Bashaw Festival of Stars, appeared several times at the Camrose Country Opry and most of the lodges and many private events."
Norton turned his casual love of country music into a passion. "I played a lot when I was little, but never went out in public. I would play at campfires or for the neighbours," said Norton. "That changed about 15 years ago."
Mary and Bill Walker started the Camrose Country Opry. "When I met Bill Walker he got me going. I was the president of the Camrose Country Opry after him (2004-09) and that really got me going then. He kept pushing me to play and now we are together. I'm really enjoying it."
That push was the shove Norton needed to share his talent with others. "I learned a lot from Bill. He is a great guitar player. I just wish I had met him 10 years earlier," joked Norton. "When you play around the campfire, no one really cares about your mistakes. When I first played at the Opry, I was shaking like a leaf. That is all gone now. It doesn't matter if it is a crowd of 400 or not, it doesn't matter to me anymore. I just love to play. The more you play and sing, the more confidence you have."
The faces of music fans at the lodges light up when the trio entertains for them. "They tap their feet or even get up and dance. It gives us satisfaction to see them enjoying themselves."
Norton and Bill met at church one day and started talking music. "I mentioned that I play a little bit and he said that to me as well. Well, he sure showed me. He could play a little more than he let on at first. Bill asked me to sing some songs. We didn't do anything right away. I had a really old and cheap guitar. Then one day he said that he found a good second hand Taylor guitar that would suit me. He said I have outgrown my old guitar and that I needed to move up. I bought it from Bill and I'm sure glad I did. It is a wonderful sounding guitar. He has been my mentor since then."
Bill played with other bands for several years before hooking up with Norton. "He would always fill in for musicians and back up other bands if they were short."
Entertaining at senior lodges has expanded the trio's play list. "I didn't want to run out of songs or play the same ones over and over again. This forced us to learn some new songs and has made us a better band. We try to learn at least two new songs every month. All of our songs on the CD are different than the ones on the other CDs," said Norton. "We enjoy playing and we know that we are not professionals. All three of us really enjoy playing and we just want to play more."
The band has been together for about six years. "I remember Sonja playing at the Opry in the early days, but I didn't know her at that time. When Bill and I started playing, he said to contact Sonja. She would add another dimension to our group. When I called her, she didn't really know me, so she asked who else is playing in my band. As soon as I mentioned Bill, she agreed right away."
The trio's new release Look at Us is available at concerts for $10. Some of the bands best cover songs include "Everything's a Waltz," "Hey Good Lookin' " and "I'll be all Smiles Tonight.".
The Opry is held once a month at the Bailey Theatre. The next show is on May 19 at 7 p.m. "The Opry never pays any of its performers. People come from Edmonton. Some sound like professionals, but they play just for the love of it," said Norton. "Some of them sell CDs to pay for their gas. They don't make any money at it, they play for the fun and enjoyment like we do."