Music during the Life & Times of Coronavirus: Eugene Smith and other performers live-stream virtual gigs at the Duncan Showroom

By Peter W. Rusland

Musical heroes are using the Duncan Showroom to bring joy and a needed break from the constant barrage of Covid 19 coverage.

Veteran soul-roots crooner Eugene Smith, a Cowichan tunesmith some call a national treasure, is performing virtually during his weekly Tuesday gigs starting at 5 p.m. in the Showroom.

Appearances by Eugene and other players are live-streamed and archived by Showroom staff practising social distancing and other Covid safety precautions.

He and a passel of polished players are booked and streamed by Showroom impresario Longevity John Falkner.

Long John’s landmark, all-ages’ club on Station Street — and Cowichan’s many other arts venues — is closed to the public during the pandemic. But that hasn’t stopped musicians such as Eugene from joining Cowichan’s growing list of intrepid folks — including front-line medical workers, first-responders and support staff — who are comforting our closeted community.

“It seems that (streamed shows) is the only way I can be seen at this time,” said Eugene, 75, a musical lifer and recording artist whose storied career began in 1960s Toronto.

“These shows bring pleasure to people that know me and my music — especially with the virus going on.”

“Since the entertainment business has been shut down, this is a way to try and stay as connected as possible.”

“I hope I can take people’s minds off (the pandemic) for a little while.”
Eugene shares tunes and life stories with listeners via his virtual Showroom gigs.

“I’m playing music and telling stories about my life on the road since the 1940s.”

“Response (by viewers) seems to be pretty good.”

“You never know; people may still want me to keep doing these shows after Covid 19 goes away.”

Live public performances at the Duncan Showroom have been postponed.

Visit the Duncan Showroom’s website to read the schedule, listen to and view performances, find past shows, and donate to a musician’s fund.