When Justin Hines arrives in Niagara this fall, he’ll be arriving at a musical home away from home of sorts.
He took the stage for thousands three years ago to play a New Years Eve gig, sharing the spotlight with Kim Mitchell and Roger Hodgson of Supertramp for a televised show in Niagara Falls. He has played the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre four times, both solo and in collaboration with others.
“The crowds in Niagara are very boisterous, which is great,” Hines said. “The (Centre for the Arts) venue is unique. It feels very intimate, but it’s bigger than people give it credit for.”
Hines will perform Nov. 17 on a bill that also includes East Coast singer/songwriter David Myles. The 29-year-old Hines is a veteran musician who promises a show full of anecdotes and audience interaction.
“I’m certain not a lights and choreography kind of guy,” Hines says. “I love storytelling and interacting with the audience. That’s where I draw my inspiration.”
Hines has released four albums, including this year’s Days to Recall. Other high-profile gigs have included shows in locales such as South Africa, Dubai and China, and singing “There’s No Place Like This” for a Tourism Ontario TV commercial. He also participated in the first Canadian Paralympic Torch Relay in 2010 and created the Justin Hines Foundation, a charity supporting people with disabilities. Hines has a rare genetic disorder called Larsen’s syndrome, which causes multiple joint dislocations and requires him to use a wheelchair.
Hines’s musical breakthrough came when he was 14. His mother was driving him to school when they heard a contest on Mix 99.9. Whoever auditioned successfully at the radio station office won the honour of singing the Canadian and U.S. national anthems at a Toronto Raptors game.
Hines’s mother turned the vehicle around and drove to Toronto, where Hines auditioned before a large audience. Later that week, he got a call informing him he’d won.
“At first, I didn’t believe them,” he says. “I’d performed locally for churches and family, but this was hundreds of people. It was anindicator to me that the whole music career dream could be real.”
Hines has since performed the national anthem for every major Toronto sports team. He also plays piano and drums. He remains influenced by older singer/songwriters such as Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne and James Taylor.
Myles is no stranger to performing in Niagara either. He has performed at “various points from Toronto to Welland.” His brother, Sean Myles, is a former Thorold resident, and his sister-in-law, Gina Haverstock, graduated from Brock University with a master’s in Oenology.
Myles, a Fredericton native who lives in Halifax, has gigs in England, Scotland and the U.S. leading up to his Sean O’Sullivan appearance.
He also incorporates stories and jokes into his live performances, which he describes as his “bread and butter.
“That’s what I do 100 nights a year,” Myles says. “It’s where the songs come alive.”
Myles will release a new album, “Into the Sun,” on Oct. 4. It will be distributed by Fontana North Distribution and released on his own Little Tiny Records.
His performance, he says, will be “fairly upbeat and fairly light. I try to make it a good time.”
Justin Hines with special guest David Myles
Thursday, Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m.
Sean O’Sullivan Theatre
Tickets – $39
To order, call 905-688-5550 x3257 or call 1-866-617-3257