September 26th, 2018

Many musical styles, but no specific genre in Caleb Hart’s repertoire

By Chris Brown on October 12, 2017.

Caleb Hart, shown here with his band The Royal Youths, will play a solo show at the Esplanade on Oct. 19. It's the first in this season's Esplanade Lobby Series. --Submitted Photo

Caleb Hart is proof you don’t need a big band or a huge stage show to make a lot of noise. He’ll bring sounds from all corners of the world to Medicine Hat next week with just an acoustic guitar, a loop pedal and his voice.

“A lot of different things,” he laughs over the phone when describing his sound.

Hart kicks off this season’s Esplanade Lobby Series on Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Hart’s sound has its elicit beginnings in Trinidad and Tobago, where he says he grew up in a strict Christian home and was at first very sheltered from different types of music. He’d often listen to as many different types of music as possible at a friend’s house and later would buy music from the hustlers on the streets and sneakily listen to the cassettes and CDs first on his sister’s Walkman then later on Discman.

“I was about five I think when I first heard reggae music and I just kind of fell in love with that,” Hart recalls. “I heard so many genres that I just got influenced by so many different people that actually now if you listen to my music you hear a whole bunch of genres and no genres.”

Hart, who released his solo EP “Island Soul” in June and in September released “origiNation,” the debut album of Caleb Hart & The Royal Youths, counts contemporary styles, opera, rap and polka among the genres his music enters.

While the Esplanade show will be stripped down, the music will be anything but.

“Next week is going to be an eclectic mix of not just vocal abilities but lyrical content mixed with some looping as well and some beat boxing,” he said. “As much as someone can humanly, possibly do with that without effects and all that jazz.”

On stage and off Hart is more than just a surname for the Grande Prairie-based musician.

When starting out Hart often went to schools, reserves and youth shelters on the road as part of anti-bullying and suicide awareness initiatives. The plight of aboriginal youth in Australia hit home while touring there and Hart noticed similarities to Canada. Stolen identities left aboriginal youth hanging and heading towards a life of crime. He resolved to do what he could to help by preaching love and unity through his lyrics, hopeful listeners will hear the lyrics and re-evaluate how they can help in their own way.

“(The music) is hard hitting sometimes because I’ll use some lyrics to make you think about your part in this journey,” Hart says. “Each of us have our calling on Earth, our destiny, and it’s not just people who have platforms in music and actors who can do something about it when we don’t attach a stigma to that native person. We’re responsible for spreading love to that human being regardless of this heritage or background, that person deserves love and deserves respect.”

The Esplanade Lobby Series continues with William Prince on Dec. 6, Sydney May (Feb. 1, 2018), Lion Bear Fox (March 1) and Raine Hamilton (April 5).

Tickets for Hart, $25 plus service charge and GST, are available at by calling 403-502-8777 or in person at the Esplanade box office or the Medicine Hat Mall customer service desk. Bundle packages for the Lobby Series shows can also be purchased.

Note: This story has been updated to correct that tickets are currently on sale.

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