Stitt returns for summer concert

Singer to perform at Northern Light

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2003

Juneau's Rory Merritt Stitt is 26, has two albums and finished his first cross-country tour of the United States this spring. Still, he's waiting, or searching, for something.

"I feel like I'm having a quarter-life crisis," said Stitt, who now lives in Portland, Ore., and comes back to Juneau on Saturday, July 26, for an 8 p.m. show at Northern Light United Church.

"I have to get some new ideas," he said. "The youthful card has always worked really well, but I feel more like an adult than I ever have. I'm more overwhelmed by things that life is throwing my way. There are a lot of inspirations there, but it also means letting go of some things that are a little more youthful and a little more reckless."

Stitt's music has been described as "Prince meets Rachmaninoff," but add in the complex, introspective grandeur of piano-man Rufus Wainwright, the theatrical element of a Greek tragedy and the self-effacement of a pie in the face.

The concert will be Stitt's first performance in town since the release of "Harlequin," his second compact disc. It should be somewhat nostalgic and somewhat forward-looking. He played his first show seven years ago at Northern Light.

"I was 19, and I was trying to express every part of me at once," Stitt said. "I was wearing all black and had leather electrical tape on my fingers. It was very much about going away to college and dealing with a bunch of issues."

"That concert was me singing about having a nervous breakdown and only seeing the negative side of things," he said. "Now I'm coming back and looking at things with a little more sense of humor and a lot more tenderness."

Stitt just played at the 25th Annual Dawson City Music Festival, July 18 to 20 in the Yukon Territory. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation recorded him performing a short set and interviewed him for broadcast. That's a rare honor, since the CBC usually features Canadian artists.

Stitt has been working on some new music, but has no definite plans to record a new album.

"The music on 'Harlequin' was very different and was me finding more of a distinct voice," Stitt said. "I've learned a lot from mimicking vocalists that I like, which is fine, but maybe not as honest as it could be."

"In the past I've relied a lot more on entertaining the audience with camp and humor. Not that there shouldn't be that factor, but I realized recently the real value of going into myself and being centered and focused."

Korry Keeker can be reached at korry.keeker@juneauempire.com.



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