WEEKEND CONCERTS: Harry Connick Jr. says it’s time to play

Grammy-winner Harry Connick Jr., who recorded his powerful gospel album, “Alone With My Faith,” during quarantine, brings his Time To Play! Tour to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Aug. 8. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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Grammy-winner Harry Connick Jr., who recorded his powerful gospel album, “Alone With My Faith,” during quarantine, brings his Time To Play! Tour to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Aug. 8. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Grammy winner making stops at PNC Pavilion and the Rose Music Center

Like many industrious musicians, Harry Connick Jr. worked on music during quarantine. For the Grammy-winner, performing at PNC Pavilion in Cincinnati on Aug. 7 and Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Aug. 8 meant playing every instrument and handling the engineering and production on his powerful gospel album, “Alone With My Faith.”

Connick recently discussed the project and returning to the road with his seven-piece band for the Time To Play! Tour.

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Q: I know you lost quite a few people during the pandemic. I’m sorry for your loss. How did you get through?

A: Thank you, it’s been a tough time for everyone, but you don’t have much of a choice but to accept things gracefully and keep on going. That’s common for all of us. The tough part is there is no opportunity to really grieve. There are no funerals, no memorial services and things like that so you can’t really have any closure. All you can do is pray and just keep heading forward and that’s what I did.

Q: You made “Alone With My Faith” during the lockdowns. How did the album come about?

A: I didn’t have any plans to go into a studio and make an album by myself. Then, when the pandemic happened, I was at home by myself. I literally couldn’t go anywhere so I thought it might be a cool opportunity to do some things alone. It turned into an album that was written about and performed about my faith and how it’s really strong sometimes and how I question things sometimes and that whole spectrum. There was so much time away from everyone that it felt like it would be cathartic for me to record some songs and write some songs that spoke to my faith. It was a really fulfilling experience.

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Q: From the cover art to the songs, it seems like a different kind of record for you and also very personal.

A: Yeah, it was really personal. It was different. I mean, I’ve recorded songs by myself before but I’ve never engineered an entire album by myself. The process, just the technical stuff like getting drum levels or whatever, is pretty tedious, even with a team of people but I was really in no rush. It took about eight months from start to finish to record it, mix it, master it and all of that. To have that time alone, was really cool. There weren’t the normal social interactions you have when you’re working with other people so it was kind of a raw, unrushed process that was really cool to experience.

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Harry Connick, Jr. will perform at The Rose Aug. 8.

Harry Connick, Jr. will perform at The Rose Aug. 8.

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Harry Connick, Jr. will perform at The Rose Aug. 8.

Q: This summer tour isn’t really in support of that album is it?

A: No, we will play some songs off of this album but we’re playing a lot of other stuff, too. We have so many albums to draw from and there’s so much I want to play so every show is going to be different. I’ll base things on what the crowd is like and kind of be in the moment.

Q: Have you performed this year?

A: Well, I haven’t. The last time we were on the road was in March of 2020 and we got shut down in the middle of that tour. This will be the first time we’ve played together. It’ll be the first time I’ve seen the guys since then.

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Q: Will you get in a week or two or rehearsals in advance?

A: No, I won’t see them until the day before the tour. These guys are the best in the world. If I were to do a Broadway show, those things take months to rehearse, but this type of thing doesn’t take much time to pull together.

Q: Are you ready for touring or are you hesitant?

A: No, I’ve never been hesitant. I was patiently waiting to go whenever it was time to go. It was really about making sure all of those frontline folks were taken care of. I wasn’t about to go tour in the middle of a pandemic when people are risking their lives for us. I’m excited to go out just like I am on every tour but I’m also patiently waiting and now the time has come. I’m excited for it to happen. We’re ready. We can’t wait.

Q: It was recently announced you’re playing Daddy Warbucks in NBC’s “Annie” in December. How did that role come to you?

A: NBC called and asked if I’d be interested in doing it. I’m a musician, an actor and an entertainer, and I guess they thought I’d be a good fit. I’m a Broadway performer so it’s what I do. I’m excited to do it. It’s a great show with great songs. It’s a terrific cast. I love Taraji P. Henson and she’ll be in it. I also love the idea of live television. You have one show and I love that. I kind of thrive in that context so I’m excited to do it.

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Q: I appreciate NBC presenting these classic plays live in primetime. So many people don’t have access to live theater so these productions can be a gateway to that artform for young and old viewers alike.

A: Yeah, it’s cool and the team is amazing. Bob Greenblatt was a big part of getting this stuff started at NBC. Neil Meron, the producer, these guys are theater folks to the bone and they’re both really good friends of mine. They’ve done amazing things bringing theater to, as you say, some folks who may not be able to get a chance to see it. That’s how lives are changed. People see these things on TV and realize it is possible and they may consider making that a livelihood. It’s really cool to be a part of that.

Q: What are you up to before the tour starts?

A: I’m working on a lot of projects. I’m writing different things and different things are in pre-production so I’m dealing with that. We’ll finish that up in the next couple of weeks and then we head out on the road.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

What: Harry Connick Jr.’s Time To Play! Tour

Where: Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 8. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Cost: $23.50-$99

More info: 513-232-6220 or www.rosemusiccenter.com

Artist info: www.harryconnickjr.com

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