Entertainer Gillan Rutz excited to get out there and start Tellin' Tales of the Ottawa Valley

Popular Ottawa Valley performer Gillan Rutz has crafted a new show called Tellin Tales that features a mix of ditties, lumber shanty songs and stories that share the history of the Ottawa Valley, particularly the lumbering era. Célina Ip / Daily Observer jpg, PM

Share Adjust Comment Print

Popular Ottawa Valley entertainer Gillan Rutz can’t wait to grab his guitar and get out there again … this time Tellin’ Tales.

His new one-hour show is titled Tellin’ Tales and is an Ottawa Valley, early Canada historic experience that he crafted over the last year. Rutz said he had received numerous requests for such a show and because of the COVID pandemic lock downs in 2021, he had the time to put it together.

“I had the content but all over the place so I pulled it together and decided, what better time to do this special request, to make it educational, light and fun,” Rutz said adding the content was what was shared mostly in early valley hotels and lumber camps.

“Over the past months during the COVID period, many have asked me to tell more of my Valley learnings while playing music and engaging with folks in all of these villages, towns and hamlets on both sides of the river over many years. I gave this a fair amount of thought and, with careful consideration to others who talk about our history, I decided in order for me to do this my way I would deliver the content a wee bit differently … in a fashion mixed with story and song. It would be an up close and personal show,” Rutz explained.

With his own family history, including his grandfather’s and father’s, involved in the early logging days and with his own love of the Valley and its “elusively different and exciting people,” crafting such a show was a natural fit for Rutz.

He said Tellin’ Tales is a separate show from what he normal does and is tailored for special events or by request.

Rutz said the show talks about what makes the Ottawa Valley unique with its own personality, accent, idioms, music and folklore, largely shaped by the timbering era. It features history and stories blended with ditties and shanty songs that he said are hardly ever heard anymore.

“These stories were normally told in a shanty or early hotel setting and engage an audience in a way that many can relate and sing along to,” Rutz said.

From a very young age, Rutz was introduced though music to many Valley storytellers and stories. Thanks to his phenomenal memory, he has been able to hold onto these stories that were first shared in smoked-filled, early hotel settings on both sides of the Ottawa River.

Rutz said in his education experience, the school curriculum did not address much local history so in developing his show, he made it a point to gather up the lighter side of the Ottawa Valley’s history and character, making something easy and fun for all ages to hear the story and its themes.

Rutz hopes that as soon as the Omicron variant restrictions are lifted that he can get out and start Tellin’ Tales.