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Strumbellas’s James sees coming to aid of Academy as payback to theatre

in The Arts by

After years of touring the world with an internationally-recognized and highly-respected band, Darryl James decided it was time to come home.

James, bass player for The Strumbellas, and wife Robyn are raising their three children in Lindsay, where he grew up.

The couple says that setting down roots also meant investing time and effort in their community – specifically, its local performance arts theatre.

Darryl and Robyn are part of the team producing the upcoming mega concert fundraiser at the Lindsay Drive in support of the 125-year-old theatre. Robyn also serves as a board member for the Academy.

For Darryl, this is about more than just community-involvement; it’s payback to the town’s historic – but oft-struggling – venue, which he says has embraced him and other members of The Strumbellas since the band’s early days.

Indeed, the Strumbellas played consecutive sold out shows at the Academy, just as the world was embracing its soon-to-be massive single Spirits about five years ago.

“It was like playing the grand stage in your community,” recounts Darryl in the newest episode of The Advocate Podcast . “The Mecca you want to achieve.”

But James points out that his appreciation for the soft-seat venue started long before his association with the band, which he joined when he was 30. Rather, it was born in his youth while attending LCVI.

“I saw a lot of performances there,” he says, citing one specific concert with the Crash Test Dummies and The Northern Pikes.

That show, he says, was an epiphany of sorts. “Kinda changing my life in terms of music…everything about that stage and that performance and that vibe (told me) I have to be part of music.”

For Robyn, who grew up in the Ottawa area, her devotion to The Academy – and Lindsay – may not be rooted in a personal history the way her husband’s is. But it’s no less passionate.

Robyn, a graduate of Carleton University who’s worked in international business and marketing, says, “The longer I live here, I see the uniqueness of living in a place like Lindsay…to feel like you’re a part of something,” she tells Advocate Podcast host, Denis Grignon.

“There’s these bond that form. I can see how bands (here) get together. Because this place allows you to do that.”

About The Academy, she says, “The more I learn about it and the more I go there, the more I feel it’s a very special place. And I feel we’re very fortunate to have it in this town.”

Listen to the full feature interview with Robyn and Darryl James in the newest episode of The Advocate Podcast: Stories from Kawartha Lakes, brought to you by Wards Lawyers (wardlegal.ca).

All episodes are available to stream or download for free. Subscribe via Spotify or Apple Podcasts. 

Home Again takes place at the Lindsay Drive-in September 30 and October 1. Line up and details at homeagainconcert.com

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