He’s a rock legend whose name will always be synonymous with the city of Winnipeg, but Burton Cummings now makes his home about six hours to the west.
Cummings is performing solo shows on Wednesday and Friday in the city of Moose Jaw, Sask., where he’s been quietly living for the past year.
Rob Carnie, a DJ at Moose Jaw radio station 800 CHAB, said he’d heard rumours that the iconic Guess Who frontman was living in the community of 33,000, but didn’t want to bother Cummings for an interview without a compelling reason.
When the pair of concerts at the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre were announced, Carnie knew he had an ‘in’.
He told 680 CJOB that his radio interview with the singer/pianist brought up a lot of Guess Who memories for Moose Jaw residents.
“Since Burton was on the radio, we’ve had a number of people phoning and emailing and messaging us on Facebook about their memories of when Chad Allan and the Expressions, with Burton Cummings, played in Moose Jaw,” he said.
“It’s been a very eventful few days in Moose Jaw. His shows sold out in hours, and folks around here are really looking forward to seeing him onstage, just him and his piano.”
According to Carnie, Cummings was happy living under the radar in Moose Jaw with a new girlfriend, when he attended a show at a local venue.
“He went to the Sons of the Pioneers show at our beautiful Moose Jaw Cultural Centre, which is about 100 years old,” he said.
“It’s a beautiful place with great acoustics, so he goes to this show and thought, ‘I gotta play here’.”
Cummings last made a splash in the news back in May, when he was injured a Los Angeles car accident.
At the time, the singer was in talks to perform the national anthem at a Winnipeg Jets playoff game, something that was cancelled due to his condition.
Carnie said the people of Moose Jaw are excited to have a genuine rock star in their midst, but for the most part, Cummings has kept his profile in the Saskatchewan city fairly low-key.
“He said he likes the people here. It’s hard for him to go places he’s not recognized, but he’s got a circle of new friends he’s hanging out with, and he’s really enjoyed his time here,” said Carnie.
“He does regular everyday things that most retired people like to do, although he’s not fully retired.
“The guy’s from Winnipeg. He’s gotta live somewhere, and what’s wrong with Moose Jaw?”
WATCH: Winnipeg rocker Burton Cummings, performs Sour Suite at namesake theatre