Prince George doesn’t just get a concert with modern soul-jazz-urban musician Lincoln Thorne, we actually get Lincoln Thorne.
The multidimensional Canadian arts figure grew out of an upbringing in Toronto (there he was in noted band Genius Of Funk), a foray to Montreal (he studied filmmaking at Concordia University) and a rise to prominence in Vancouver where he make films and music, and also owned a popular all-night art gallery and jazz joint. He has also beaten paths around Europe.
Now, he has moved to Prince George. His life-partner got a job in P.G. and his adaptable, portable artist’s heart had no problem following her.
“I’m reinventing myself in this new city, but trying to also keep everything going as an indie artist,” Thorne said. “I’m up for meeting people and getting to know the scene. I’m really not sure what to expect. I’d pretty much stepped out of the community stuff (in recent times), but I’m ready to find out about Prince George’s music scene and the whole arts scene.”
Thorne was so adept at being a catalyst of subcultural scenes in Vancouver that friends gave him the nickname Linx (a triple entendre connecting his first name, the concept of linking people together, and the wily northern animal). Some of his artistic projects involve the Linx moniker, like one of his music acts Rebelinx under which he released his most recent album Destiny (recorded over two years in London, New York and Vancouver).
He had lowered his profile, however, as he set about producing his latest album, and that time span included the move to Prince George. He would have emerged earlier from his hiatus, but a computer malfunction set his production schedule back considerably. He was in Europe for much of the recording process, but when he returned to Canada he discovered that his computer had massively crashed. His hard drive eventually yielded the studio files to expensive computer technicians, but all the pieces of all the songs were scrambled like a Jenga pile. “So,” he said, “I’m in the rebuilding stage. It’s a lot of work. I’ve been depressed about it, and it might be easier just to re-record some of it.”
It wasn’t a total loss, however. He had the live tracks of a concert he and some crack musicians played together in Bulgaria. He is going to release that as a live album to bridge the time until the new album can be reset in the form he wants.
Another factor that slows his process was a profound ailment. Thorne was a career athlete in his later youth – an Olympic hopeful in the decathlon. That’s when a medical rebellion happened within his body. His organs malfunctioned, causing a constant overproduction of white blood cells that ravaged his kidneys. It meant being on dialysis from 1988 until 2008 when he got a kidney transplant. All of his film and music work, including the world travel, had to be designed around the constant need for dialysis.
His new kidney has worked wonders, but he has occasional reminders that his body isn’t 100 per cent effective.
“Later on in life I realize it was a blessing in disguise. The woman I love came into my life at the same time as my kidney,” he said. She met him in the Vancouver hospital where she was coming to regularly visit her brother going through the same issues. She noticed one patient was different than the others: upbeat, happy, forward-looking. It was Thorne. And he noticed her, too.
The musician and his new city are about to notice one another, as well. He has never lived this far north, but Toronto and Montreal gave him plenty of cold weather to acclimatize to arriving in Prince George in the winter. Now that he is inching back into community involvement, he is hoping for some warm handshakes to forge relationships with is new city. He was already accepted to perform inside Save-On-Foods (Spruceland) – a rare gig indeed, for any local grocery store – where he added his sweet saxophone to the savouries on the shelves as shoppers milled about. It wasn’t unnatural for him, though. He is a veteran busker and jazz jammer.
“I’m not into genres. Too much segregation. Music is music,” he said. “I like to blend and reshape and fuse and just play what I feel moved to play, and I like to live my life that way too. The good and the bad, the dying and the being born, being realistic about the negatives but striving for the positives – it’s all about balance. I look for messages within music, not the borders around sounds. My music is in the vein of soulful, jazzy presentation, but there really isn’t a set agenda with it.”