When it comes to overcoming obstacles not many people can compete with Justin Hines.
Despite having a rare genetic condition called Larsen’s Syndrome, Hines, who is confined to a wheelchair, has recorded several albums and is currently touring Canada on his Vehicle of Change tour.
The tour will be stopping in Grand Forks on Aug. 30 when Hines will take to the stage at the Grand Forks Secondary School (GFSS) auditorium. The show will be a sort of homecoming for the 31-year-old who has family in the area.
“It’ll be my third time playing here,” said Hines. “My in-laws are all there in Grand Forks or around there. It’s like a second home for me. ”
Hines is a classic singer/songwriter with strong influences from 1960s and 1970s folk artists such as Cat Stevens and James Taylor.
“I try to embody that kind of storytelling music in what I do,” he said. “Life is never really short of inspiration.”
Hines got his first big break in music when he was asked to sing the national anthem at a Toronto Raptors NBA game as a 14 year old.
“I was able to get rid of any stage fright quickly because it was a lot of people to sing in front of. It was nerve-wracking but it was great to just jump right into the fire. After that, I started to see my career develop.”
Currently, Hines and his band are out promoting their fifth album How we Fly. Every stop on the tour they do something with a local charity and Grand Forks will be no different—the tour will be supporting the Boundary Music Educators Association.
“It’s a program designed for people pursuing their passion in music,” said Hines. “I can relate and I’m excited.”
Hines and his band have already played several dates in Ontario as part of the tour, raising money along the way. While in Brockville, a couple surprised Hines with the donation of a specially-equipped RV for the tour.
“I guess they were inspired by what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Hines. “So we’ve been traveling around in that. It’s been quite a journey.”
Hines is glad that the tour will allow him to perform in Grand Forks in front of family and friends. Justin and his wife, Savanna, visit the area several times a year, but this is the first time in a few years he has performed here.
“She was born and raised in Grand Forks,” he said about Savanna. “I love it here. It’s very community based. It’s nice to walk into a place where everybody knows each other. You see a lot of friendly, smiling faces.”
Hines has had a career filled with highlights including several singles on the Billboard charts. He’s also been fortunate enough to tour the world including places like China, Europe, United Kingdom and Dubai.
The concert at GFSS starts at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 30. Tickets are available at Thistle Pot Gifts, The Source and Morrissey Creek Building Supplies.