Fredericton’s Wilmot Church was under the spell of Jeremy Dutcher’s music on Friday night, as the musician returned to his hometown to perform at the 9th annual ‘Shivering Songs Festival’.

It was the Fredericton-raised composers first public concert since his debut album 'Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa' the coveted Polaris Music Prize in September 2018.

Dutcher says that for him, coming home to perform is refreshing.

“People are listening in a different way, people understand the context of our language, and how endangered it is, and they understand he work that it’s taking to revitalize and to protect it,” says Dutcher.

The audience ranged from people who had never heard his music, to the Wolastoq community who helped shape it.

The project, which is performed in the Wolastoq language, was selected by an 11-member jury as the Canadian album of the year based on its artistic merit.

Festival organizers were thrilled that he was part of this year’s ‘Shivering Songs’ line-up, and amazed at how quickly his career has taken off.

“For Jeremy to come home, in Wilmot Church, for the 9th annual festival, it was as if the stars had all aligned,” says Stacey Russell, Fredericton Tourism and Events Manager.

“What a story, it’s incredible to watch him, in what feels like just a two-year span, it’s really awesome,” says Brendan Magee, Shivering Songs organizer.

For Dutcher, coming home means not only an opportunity to perform his music for those to matter most to him, but also an opportunity to give back to the community, something he did by going to the Wabanaki Unity Gathering on Saturday, and by giving a workshop at St. Thomas University on Friday.

“It feels really good to be back here, in our territory,” says Dutcher. “It has just been a really grounding time.”

As for what’s in-store next for the Fredericton-raised composer and musician? Likely moving back to the Elm City, and working on his next project, although it could take some time before his next release.

“I’m not trying to create something to an industry that needs a new single every year, it’s more process-oriented than that,” explains Dutcher. “I was very well-guided and well-supported by these people here, in my community.”

And it’s that support that continues to fuel the young songwriter’s ambitions, and his voice.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jessica Ng.