JEFF BIRD, multi-instrumentalist, Guelph
Plays all sorts of instruments: Electric and acoustic bass, electric and acoustic mandolin, fiddle, piano, keyboards, guitar, harmonica, percussion, various wind instruments and vocals.
1970 Became posessed with all things
musical and started buying musical instruments with a vengeance.
1974 Began work as a professional musician.
1976 Moved to Guelph began a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in music at the University of Guelph while continuing to perform music in a professional capacity.
1978 started Canadian folk music group TAMARACK with James Gordon and Randy Sutherland. Toured extensively with them until 1987. Produced three recordings and continue to work as a session player with the group.
1979 as part of TAMARACK began performing in the canadian folk revue MAPLE SUGAR with GRAHAM TOWNSEND, GILLES LOSIER, PHILLIPE BRUNEAU and other masters of traditional Canadian music.
1980 Graduated from University of Guelph with a BA in music.
1987 performed on the legendary recording THE TRINITY SESSION with the Canadian band COWBOY JUNKIES. have continued to work with them to this day, touring the world and recording. appearances include such venerable venues as THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, CARNEGIE HALL, MASSEY HALL
He has appeared as a session player and or producer on over 100 recordings to date including two JUNO winners. HEARTSTRINGS by WILLIE P BENNETT and YELLOW JACKET by STEPHEN FEARING.
CHRIS QUINN - banjo, Toronto
“I was six years old. I remember standing beside my father in front of the Viking Hi-Fi. As he rested the needle on the record, he looked at me shrewdly and said, Listen to this. Electric crackles, a swelling audience and then the kick off to Salty Dog Blues. I was riveted! He handed me the water coloured album cover and pointed to a man in a dark suit, a string tie and a Stetson. Thats Earl Scruggs. I immediately adopted dads copy of Flatt and Scruggs at Carnegie Hall. In my room, with my own little suitcase record player, I played that album to death. I would sit on the floor, my dads stringless Harmony tenor banjo clutched in my hands, and listen over and over. My one constant thought was, How is he doin that?! I had no idea. I got my first five string banjo on Christmas Day when I was twelve.”
Banjo was a passion that has never
left Chris Quinn., In the early 90s he began playing with Chris Coiole
and Dan Whiteley as One Horse Town. Then he was involved with Heartbreak
Hill which was nominated for a Juno. He has played with Crazy Strings every
Wednesday at Toronto’s Silver Dollar for years and years and currently
plays with Chris Coole in The Foggy Hogtown Boys.
WASHBOARD HANK FISHER, Peterborough
Hank Fisher has been singing off-beat
country songs for years, first cutting into the open as one of Reverend
Ken's Lost Followers where he made the phelopian tuba a household name.
After spending a good five years playing washboard for Fred Eaglesmith
he decided to start a brand new band: Washboard Hank and the Country Squires.
Songs like "Donut Shops of Ontario", "Marmora Pig" and "Honky Tonk Donkey
from Coboconk". He did get the Porcupine citation for best political song
back in 1990 for his heart rendering composition "Stompin' Tom For Prime
Minister" as well as the Oliver Schroer Off-Beat award in 2003.
CHRIS BARTOS, OTTAWA
A graduate of Boston’s Berklee College
of Music, Chris Bartos has performed with Lynn Miles, The Ennis Sisters,
John Geggie, Jeff Healey, Dan Whitely, Chris Whitely, Crazy Strings, La
Grande Bouche Swingtette and his own jazz project, The Resurrection Quartet,
and now with Toronto new grass band, Rubberneck. Chris Bartos was born
in Ottawa and has been playing the violin, piano and guitar since the age
of four. Chris has been a professional musician for fifteen years.
Chris is also a composer, producer and engineer of film and television
soundtracks with Robot Music. When not exploring “new ways of writing
about love and loss”, Chris Bartos leads The Cross Tuned Experience, an
old time American string band heavily influenced by bluegrass and Quebecois
fiddle. He was a guest at the Sugar Camp in April, 2010.
RON HYNES, St. John’s: Sawchuk
Hynes was born in St. John's, NL in
December 1950, and raised in Ferryland. He was a founding member of The
Wonderful Grand Band, and has released seven solo albums. His debut album,
Discovery, released in 1972, was the first album composed of totally original
content by a Newfoundland artist. Widely regarded as one of Canada's premiere
singer-songwriters with a career spanning over 30 years, Hynes' songs have
become part of the fabric of Newfoundland culture. Hynes' songs have been
covered worldwide by over 100 artists, including Emmylou Harris, Valdy
and Christy Moore. His song, Sonny’s Dream, first recorded by The Grand
Band in 1978, is a world-wide favourite.,
His song, Sawchuk comes from his latest Borealis Records release, Stealing Genius. Terry Sawchuk was born and raised in East Kildonan, a working-class, Ukrainian section of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He played professional hockey from 1949 – 1970, mostly with the Detroit Red Wings. In 1967 he lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to their last Stanley Cup victory.
CREEKING TREE STRING QUARTET, Toronto
Andrew Collins - mandolin
Brad Keller - guitar
Brian Kobayakawa - bass
John Showman – fiddle
String-band music has long been a staple of Americana. While the four members of Toronto's Creaking Tree String Quartet pay homage to that tradition, they refuse to be bound by it.
Instead, the technically dazzling
outfit uses fingerboards to leap stylistic boundaries and fuse intricate
styles. The result is a smartly intellectual and yet deeply moving sound
that's a true Canadian original: jazz forms sliding over a rootsy bluegrass,
with reverence and avant-garde experimentation.
MICHAEL JEROME BROWNE, Montreal
Born in South Bend, Indiana in 1960, Michael is the son of English professors whose love of music and poetry inspired them to take their nine year old son to the great jazz, blues and folk clubs in their adopted home of Montreal. He was immediately taken with the music and started learning several instruments: fiddle, guitar, banjo, dobro, harmonica, washboard and several others. His element is old timey music: cajun, Quebecois trad, folk blues and ballads. His public performances can bring old music back to life.
Six String Nation, Joey Taylor, published by Douglas & McIntyre, 2009 - ISBN-978-1-55365-393-6
The Six String Nation guitar and related projects were originally conceived in 1995 by Jowi Taylor and luthier George Rizsanyi. After years of research and fundraising, the guitar made its official debut at the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill on July 1st, 2006. Since then, it’s travelled many thousands of kilometers across Canada, been played by hundreds of different musicians and been held by thousands of. At a ceremony launching the 2008 Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg-St. Boniface, the guitar received the official nickname Voyageur.
Voyageur itself is made from 63 pieces of Canadian history and heritage representing many different cultures, communities and characters from all across the country.
The book, Six String Nation, not only tells the story of this incredible instrument, but has dozens of photos of famous and not-so-famous Canadians holding it. A great project and a great book!
ROSEMARY PHELAN, Toronto
Originally from the state of Vermont, Rosemary Phelan came to Canada and became a nurse and studied at the royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto studying voice and piano. But her real love was songwriting. In the mid 2000s she began recording with her friend Jason Laprade, and although her recording output isn’t large, it’s filled with great songs. Awarded the Porcupine Song of the Year in 2008 for her song, Hummingbird, a startlingly beautiful song. She writes lyrics that have multiple meanings, songs about the basic human condition, integrating natural elements that she sings with the voice of a songbird.
"I've lived and worked in the pristine
wilderness of nature and the human lost-and-found of the grittiest urban
core. There is still so much to learn, but what I have noticed is this:
the longer I walk this two-fold path that calls me, the more real my music
becomes, and the more certain my hands in their healing work." —Rosemary
BRI-ANNE SWAN, Toronto: Stars Are Falling (and I'm Hungry)
Bri-anne’s love of music began even
before Bri-anne existed. “My mother listened to Willie Nelson’s ‘Stardust”
over and over again when she was pregnant. By the time I was born she had
grown tired of the album. Later on, when I was about two, she put the album
on again...and I knew all the words!”
She has performed with bands such as Tanglefoot, Fathead and Dala. She has toured across much of Canada and Ontario’s North.
DON KERR, Toronto
Don has a recording studio in his home called The Rooster where he works primarily as a music producer. He has also co-owned the renowned Gas Station Recording Studio with Dale Morningstar on Toronto Island.
Don produced the Sexsmith & Kerr's cd Destination Unknown which was nominated for a Juno Award in 2005 (roots and traditional album of the year). He has also produced The Backstabbers, The Creeking Tree String Quartet, Michael Johnston, Sam Larkin, Hotcha! and most recently, Michael Lake and Karyn Ellis.
David Celia, Toronto: I Tried
I didn’t know what to expect from David Celia for his third album, I Tried, and maybe that’s a good thing. I listened intently, wanted to hear it again, and then the songs just grew on me: these are rally great pop songs. Bringing the spirit and power of rock to life, sliding through folk roots and rhythms, and being inspired by the likes of Harry Nilson, Oasis, The Beatles and Syd Barrett, it has an organic tone. Awarded the New Dragon Mine award in 2008. The songs are hummable and played in a classic yet current style. This self-produced album features musicians Joan Besen, Mia Sheard, Burke Carrol and Don Kerr.
BILL HOUSTON, Sioux Lookout / THUNDER BAY, ON:
The King of White Otter Lake, Lone
Wolf Records 1975
Produced by Shelby M Gregory at Eastern Sound, Toronto, and Creative Electronics Studios, London
The King of White Otter Lake is a
classic Canadian album with a classic Canadian song of the same name which
tells of Jimmy McQuat, a persistent and ingenious man who single-handedly
built a "log castle" on the shore of White Otter Lake between Atikokan
and Ignace, in Northern Ontario. Ojibway Country, another great track,
was originally recorded and used in one of the first IMAX films, North
of Superior, which opened up Toronto’s Cinesphere. Other songs on the album
include Open Spaces, Railroad Town, This is Canada, Workin’ on the Railway
and Northern Journey.
BOBBY HILL, Montreal:
Radio Days – Ground Breaking recordings pf performances from the Golden Age of live radio: 1953 – 1968.
The combination of Bobby Hill and Ronald Scott came together to form one of Canada’s first bluegrass configurations. With the addition of virtuoso Montreal fiddler, Jean Carignan, they went on to radio fame with The CFCF Hometown Jamboree and later, The Bobby Hill Show. Live recordings of some of these programs were digitalized and released last year by Bobby Hill, and include several long segments, including a cameo by then suspended Montreal Canadiens captain, Maurice ‘The Rocket’ Richard in 1955, and fiddling great, Ned Landry. A great historical document of the great radio days.
Ian Tamblyn, Chelsea, Quebec
Born December 2, 1947 in Fort William, Ontario, He graduated from Trent University in Peterborough in 1971 and released his first album, Moose Tracks, the same year. In 1976 he released his official debut album, Ian Tamblyn, which won a Juno Award for Best Folk Music Recording that year. In 1980 formed North Track Records with Thunder Bay friends Ken Hamm and Rodney Brown, which he still operates. He has completed over 25 recording projects, his latest being Gyre in 2009. He plays guitar, piano, hammered dulcimer, and synthesizer, as well as singing. His music can be divided into singer-songwriter material and soundscapes. His most impressive soundscape album was Antactica, 1994, written mostly on location. Not only has he released a vast quantity of works, but he has also been an excellent record producer (2004 Porcupine award) and was inducted into the Porcupine Awards Hall of Fame in 2004. He received The Jackie Washington Award presented at the Northern Lights Festival in 1990, an Honorary Doctorate from Lakehead University in 1994, as well as the Estelle Klein Award at the 2002 OCFF Fall Conference in Ottawa.
Moose Tracks (1971)
Ian Tamblyn (1976) - Juno Award, Best Folk Music Recording
Closer to Home (1978)
When Will I See You Again (1980)
Dance Me Outside (1983)
Over My Head (1986)
Ghost Parade (1988)
Magnetic North (1990)
Through the Years ('76-'92) (1992, compilation)
Days of Sun and Wind
The Middle Distance (1995)
Lost Visions, Forgotten Dreams (1996)
The Body Needs to Travel (1997)
Voice in the Wilderness (2001)
Like the Way You're Tinkin (2002)
Angel's Share (2004)
Machine Works (2005)
Superior: Spirit and Light - The Four Coast Project: Vol.1 (2007)
Raincoast - The Four Coast Project: Vol.2 (2008)
Tom Coxworth, Calgary AB
Tom Coxworth has been living in Alberta and broadcasting since he was a student at Calgary’s University of Alberta. He began his career at the campus radio station CJSR in 1986 after taking over a Celtic music program. Eventually he graduated to the all-Alberta network, CKUA where, since 1998, he has been producing his current program, Folk Routes. Tom is one of the only programmers at CKUA who produce their programs from home. His dedication to his program is self-evident as he puts so much of himself into it.
Shirley Field, Armstrong BC
Born in Armstrong, BC and raised on a cattle ranch, Shirley Field claims to have started singing before she could walk. A proficient rider, she joined her father’s cattle drives and fell in love with the cowboy way of life. She began composing songs from the age of nine after listening to Jimmie Rodgers 78s. From the early 1950s she began her career as a singer / yodeler, befriending Loretta Lynn. She became a local star of the Kamloops radio show, "The Cowboy's Sweetheart” which lead her to a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry in 1962. She began recording for Rodeo records in the early 60s and has continued to record and perform ever since. She has won many awards over the years and was inducted into the BC Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006.
Ken Hamm, Thunder Bay ON/ Vancouver BC
From Thunder Bay, Ontario, Ken Hamm set out to learn the roots of country and blues. His quest took him out to British Columbia in 1982 where he has lived ever since. While in Thunder Bay he joined Ian Tamblyn and Rodney Brown in forming North Track Records, which he still co-owns. His album, Ken Hamm and Friends (featuring Lauri Conger) was the first album released on the fledgling label (NT001 – from 1978). Since then Ken Hamm has developed into a master guitarist with several albums to his credit. Over the years he has won a Juno Award and several others: Best Acoustic Act of the Year by the Toronto Blues Society, and was also nominated three years running as Best Acoustic Blues Guitarist by North America's "Guitar Player" magazine
Andrew Hermant, Toronto ON
Andy took up 5-string banjo after hearing Pete Seeger and “The Weavers” at about 14 years of age. From there, Earl Scruggs became a major influence, only to be overtaken by “The Greenbriar Boys”. Along with David Wilcox and Rick Fielding, the infamous “The Gangreen Boys” were formed, one of Toronto’s first bluegrass groups. The group enjoyed great, if not brief success, opening for the likes of Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray at Mariposa – notwithstanding the name (it was David’s idea!). Since those heady days at the peak of the folk movement, Andy has played 5-string banjo on numerous jingles and albums, the most famous of which is “Cousin Mary” by Fludd, interspersed with a career as one of Canada’s top Recording Engineer/Producers, record label owner and studio operator (Manta Sound Company). He founded Duke St. Records in 1984 which stayed active for a decade, devoted exclusively to Canadian musicians. He recorded Fraser & Debolt, Jane Siberry, FM, Rik Emmett, Willie P. Bennett, Rob McConnell, Scott Merritt, Chalk Circle, Valdy, Manteca & Don Ross.
Bobby Hill, Montreal QC
When he was 13 he invested $25 in a Stella guitar and began learning cowboys songs. Around 1950 he began calling square dances and putting together bands and was asked to host his first radio show over Montreal’s CJAD in 1952: The Alouette Square Dance show. Then over the years he got radio programs over CFCF, off and on until 1968. During this time he partnered up with Nova Scotian bluegrass king, Ronald D Scott and fiddle sensation Jean Carignan. His most famous recording was The Saga of Rocket Richard.
Connie Kaldor, Regina SK / Montreal QC
It was the month of May in 1953, during a Regina blizzard, that Connie Kaldor was born. And she’s been singing ever since. She originally went to school hoping for a career in the performing arts which took her from Newfoundland to Toronto. But the call of music was thick in her blood so in 1979 she left the theatre and became a fledgling singer-songwriter. Her live performances were charged with humour: ”breaking down the wall that often separates spectator from performer.” She’s toured from North America to India, China and Europe, bringing Canada and Canadian music to the world. She was asked to perform on Peter Gzowsk’s very last Morningside program, live. Connie received the Order of Canada in 2007.
Ritchie Knight & The Midnights, Toronto ON
Rich Hubbard (Richie Knight) - vocals
George Semkiw - guitar
Barry Lloyd - piano, then organ
Mike Brough - sax
Doug Chappell - bass
Barry Stein - drums
Formed in 1961 in Toronto as The Mid-Nights, the band played the teen circuit throughout Southern Ontario – just another band on the run. But in 1963 they were signed to Arc Records who wished to call them Ritchie Knight & The Midnights. They first heard the song Charlena (by the Sevilles) at a dance and fell in love with it. They learned it and recorded it as their first Arc single. The song was initially played on Toronto radio station CKEY and became such as success that flagship station CHUM 1050 decided to give it a go – a rarity for a Toronto band at that time. The song reached number 1 on the CHUM Chart and held on to that position for two weeks – the first time a Toronto band had ever done that. The song went on to sell an incredible 100,000 copies. They were featured on Dick Clark’s Cavalcade of Stars show on July 19, 1963 at Maple Leaf Gardens. It was to be their only hit song. The band would languish on the Toronto club scene for the next few years, changing it’s name to the Midnights Blues Band in 1966 and eventually just The Mid-Knights Revue. They broke up in 1969
Hank LaRiviere, Hawkesbury
Henri Lariviere, aka Hank LaRiviere and Hank Rivers, was born in Hawkesbury, Ontario, a French town on the Quebec border. He began entertaining in the 1930s during the recession but really got into it after joining the Canadian forces during WW2 where he took on the moniker, The Singing Soldier. He began recording in the late ‘40s with such songs as “Harrah for Camp Borden” and “Oh, but I’m Happy in the Army” and “The Northern Cannonball.” His musical heyday was during the 1950s and early 60s, performing on package tours that included Wilf Carter, Hank Snow and Grandpa Jones. His most proud recording is the 1967 Centennial Travels album for which he wrote a song about every province.
Ray Legere, Amherst NS
Ray Legere is one of those solid multi-purpose musicians that can lead or follow. An incredibly busy person, always in demand, he has backed up acts like Rita McNeil, Stevedore Steve, Michelle Shocked, Tony Rice, and even substituted for bluegrass legend Bill Monroe. He has been the recipient of the 2003 ECMA (East Coast Music Award) for "Bluegrass Artist Of The Year" which he also won in 1996. His prowess on the fiddle and the mandolin have won him many other awards in Canada and the US. He has played on literally hundreds of recordings. "I am proud and thankful to be making music my profession and I hope that in striving to be the best I can be, you will enjoy my music for years to come. Thank you."
Zeke Mazurek, Wellington
Zeke Mazurek was an incredible violinist from Wellington, Ontario who played fiddle and mandolin with String Band, Sylvia Tyson's Great Speckled Bird, Prairie Oyster, Sneezy Waters and others. His sense of humour and ability to ad-lib made him a special session player and back-up musician. He loved folk music and folk melodies, and released two CDs of his own works: I Ain’t Dead Yet…. And I Ain’t Dead Yet 2.. Zeke passed away on Saturday, October 30th, 2010 at the age of 59.
Mike Regenstreif, Montreal QC / Ottawa ON
Mike became involved in the Montreal folk music scene since the early 1970s, contributing articles in the US based Sing Out! Magazine and producing concerts. He ran The Golem folk club and book tours for many Canadian and American artists. In 1994 he began broadcasting at CKUT, the McGill University radio station. Folk Roots/Folk Branches was heard on CKUT in Montreal from 1994-2007. He now writes a folk music blog and spends his time between Ottawa and Montreal.
Cedric Smith, Stratford ON
Now known primarily for his acting (Alec King on Road to Avonlea), Cedric Smith began his artistic journey as a singer-songwriter in Stratford ON. He was one of the prime ingredients that went into the popular folk rock band, Perth County Conspiracy*. A fiery performer who gives it his all, incorporating monologues into songs, songs into monologues, he has continued dabbling in music and currently performs as a frontman for David Woodhead’s Confabulation.
* in the Hall since 2008 and 2000 Classic Canadian Album award for Alive!
Jan Vanderhorst, Brantford ON
Since 1981 Jan Vanderhorst has been producing 1 hour radio programs of folk music on his program Just Us Folk over CKPC AM1380 in Brantford. Unlike most folk music broadcasters who operate out of university radio stations, Jan’s programs on aired on commercial radio. After nearly 30 years of broadcasting, Jan still feels the energy, learning and adapting to the changing world of folk music. He is often spotted at folk festivals and folk related conferences.
Wonderful Grand Band, St. John's NL
Ron Hynes – lead vocal
Sandy Morris – guitars and dobro
Ian Perry – bass
Kelly Russell – fiddle
Jaymie Snyder – fiddle
Paul "Boomer" Stamp – drums
Rocky Wiseman – drums
Glenn Simmons – guitars
The Wonderful Grand Band was a music and comedy group from Newfoundland and Labrador that recorded two LPs: The Wonderful Grand Band (featuring Sonny’s Dream) in 1978 and Into A Fog in 1981. The group had a short-lived eponymous television musical variety show on CBC, airing from between 1980 and 1983. The show starred Hynes, Morris, Perry, Simmons, Snyder, and Wiseman (later replaced by Stamp), as well as CODCO comedians Greg Malone and Tommy Sexton. The show combined original and traditional music with topical comedy sketches and satire, some of which was directed at the CBC itself. The sold-out reunion tour in 2009 featured Greg Malone, Ron Hynes, Sandy Morris Glenn Simmons Jamie Snider, Ian Perry Paul "Boomer" Stamp.