The 17th Annual
The Porcupine Awards - 2006

for an outstanding musical accompanist


Known for his work in the Bebop Cowboys, Burke has been the session player of choice whenever somebody needs the bent notes of a steel guitar. And bend them, he does! Beautiful whines and dipping fog horns blend melodiously behind the scene to bring out the mood of the performance.

only virtuosos need apply!



A fabulous guitar player known for his playing in the duet Zubot and Dawson, he has excelled at his craft through diligence and hard work. He makes his instruments speak in many different languages, using tonal qualities and sliding techniques. It sounds too easy!

This is the Mac Beattie Award for musicians who are proud to be identifiably Canadian.


He’s from Arnprior in the heart of the Ottawa Valley, Mac Beattie’s hometown. He writes mature songs with an air of romantic beauty silhouetted beneath his gravely voice. He’s an engaging performer cut out of the John Prine mold. The Canadian landscape is invariably lacquered into every one of his songs.

The find of the year Award!


KIM BEGGS, Whitehorse, Yukon

She began playing guitar and performing in public just a few short years ago, but already her quirky country songs beg another listen. Her first CD, Streetcar Heart, was new and exciting. Her new CD, Wanderer’s Paean, has marked her as an unmistakable new talent.

that which was brought here to enrich us all


Five women playing Klezmer music! This Toronto ensemble came out of nowhere to produce a high quality, entertaining recording of Yidish celebration. They are Reena Katz - Rachel Melas - Conny Nowe - Bee Sack and Rachel Sheinin.

something or someone that's way out there and not stopping


Lewis plays guitars but thinks about things their language differently. He writes good songs in that same, melodic way. He doesn’t conform to the typical patterns that trap others in its box. His CD, Noah’s Work, cuts through the darkness, healing confessions for a November day.




This organization germinated in the mind of the late Earl Heywood as a way of preserving the memory of the CKNX Saturday Night Barn Dance. Founded in the early 1990s, the Society has now opened a Museum and has resurrected the Saturday Night Barn Dance.


Published by Methuen Publications, 1972

This book was way ahead of its time. Compiled by Guelph University professor of English, it blended the lyrics of Canadian poets with that of popular Canadian recording artists. But to put this book into a realm of its own, Hogan ran a contest inviting High School students from across the country to submit their poems for consideration. Thus, the book includes their poems along side those of Milton Acorn, Leonard Cohen, Gwendolyn MacEwen and Margaret Atwood, with the song lyrics of Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Cockburn, Willie Dunn, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, The Band and Stompin’ Tom Connors.

a song is a song is a song eh? Ya, right!


Songwriting is a dedicated skill, and having honed that skill over three decades David Bradstreet continues to produce wonderful vignettes that are extremely enjoyable to listen to. But that’s not quite enough to be considered for the Golden Quill award. One also has to have written memorable songs, songs that linger in the mind, songs we can all go back to. Like Renaissance, a Valdy hit that he penned in the 1970s. He has done a mountain of work writing music and songs for TV and Films as well as for commercials.

one that keeps coming back at you


When I first heard this song I had no idea what a mooshim was. But the song, written by Raven Kanataka, took on a new meaning for me after he and Shoshona Kish visited the Sugar Camp and explained: Mooshim is Grandfather. It’s a great song blending the sensibilities of family with the land, hope over death, and celebration.

to those who make CDs sound so great


Alec has been producing music from his Liquid Sound Studio for many years. A favourite of the Toronto blues scene, he has also branched out into other fields of music. His work is transparent, never threatening, a bit bass heavy and full but always easy to listen to. He leaves just enough head room for the listener to breathe.

just a good excuse to recognize another great CD

     Produced by Gurf Morlix in Winnipeg’s Bedside Studio

When I was told to expect the new Romi Mayes CD I thought I knew what to expect – more of what she did on the first one. But no! Here is a sensuous ‘Album’ of songs, immaculately produced, excellently mastered with no hooks or humour. It’s just a great album of original songs that you just want to hear over and over again.

must be at least 25 years old

THE ESQUIRES - THE ESQUIRES, Ottawa, ON Produced by Clint Hierlihy and recorded at the RCA Victor Studios, Montreal, August, 1964

This was the very first major album release on Capitol Records by a Canadian pop band. From Ottawa, Ontario, this band of rockers could get anyone dancing. They could rock and rave, get slow and serious, burst out with guitar driven instrumentals backed by a tight rhythm section. They were Don Norman (vocals), Gary Comeau (lead guitar), Clint Hierlihy (bass), Paul Huot (rhythm) and Richie Patterson (drums).

A Great Canadian Album

     Restored and Engineered by Mike Striver at Freightyard Studios
     Produced by Lynn Russwurm and Grant Heywood for The Barndance Historical Society

Al Cherny died in the late 1980s so it was quite a surprise to find and remaster the lost recordings. A mainstay on the CKNX Saturday Night Barndance broadcast over CKNX radio, Wingham, Ontario, these recordings are live, natural, and contain some jovial interplay with comedian Cactus Mac as well as MC Earl Heywood, egging Al on. It’s actually the best fiddle album I’ve ever heard. Mastered just nicely, it’s a picture of the past just the way you’d want to hear it right now.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Dorothy & Homer Hogan

A book could be written about this American ex-patriot couple who arrived in Canada in the early 1960s as a result of the McCarthy pogroms in their native land. They settled near Elora and quickly established themselves as motivators, movers and shakers. They founded Springwater Productions which spawned two great LPs: Maple Sugar (1973) and The Great Canadian Fiddle (1975). Dorothy created and directed the Maple Sugar Revue which featured some of the top names in Canadian folk music in the 70s. Porcupine Award Hall of Fame band Tamarack spawned out of the revue in 1979. In the 80s she moved to Montreal and took up with Accordion virtuoso Philippe Bruneau and immersed herself in the Quebecois folk music scene. Homer passed away in 2002 and Dorothy succumbed to Cancer in 2004. She was awarded the Wilf Carter Pioneer Award in 1995.


Ian Bell, Port Dover ON

He’s been researching the history and folklore of southern Ontario since the 1970s. In the 80s he played in Muddy York with Anne Lederman, and spent a while playing for square dancers with caller Jack Hayes. In the 1990s he began releasing CDs of his own compositions. He’s been an artistic director, a curator, and a great source of information. He was awarded two Porcupines: The Noel Dinn Heritage Preservation Award in 1990 and Steve’s Favourite Album for Signor Farini and Other Adventures in 2001.

Pamela Morgan, NFL

Pamela Morgan was lead vocalist for the influential Porcupine Hall of Fame group, Figgy Duff, for over 20 years. Since then she’s been releasing solo albums of her work that are hauntingly beautiful. She was awarded the Noel Dinn Heritage Preservation Award in 1993 and was involved with two Gem of Canada Album awards: The Colour of Amber with Anita Best (1992) and Figgy Duff: A Retrospective, in 1995.

Anita Best, NFL

Anita Best was born in an out-port in Placentia Bay. Her voice is like iron, invoking honesty and hardship as it laces through her life. She was awarded the Gem of Canada award for The Colour of Amber with Pam Morgan in 1992. In 1999 she received the Noel Dinn Heritage Preservation Award for her album of traditional songs called  "Crosshanded”.

Lynn Russwurm, ON

He’s been described as a one-man encyclopedia of Country Music. A musician and songwriter, his songs have been covered by many Canadian country music artists. He’s been a record producer and a member of the Barn Dance Historical Foundation since its inception. In 1997 he was previously awarded the prestigious Marius Barbeau award for field research and produced three Saturday Night Barn Dance CDs to keep the tradition of this mighty institution alive.

Gwen Swick, Elora ON

One of the most poignant voices anywhere, her credits have included her work with Porcupine Hall of Fame band, Tamarack, as well as Quartette, and currently with the Marigolds. Her two solo albums have been tremendous artistic successes. She was awarded the Golden Quill for Songwriting in 1998 and was involved with Tamarack’s Gem of Canada album, Fields of Rock and Snow (1991). In 1994 she was part of the trio’s Canadian History Award for the Tamarack CD, Frobisher Bay.

David Essig, BC

Overlooked by the Porcupines for 16 years, we’re righting the wrongs by admitting David to the Hall of Fame this year. He has worked as a musician, producer and label lord (in the 1970s with Woodshed Records). Player of a fine blues and country guitar, he has also had flings with more exotic instruments: KAYAGUM, a 12-string zither of Korean origin. Over the years he has produced 17 albums of his music. His first LP was Redbird Country released in 1974.

Whiskey Jack, ON

For nearly 30 years this band has plied its wares, playing everything from country to bluegrass to pop songs by the Kinks. Whatever takes their fancy! They backed up Stompin’ Tom on his 1993 cross-Canada tour and were asked to play for his 70th birthday party last February. They started out in the late 1970s and were recording by 1980. They could put Help by the Beatles on the same album as Rocky Top or Sea of Heartbreak and make it work. Through the years the personnel has changed but the One constant has always been is the banjo playing of Duncan Fremlin.

Willie P Bennett, Peterborough, ON

A songwriter, a harmonica player, a guitarist and a mandolinist. Whatever he’s been he’s always been classy, abrasive, sensitive, intuitive and unique. He opened up the world of songwriting for Canadians with 3 solo albums in the 1970s while playing harmonica for the Dixie Flyers. He won a Juno award for his CD, Heartstrings, in 1998. While most of the past 15 years have seen him in the service of Fred Eaglesmith’s Flying Squirrels, his songs have been celebrated by the creation of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, originally a Willie P tribute band. He’s been awarded The Golden Quill for Songwriting in 1999 as well as the Classic Canadian Album award for “Tryin’ To Start out Clean” in 2004.

David Bradstreet, Toronto ON

This year’s recipient of the Golden Quill award (see the write up above)

Mendelson Joe, Huntsville, ON

He was playing in a jugband with Daisy DeBolt in the 1960s before forming Mainline with guitarist Mike McKenna. Known as an artist and a prolific writer political letters that have been published in various newspapers while his paintings have brought life to hundreds of canvases. He released several solo albums of songs over the years before retiring to the quietude of his painting cottage in Muskoka. He was involved with 1995’s Classic Canadian Album award, Stink, by the McKenna Mendelson Mainline.

Bill Houston, Thunder Bay, ON

He recorded one album in the mid-1970s that became an underground hit of sorts. His song, Ojibway Country, was featured in the very first Imax movie feature, North of Superior. Then he faded away only to resurface in the early 1990s, still singing as good as ever and writing excellent songs. He has since released three CDs of his works and is a welcome addition to the Porcupine Awards Hall of Fame.

The Esquires, Ottawa ON

This Year's recpients of the Classic Canadian Album (See write up above)

Magoo, Udora ON

It’s been a long way from the Richmond Inn (in Richmond Hill) for Bruce MacGregor a.k.a. Magoo. Along that way he has secured his place as an MC at several folk festivals, as a kids performer (with Kirk Elliott), and as a songwriter on his own accord. He was one of the guys who came up with the idea for Blue Skies, a utopian Folk Festival which is now 30 years old. Known for his wily sense of humour and zany antics, he hosts A Grand Day in Udora every September, which is also utopian in nature. Awarded the Off-Beat Award in 2001.

Mose Scarlett, Toronto ON

If Canada had a Leon Redbone it would be Mose Scarlett. Singer of Tin-pan alley show tunes and blues, the tall, lean man with the beard could tear up any fingerboard with dexterity and ingenuity, making classic songs sound like his own. He recorded one LP (produced by Bruce Cockburn) in 1981 and waited ten long years before being induced back into the recording studio to record Porcupine Dream award CD ‘When Old Friends meet’ with Jackie Washington and Ken Whiteley. He received the Gem of Canada award in 2002 for Precious Seconds. Track: Somebody Stole My Gal from Precious Seconds

Oliver Schroer, Vancouver BC

He started out as a violinist gone fiddler. He judged at the Shelburne Fiddle Contest. He busked around the St Lawrence Market. Then he stewed his tomatoes. Oliver has gone all over the map with his fiddle playing, releasing several critically acclaimed CDs along with way. Awarded the Off-Beat Porcupine in 1994 for his CD Whirled, and the Lenny Breau Musicianship award in 2001.

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