J.P. (John Paul) Cormier is a Canadian bluegrass/Folk/Celtic singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He was born in London, Ontario in 1969 and began playing guitar around age five. As a child he displayed an unusual ability to play a variety of instruments by ear and won a guitar contest at age nine.
Mr. Cormier has stated that he learned to play guitar by listening to such noted country / bluegrass musicians as Chet Atkins and Doc Watson. Other instruments J.P. has played on his albums include fiddle, twelve string guitar, upright bass, banjo, mandolin, drums, percussion, synthesizer, Cello, Tenor Banjo and piano.
By age 16 Cormier had recorded his first album (a collection of bluegrass instrumentals) and he began working the U.S. festival circuit. This led him to move to the United States and to begin working as a session musician. He continued to perform live on the festival circuit and at the Grand Ole Opry with country artists Waylon Jennings, Marty Stuart, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe and others.
Matt Patershuk sings his own songs and tries to tell the truth. Both of those things can be tough to do. Matt has gotten a little better at the latter since turning 30 - the result is his debut album “Outside the Lights of Town”
A self-taught singer songwriter who admires Kristofferson, Williams Sr., Prine, Cash, Eaglesmith, BB King and Willie P. Bennett, he grew up in Northern Alberta and BC, settling just outside the town of LaGlace. Always a little out of place wherever he goes, he often has one foot in the place where he lives, and one somewhere else. This mix of perspectives, as an observer and a participant, has shaped Matt’s songwriting. Simple, to the point lyrics and instrumentation are the trademarks of his music. In his songs he tries to show the humor and sorrow that exist together in real life.
Since overcoming a shaking, sweaty, white knuckle fear of the stage, Matt has grown to love live performance and has taken every chance to play in any restaurant, bar, rodeo ground or house concert he can. It doesn’t matter if it’s for one 12-year old kid sweeping the stands or a venue full of people.
In the winter of 2012, he ventured to the big smoke and bright lights of Vancouver to make “Outside the Lights of Town” with The Dirty Plaid Orchestra and talented producer Steve Dawson. The result is a rootsy trip through rural Canadian life. The record features the instrumental talents of multiple Juno winner Dawson, superb fiddler Kendal Carson and vocal performances by Grammy award winner Laurie Lewis.
Matt currently resides in LaGlace, Alberta. Other interests include his wonderful wife and daughters, moderately priced Scotch and very cheap friends.
Original music and stories from the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies.
Reflecting over 65 years of adventure, The Wardens - Bradley Bischoff, Scott Ward and Ray Schmidt - share original songs and stories about the history and traditions of Canada's National Park Warden Service.
Superb musicianship, haunting vocals and chilling tales from three men who spent their careers in the most rugged of all places. The Wardens bring it. Blood, sweat and tears of bygone days in Banff and Jasper. True tales from these Men for the Mountains.
Ridley Bent and Chris Dunn
"Ridley Bent is one of Canada's strongest singer-songwriters, an exceptional lyricist who seems to have an endless cast of oddball characters running around in his head."
- John P. McLaughlin, The Vancouver Province
"funny, incisive, witty and an exceptionally literate lyricist, and he knows how to rock out... There's not a wasted track"
- Greg Quill, The Toronto Star
"A beat-poet cowboy that can sing a broken hearted country song [that will] make you want to cry"
- Lynn Saxberg, The Ottawa Citizen
The Allen Christie Band
Edmonton born prairie balladeer Scott Cook is a minstrel for the modern era. Equally at home quoting American political philosopher Noam Chomsky, discussing politics, words, or his love of music, he has managed his life to let him do what he loves -- singing, touring, and making music. Currently in support of his latest CD, "One More Time Around" and travelling this time around as an acoustic trio, Scott makes his way to Saskatchewan for a three-show weekend and will play at the Ghostown Blues B&B on Sunday afternoon.
I met Scott Cook for the first time last year at the Artery in Edmonton, a stop on his Tres Hombres tour. That evening he and the band were electric and electrified - especially during a fervently sung cover of Grateful Dead's "Truckin'". Since then he's been on tour again, to Northern BC and the Yukon. Scott has learned to paint (he wanted to do his own album art for his new CD). Scott wrote, played on, and co-produced this new CD. He put together a band for the CD tour. Scott arranged the tour which will take him from Alberta to Victoria, to Washington for the Juan De Fuca Arts Festival, to Alberta, and then through Saskatchewan before returning to Alberta in June before a European and U.S. Northeast swing in the fall and winter. And, he opened for Brandi Carlile. It's been a busy time.
Scott and I chatted just before his show in Banff about his new album, about life, and about touring. The interview was remarkable in itself as the sound check had gone late and the show was starting soon. Nonetheless, Scott was affable, articulate, and in the moment.
We started with the serendipitous phone call from Terry Wickham, producer of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Terry was looking for an opening act for the sold-out Brandi Carlile concert at the 1,700 seat Winspear Centre in Edmonton. The Winspear show was between the Calgary and Banff dates of Scott's own tour, requiring an Edmonton-Calgary-Edmonton-Banff drive in two days. "I was nervous going into it", Scott admitted, "I'd never played to that many people or in that large a venue". He continued, "you just have to think of what you're there to do. I take a minute before each show to remind myself of why I'm playing, to clear out the mental chatter." An extra motivating factor, his mother. Scott thought, "my mom's out there in the crowd and I just want to do a good job for her".
Scott's background, and degree, is Philosophy and English literature and for a while he taught. Now, he makes his living as a full-time musician. His passion, though, is words. "Singing songs is the fun part", Scott said with a chuckle, but "I like words". What I do is mostly about the words. The words need a place to land". Scott’s albums reflect this passion and his growing emphasis on making the words speak for themselves. This is reflected in his own body of work, from the 1997 musical opus "lux-the plot thickens" through to the excellent 2009 album, "This One's On The House" to 2011's "Moonlit Rambles", to the current CD, "One More Time Around". This ten song CD is simply beautiful; the art is beautiful to look at, the stories behind the songs in the 32 page insert are lovely to read, and of course, the disc is beautiful to listen to. The lyric "Dust off your old dreams" on the song "New Grist" certainly spoke to me. Showing that the universe does pay attention, I heard the intro song to the CD "Pass It Along" today on the radio. "You carry it for a moment, but time won't loan it to you for long. You don't own it. Pass it along". This is one of the best albums of 2013 I've heard so far and is available at scottcook.net.
The acoustic trio live show also reflects his emphasis on the words. Scott plays guitar and sings lead on all of the songs. Melissa Walker, on upright bass, has played electric bass for a number of years for a variety of bands, and enjoys the sound and challenges of playing acoustic bass. Her charming intensity and concentration as she sings with her eyes closed or watches her bass during the show is delightful. Bramwell Park, he of the shy smile, plays banjo, guitar, and mandolin and has brought some mouth harps along on the tour "just in case". So for those of you who catch the show this weekend, stay tuned for that possibility. The trio play both on and off mike; the off-mike portion "making it real" according to Scott. As an added homage to the 'stripped down' nature of the show, both Melissa and Bramwell play in bare feet! Very cool.
The tour reflects Scott's passion for the basics. From a heritage-designated church in Banff to the Packing House in Spences Bridge BC, to dates on Vancouver Island, to Washington State, to his buddies at Kergano's Food for the Soul in Moose Jaw who have promised to cook for the band, to the Happy Nun in Forget, these are places "where I can just hang out and play music” according to Scott. The Moose Jaw show is Saturday the 8th at 1:00 (no cover) followed by an 7:30 P.M. performance in Forget.
The last Saskatchewan date is on the 9th at the Ghostown Blues in Maple Creek. Saskatchewan! Do not -- repeat -- do not miss this show. Seriously.
John Wort Hannam
For five years John Wort Hannam taught grade 9 language arts on the largest reserve in Canada – The Kainai Nation, part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. But in 1997 he heard a Loudon Wainwright III record and was hooked by the music and the stories. In 1998 he bought a guitar and learnt some chords. In 2002 he quit teaching and began to pursue the dream of being a working musician.
John Wort Hannam comes from a long line of people who make a living using their hands. His great-‐great grandfather drove horse and buggy for the village doctor. His great-‐grandfather was a stevedore, his grandfather, a farmer and his father still works as a master carpenter. Wort Hannam now carries on the tradition making his living writing songs and playing music.
He independently released his debut CD “pocket full of holes” in 2003 and his 2nd CD “Dynamite and ‘Dozers” in 2004. His third CD “Two-‐Bit Suit” was released by Black Hen Music in the spring of 2007. In May of 2009 John went back in the studio and recorded "Queen's Hotel". In 2012, he released “Brambles and Thorns”, this time recording with producer Leeroy Stagger and releasing the record on Borealis Records.
He was commissioned to write the official 2011 Alberta Winter Games song “Like The Northern Lights” and the 2012 official song for the 100th Anniversary of the Empress Theatre.
He tours actively as a solo, duo, trio, and at times as a four piece band with John on guitar, tenor guitar, and harmonica and Tyson Maiko on upright bass, Scott Duncan on fiddle, and Brad Brouwer on percussion.
2010 Contempory Album of the Year Winner -‐ Canadian Folk Music Awards 2010 Juno Award Nominee -‐ Roots and Traditional Album of the Year
2009 Grand Prize Winner -‐ Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Competition 2008 North American Folk Alliance Award Nominee
2007 Double Western Canadian Music Award Nominee
2007 New Folk Winner -‐ Kerrville Texas New Folk Songwriting Competition 2007 Grand Prize Winner -‐ Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Competition 2005 Double Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee
2005 Western Canadian Music Award Nominee
2004 Grand Prize Winner -‐ Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Competition
Tim Hus has a voice sweeter than a Husqvarna chainsaw, a wit that is sharper than rusty barbed wire, and a list of songs longer than a Saskatchewan fence line! Hus is hot off the concert trail from twelve weeks of touring with Canadian icon Stompin’ Tom Connors where he was heralded as “The best opening act Tom has had in his 45+ year career”
Hus recently released his highly anticipated fifth CD Hockeytown (his second for Stony Plain Records) joining Corb Lund and the legendary Ian Tyson on the label. Hus comes at his audience like a runaway rig, while firing off image-laden lyrics with the intensity of a western gunslinger. He received a nomination for Roots artist of the year at the 2011 Canadian Music Awards.
Tim’s travelin’ band features Billy MacInnis on fiddle and lead guitar and Riley Tubbs on upright bass. Billy is one of the most accomplished fiddle players from the Maritime provinces of Canada. He has appeared with Prairie Oyster and John Allan Cameron, and has been playing fiddle for the legendary Stompin' Tom for the past seven years. Riley Tubbs from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta lays down “The finest rhythm in the West”. Tim's distinctive songwriting and spirited performances by the members of his dynamic band stand as a cornerstone of authentic Canadiana.
Little Miss Higgins
From the Great Northern Plains of Western Canada, Little Miss Higgins struts and serenades her way, guitar in hand, lips blazoned red, onto any stage. As if she just drove in off the back-road of another time with gravel dust and a sunset trailing behind her, this pocket-sized powerhouse plays music brewed up in old-time country blues sprinkled with a little jazz and maybe a hint of folk. Whether it’s songs about passion or songs about panties, she writes about real things in a rooted and poetic way.
This is all too true on her fourth release, “Across The Plains” (2010), which won two 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards- Outstanding Blues Recording and Best Album Design. A testament to the roots of the music Higgins plays, much of her singing and guitar playing is accompanied by an old-school horn section, guitar, mandolin, banjo, upright bass, muck-bucket bass, and chunky percussion. As well as writing and performing on all the songs, Higgins co-produced the album alongside fellow musician and producer Jaxon Haldane.
Little Miss Higgins (aka Jolene Higgins) was born in Brooks, Alberta, and raised in Independence, Kansas.
Music entered her life early.
“When I was about four my dad bought this old piano at a local bar,” she recalls. “It was a mini grand piano. He brought it home and told me it was mine. I carved my name in the side and started taking piano lessons.”
Growing up playing piano, Higgins now uses guitar and voice as her main instruments as well as her theatre background to bring a “refreshing sound and story to the stage.” She spent a number of years after studying theatre at a college in Alberta, roaming Western Canada, acting in plays, frequenting blues clubs and playing her guitar. Higgins finally settled down in Saskatchewan and that’s when music took the driver’s seat.
Her stage name, Little Miss Higgins suits the undeniably inflammatory mix of her blues and country music repertoire but the moniker was largely accidental. “When I moved to Saskatchewan in 2002 I started hanging out with this Greek guy,” she recalls “He started calling me Little Miss Higgins so I used it on poster for a gig I was doing and it just stuck.”
Over the past five years, Little Miss Higgins has built a strong national reputation throughout Canada, appearing in clubs and on festival stages in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Owen Sound, and Canso, Nova Scotia performing most often as a duo with partner and guitar player, Foy Taylor.
If Keith Richards, Joan Jett and Ray Charles could somehow spawn a love child, it'd be Romi Mayes (suitably pronounced RAW-ME). Hailing from Winnipeg, Canada, and renowned as one of the hardest working independent musicians touring the globe today, Mayes has chipped away at the rock and roll stone over the past couple of decades, and now, this Juno nominated, five time WCMA award winner, has done it again.
Recently winning her third Songwriter of The Year award at The Western Canadian Music Awards, Mayes' latest and fifth full length album, 'Lucky Tonight' stamps one more victory in this bad ass guitar playin lady's discography. Featuring guitar demon Jay Nowicki of the well known rockin blues band 'The Perpetrators', Mayes chose to record a rare electric duo album. Not unique enough for ya? Inspired by what another Winnipeg raised artist, Neil Young, did with his 1973 release 'Time Fades Away', Mayes and Nowicki recorded an album of all unreleased and unrecorded brand new songs live and in one take at a sold out concert in Winnipeg in the middle of winter.
All brand new tunes.
And in one take.
"Romi and Jay are an absolute force of an electric blues duo. The end result is an album that's carefully balanced between grinding, grooving roadhouse rhythms, heartfelt guitar solos, and Romi's aching, yearning voice and lyrics," says Uptown Magazine's John Kendle.
This kind of risk exemplifies Mayes in all she does and goes in tow with her ballsy, heart on her sleeve and straight shootin attitude. With song titles like "Don't Mess With Me", "Can't Get You Off (My Mind)", and title track "Lucky Tonight" her raw, edgy songs take no prisoners and tell it like it is. Not at all a one speed driver, Romi Mayes can also gear down the big rig and hypnotize you with honest sultry, sweet and sexy tunes that have schooled young men and made grown men cry.
She has shared the stage and toured with greats such as Derek Trucks, Levon Helm, Ricky Skaggs, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Jim Cuddy, Tom Russell, Martha Wainwright, Gurf Morlix, Sam Baker, Hayes Carll, Todd Snider, Jimmy LaFave, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Slaid Cleaves, The Flatlanders, Sue Foley, Dale Watson, Fred Eaglesmith, Corb Lund, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings and many more. Romi Mayes is a force to be reckoned with that will be a household name for years to come. She is only getting better with each album and one thing you can bet on is this hard core prairie gal has no plans to burn out or fade away.
Belle Plaine plays trio show to kick off labour day weekend!
Friday, August 31, 2012, doors open at 6:00pm, show at 8:00pm
Tickets $25 in advance, call 306-661-8481 - Beer Garden and Food available
Belle Plaine's voice silences noisy taverns.
Born and raised on a farm near the village of Fosston, Saskatchewan, Belle Plaine is a true prairie girl. A performer by the age of five, she was the ringer for every local musical event. Classical voice lessons began at age six and continued through high school. At 18, she knew what she wanted: to write songs, perform and have a home recording studio.
But when she moved to Edmonton to study jazz at Grant MacEwan College, her focus shifted toward a more technical aspect of music: sound recording. After graduation, she worked at a recording studio in Calgary - close to the action, but not in the game. She occasionally sang jingles for commercial radio, but the work felt meaningless.
“I gave up on music in Calgary. I’d lost touch with my own voice. I had years of education, but artistically I felt drained,” Plaine recalls.
After two years at the studio Plaine realized she was better off waiting tables. Eager for change, she enrolled at the University of Victoria as an environmental science major. Science was not the right choice, but she had found the right city. Having fallen in love with Victoria’s vibrant arts community she dropped out of school. She also began to sing again.
Two co-workers heard her voice at the Cook Street Village coffee shop where they all worked. Soon after they informed her that they were starting a band and she was in it.
A handful of performances at open mic nights followed. Plaine began to write. An itch to travel carried her to Sydney, Australia. She waitressed at a dodgy restaurant, lived in a house with 10 boozy Australians and played gigs with a pack of mongrel musicians. There were pub shows, garage demos and back-up vocals. During her year abroad, she discovered she wanted to be a singer. Again.
In 2006, Plaine returned to her home province of Saskatchewan. She had not planned to live in Regina, but quickly found a home in the city’s arts community. The scene was small and welcoming. She decided to stay.
By this time, Plaine’s notebooks were filled with words and melodies. She left her job to perform full-time in early 2010.
“It just feels good to sing for people. It’s what I do the best, more than anything. It’s about time I’m doing it for a living,” Plaine says.
Ed Brown - Dinner and Show: 35$
Cowboy Poet, Singer, Songwriter, Wildlife Artist and Sculptor
Ed Brown is a former bronc rider and a founding member of the Manitoba Rodeo Association (M.R.C.A.). In 1997 Ed was inducted into the M.R.C.A Hall of Fame. In addition to ten years as a rodeo cowboy and seven years working with racehorses, Ed has worked as a trapper, commercial fisherman, musician and wildlife artist. This diversity of occupations, along with a sense of humor developed through a life-long association with cowboys, trappers and various other colorful characters, is reflected in his exclusively original poems, songs and stories. Some of Ed's accomplishments to date include being featured on several TV documentaries such as Cowboys, Heroes and Horses That I've Known & Minstrels of The West. He has appeared in several magazine articles and done guest spots on a variety of TV and radio shows including Spirit of The West and more recently Canadian Cowboy Country TV.
Ed has headlined at almost all of the major cowboy poetry gatherings and festivals in Western Canada and in 2005 was named Manitoba's Cowboy Poet of The Year. Recently, Ed's third CD , Cowboy Collaboration a joint project between Ed and fellow poet Bj Smith, was honored by the Academy of Western Artists in Dallas Texas receiving the coveted Will Rogers Award for Cowboy Poetry CD of The Year.
When not touring in Alberta, Ed resides near Oak Lake Manitoba where he makes his living as a wildlife sculptor and cowboy performer