31st annual Filberg Festival is a wonderful Festival, for the entire family. August 2-5, 2013-04-04 ( BC Day Weekend ) Comox, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
The annual Filberg Festival takes place on the grounds of The Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park (www.filberg.com), nine acres of beautifully-landscaped grounds situated on the waterfront in the seaside town of Comox, BC on beautiful Vancouver Island. A public park, now owned by the Town of Comox and administrated by the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park Association, was once the home of Robert Filberg, former president of the Comox Logging Company. Filberg Lodge and Park is now a popular venue for weddings, art shows, concerts, special events and the famous Filberg Festival. While in the Park you can take a tour of the Lodge and learn about the history, visit the Gift Shop, or have lunch at the Tea House. The Lodge, Gift Shop and Tea House are open from May until October.
The annual Filberg Festival now in its 31st year takes place every “BC Day” long weekend over four days. This year the Festival takes place August 2-5, 2013.
The main objective of the Filberg Festival has always been to encourage excellence in all forms of arts and crafts, and to assist in the promotion and sale of quality work. We are proud to say that the Festival has an established reputation for the excellence of the work of its artisans, and today is one of western Canada’s longest running and largest juried outdoor arts show. The Festival is also well known for the quality musical program provided over the four day weekend on two stages.
Gate admission is charged at the Filberg Festival, as it is the primary fundraiser for the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park, a not-for-profit organization who has the responsibility of repairing and maintaining the Park’s property and buildings. Advance tickets are available for purchase online at www.filbergfestival.com, the Filberg Lodge Gift Shop, the Vancouver Island Visitor’s Centre and Arizona Gifts in the Comox Mall as of June 1st and at all Vancouver Island Thrifty Foods locations as of June 21st. Four day passes are also available.
When they say “it takes a village” it really does in this case. In order to make the Filberg Festival a reality it takes the support of the community which includes over 300 volunteers and many local businesses.
We hope that you will be able to include the Filberg Festival in your vacation plans this summer and find something special to take home with you… whether it is a beautiful piece of art work, a scented soap or just fond memories of enjoyable day in the Comox Valley. Thank-you for your support of the Festival, the Artisans and the Performers!
For more information visit www.filbergfestival.com or contact 1-250-941-0727.
Booths nestled amongst the towering trees of the Filberg Park are full of hidden treasures and one-of-a-kind items, making the Festival a shopper’s dream! The Filberg Festival features “The Samphires” as guest Artisans this year
Lisa, Sid & Adele Samphire – 2013 Filberg Festival Guest Artisans
Our first experience of the Filberg Festival was in 1996. Various craftspeople had told Adele that the Festival was well attended and a quality event. We decided to apply for a spot for the first two days and see how we liked it.We enjoyed the experience very much and promised ourselves that we would apply again in 1998. We were already committed to a year in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. We were going on our second teaching exchange for the 1997 school year
Fortunately, on our return to BC we were accepted as participants at the Festival and enjoyed our four days. The Filberg site is beautiful and the atmosphere, generated by the artists, both visual and performing and the enthusiasm of the visitors is friendly and exciting.
For the last three years we have displayed our work with the glass that our daughter, Lisa makes http://www.samphireglass.ca/. The combination of glass and clay forms display well together producing a fuller range of colour, a stronger awareness of light and, consequently, a greater sense of cheerful energy that our customers and visitors seem to enjoy.
Since 1998 we have missed two Festivals. Each year we look forward to participating in this wonderful event as it gives us the opportunity to display our latest ideas and also to renew friendships with fellow artists and many regular visitors.
2013 looks as if Filberg will be particularly exciting for us. We are already making plans with Lisa for what we need to do to have a strong display.
Adele and Sid Samphire.
Beautiful, Historic Setting for Canadian Arts, Crafts & Music
Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park offers nine acres of ocean-side splendour at Comox on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
The 4,000 square foot Filberg Lodge itself is open for tours. The authentic stone and wood Arts & Crafts structure features a front door sculpted from Douglas fir, western cedar beams and yellow cedar plank walls. The stairway is built from a single yew tree, using the trunk as the center post and a limb for the banister. Surrounding the lodge are acres of gardens and landscaped grounds dotted with over 100 trees from all over the world and distinctive outbuildings. The wooded areas are home to native wildlife such as deer
Entertainment Schedule 2013
FRIDAY Aug.2 – 2013
NOON to 12:45 – FRED EAGLESMITH
1 PM to 1:45 – FRED EAGLESMITH:
2 PM to 2:45 – BLUES PANEL CONCERT
3 PM to 3:45 – BLUES PANEL CONCERT
4 PM to 4:45 – SOJOURNERS
5 PM to 5:45 – SOJOURNERS:GARDEN STAGE
11:30 AM TO 12:15 – SAM HURRIE
12:30 PM to 1:15 – PRESTON & BONKOWSKI:
1:30 PM to 2:15 – SEAN HOGAN
2:30 PM to 3:15 – SARAH MacDOUGALL
3:30 PM to 4:15 – RICHARD GRAINGER
4:30 PM to 5:15 – KEN HAMM
SATURDAY Aug. 3
NOON to 12:45 – SPIRIT OF THE WEST
1 PM to 1:45 – SPIRIT OF THE WEST
2 PM to 2:45 – PEAR
3 PM to 3:45 – RIDLEY BENT & SEAN HOGAN – SONG SWAP
4 PM to 4:45 – MICHAEL JEROME BROWNE
5 PM to 5:45 – RIDLEY BENT BAND
11:30 AM TO 12:15 – MICHAEL JEROME BROWNE
12:30 PM to 1:15 – PRESTON & BONKOWSKI
1:30 PM to 2:15 – KEN HAMM
2:30 PM to 3:15 – SARAH MacDOUGALL
3:30 PM to 4:15 – SAM HURRIE
4:30 PM to 5:15 – PEAR
SUNDAY Aug. 4th
NOON to 12:45 – MURRAY MCLAUCHLAN
1 PM to 1:45 – MURRAY MCLAUCHLAN
2 PM to 2:45 – FIDDLE PANEL CONCERT
3 PM to 3:45 – FIDDLE PANEL CONCERT
4 PM to 4:45 – FRASER UNION
5 PM to 5:45 – JIM BYRNES
11:30 AM TO 12:15 – CARLI & JULIE KENNEDY
12:30 PM to 1:15 – PATTI LAMOUREUX
1:30 PM to 2:15 – BEN SURES
2:30 PM to 3:15 – WENDY BIRD
3:30 PM to 4:15 – RICHARD GRAINGER
4:30 PM to 5:15 – DANIEL LAPP
MONDAY Aug. 5th
NOON to 12:45 – MICHAEL KAESHAMMER
1 PM to 1:45 – MICHAEL KAESHAMMER
2 PM to 2:45 – DANIEL LAPP
3 PM to 3:45 – JIM BYRNES
4 PM to 4:45 – GREAT CANADIAN SONGS
11:30 AM TO 12:15 – PATTI LAMOUREUX
12:30 PM to 1:15 – FRASER UNION
1:30 PM to 2:15 – WENDY BIRD
2:30 PM to 3:15 – BEN SURES
3:30 PM to 4:15 – CARLI & JULIE
Ben Sures is a veteran of the contemporary folk and roots music scene. His 2005 award in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Competition, for his song “Any Precious Girl”, is evidence of his genius, his originality, and his tenacious ability to flawlessly pick his way to the top of the guitar heap while telling an absorbing story in words that only the craftiest of lyricists could pen. Raised in Western Canada, Ben began playing guitar in high school, and has been writing and performing ever since, touring festivals, small venues and living rooms across the nation. Often featured on CBC, Ben’s performances are energetic and humourous. While Ben’s voice has been compared to Paul Simon, and his songwriting has been compared to Sarah Harmer and Greg Brown, his originality has truly made him a brilliant and outstanding gem in the diamond mine of the Canadian music scene. Ben has penned over 300 tunes and has worked as a commissioned songwriter for CBC radio, in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Edmonton, and done music for film and television, including Sesame Street.
BLUES PANEL CONCERT
Host of the Blues Panel concert this year is guitarist Sam Hurrie who will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Michael Jerome Browne, guitarists Ken Hamm, and Paul Pigat, harmonica player Gary Preston, and Anita Bonkowski on bass/percussion. Each performer is an accomplished musician with their own individual style, but on Friday afternoon they come together and share their extensive knowledge of the Blues with the audience. Their material might range from their own original compositions, to tunes by their Blues heroes from the past, such as Robert Johnson, Elmore James or Sonny Boy Williamson. Each musician takes a turn as lead performer as they showcase the Blues past and present, teaching you a little Blues history along the way.
Carli and Julie Kennedy are a Canadian powerhouse duo with a musical bond that only identical twins can share. With Carli on vocals and guitar and Julie on vocals and violin, they have developed a sound that is all their own: a fusion of their background in country, folk, jazz, and Celtic music. Originally from the small town of Powell River, these sisters are known for their exceptional harmonies, fine musicality, and sincere songwriting style. Carli and Julie started piano lessons at five years old, and three years later discovered the guitar and violin. Taking their musical aspirations to the next level, the sisters entered the School of Music at the University of Victoria and both graduated with their Bachelor of Music degrees in music performance in 2008. Nominated for five 2012 BC Country Music Awards, Carli and Julie were also nominated as the Best Live Act for the 2012 Vancouver Island Music Awards. With a musical connection reminiscent of other Canadian family groups, such as Leahy and The Rankins, audiences are falling in love with the music of Carli and Julie Kennedy.
Daniel Lapp learned the joy of fiddle music from his grandfather, five uncles and numerous accordion-playing aunts. Throughout his diverse musical career, Daniel has learned to play several instruments in many musical genres. He studied jazz at Humber College in Toronto and received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Victoria specializing in trumpet, composition and world music. His jazz influences led him to form the dynamic quartet, Lappelectro, in 2001. Lappelectro fuses experimental elements of various influences including jazz, folk, and electronica. Daniel is the winner of the British Columbia Fiddle Championship and has appeared as a soloist with the CBC Chamber Orchestra as well as the Prince George, Victoria, and Vancouver Symphonies. Subsequently, Daniel was invited to Fiddlesticks, an international meeting of fiddlers in Cork, Ireland to perform selections from his collection of over 1000 indigenous British Columbia fiddle tunes. He also represented Canada in Hanover, Germany at Expo 2000 with Bowfire, an ensemble of eleven critically acclaimed violinists and fiddlers. Over the past ten years, Daniel has taught various fiddle styles to dozens of students at workshops across Western Canada and the United States. He has also been a guest instructor at the Universities of Victoria and Newcastle, England. In 1994, Daniel formed the BC Fiddle Orchestra with ten of his brightest students. In addition, Daniel is the founder of The Victoria Fiddle Society. Daniel Lapp, is a legendary force in Canada’s fiddle scene and a musical mentor to hundreds of students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in the music industry.
FIDDLE PANEL CONCERT
Sunday for the first time ever we present a Fiddle Panel Concert featuring musical guests from across the country. The performers include: PEAR: a husband and wife duo from Alberta. Denis and Lynae were formerly members of Barrage, the most successful fiddle show in the world. Patti Lamoureux with multi-instrumentalistJeremy Rusu: from Winnipeg. Patti was the first woman in history to win the prestigious Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship. Carli and Julie Kennedy: a powerhouse duo, from BC, who play a fusion of country, folk, jazz and Celtic tunes. Daniel Lapp: also from BC, Daniel is a legendary force in Canada’s fiddle scene. Each performer is an accomplished musician with their own individual style, but on Sunday Afternoon they come together and share their extensive knowledge of the Fiddle with the audience. Their material might range from their own original compositions to the traditional fiddle tunes from days gone by.
Fraser Union is Henk Piket, Roger Holdstock, and Barry Truter. Their three strong voices present some songs a cappella and others accompanied by a variety of instruments including guitars, mandolins, Dobro and banjo. Fraser Union performs songs that have a great deal of meaning to them, and their audiences. They tend more towards songs of content, rather than songs of contentment. Many of their songs come from the workplace: “Coal Town Road”, “Empty Nets” (woes of fishing), “Ships of the Deep” (merchant shipping), and “The Ghost Program” (computer programming). Many others tell stories of BC: “Bank Trollers” (about West Coast fishing), “Snap the Line Tight” (log salvaging), “The Ballad of Robert Harkness” (about the Cariboo gold rush), “Kettle Valley Line”, “The Grand Hotel”. But some tell stories from other times and places: “The Last Battle”, about the Métis uprising and the last stand of Louis Riel, “The Goodnight-Loving Trail”, about the most valuable member on the cattle drive–the cook, “Augustus and Catherine”, about the Overlanders, and moving West, and “Lady Franklin’s Lament”, about the ill-fated Franklin expedition. Fraser Union also sings contemporary songs with a bite, “Canaries in the Mine” is about environmental hazards in an aircraft factory; “One Big Highway” is about globalization. Fraser Union has been heard many times on CBC radio and continue to make music that speaks to life and the joy of living.
Acclaimed singer, songwriter and bandleader Fred Eaglesmith is a genuine iconoclast and true original. As he has doggedly gone his own way as an independent musical artist, Fred has also enjoyed such high profile rewards in recent years as having his songs covered by country superstars Toby Keith, Alan Jackson and Miranda Lambert, among many other accomplishments. Throughout the years since his first album in 1980, Fred has managed to blend such genres and categories as rock & roll, country, folk, singer-songwriter, Americana, blues and bluegrass to fashion his own distinctive brand of literate, melodic and rhythmic rocking electro-acoustic North American music. Along the way he has gathered a unique set of accomplishments: a Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional Album, had his music used in films by Martin Scorsese, James Caan and Toby Keith, wrote a #1 hit on the bluegrass charts (“Thirty Years of Farming”, recorded by James King), wowing David Letterman in his US network debut in 2010, and finding his songs included in the curriculum at two colleges. His followers are so devoted that he is the host and centerpiece of a number of music festivals in the US and Canada. When not writing recording and performing music, Fred creates visual art that is exhibited in commercial galleries and museums.
GREAT CANADIAN SONGS CONCERT
As usual, musically we will end the festival with our Great Canadian Songs Concert on Monday afternoon. This year we are extremely honoured to have as our guest one of Canada’s most influential songwriters, Canadian folk icon Murray McLauchlan. Murray has been a part of the fabric of Canadian folk music for many years. He charms listeners with his rich, smooth, singing voice, and he is one of Canada’s best songwriting performers. To experience him perform is to enjoy creative storytelling, social commentary, and wit with a man who clearly enjoys sharing his music with his audience. Murray is passionate about songwriting as an art form and has twenty albums to his credit. His new CD “Human Writes” (his first in six years) is a collection of ten new original songs, featuring Murray on guitar, piano and harmonica, and provides a compelling retrospective of his work. As usual Jake Galbraith, our Main Stage MC, will start the concert off. Jake has been the performing host of the Great Canadian Songs concert since 2004. As a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Jake has immersed himself in the music community for over fifty years as a performer, as well as working in various aspects of concert and record production. Join Murray and Jake, and sing along on the chorus of your favourite Great Canadian Songs, written by your favorite Great Canadian Songwriters.
Jake Galbraith has been indulging his musical habit for more than fifty years now, mostly as a performer, but also in various capacities as a producer and sound engineer. He is known as both a solo singer-guitarist and as a multi-instrumentalist who has performed in a diverse range of ensembles, and he has worked at venues all across Canada. Jake’s current band involvements include the Gabriola Chamber Ensemble (violin), the Malihini Boys Hawaiian music ensemble (vocals, lap steel, ukulele, and slack-key guitar), and backup groups for a few songwriters (vocals, bass, guitar, violin, and mandolin). For several years, Jake booked the feature entertainment for the Victoria Folk Music Society, and he was active in concert production for the Whistling Gypsy Center for Community Music and the Getting Higher Choir in Victoria. He has produced and recorded several CD and demo projects, and in 2009 Jake had a small piece of a Grammy nomination as recording engineer for one song included on the CD “Singing Through the Hard Times: A Tribute to Utah Phillips.” At the Filberg Festival, Jake has been the performing host of the Great Canadian Songs concert since 2004, and he has been the Main Stage MC since 2005.
Jim Byrnes started playing piano at age five, and by age thirteen, he was singing and playing blues guitar. After moving to Vancouver in the mid-seventies Jim put together a band that became a staple of the local music scene. Over the years, he has had the great good fortune to appear with a virtual who’s who of blues history, from Furry Lewis and Henry Townsend to Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Taj Mahal, Robert Cray and many others. The highlight of his musical career: “Sittin’ down in a room with Muddy Waters, just him and me, and he showed me a couple of licks on his guitar.” In 2012, the three-time JUNO Award winner decided to record an album of songs from the golden age of country music, songs he’s been listening to for all of his life. Jim turns back the hands of time to take his listeners into the world of country music, a celebration of the music of Buck Owens, Ray Price, Hank Williams, Marty Robbins and other country music legends. It a rare and exhilarating experience. Whether he is working solo, or with a band, Jim brings soul, intensity and total commitment to the music he loves. After forty years on the blues highway, Jim continues to bring his music to stages throughout North America and Europe.
Ken Hamm has been playing professionally since the late 1960’s. He has a reputation as a dynamic, moving performer, mixing hot slide fingerstyle acoustic blues with original songs based on his travels and encounters. The JUNO award-winning guitarist has built an international reputation through extensive touring in Canada, Africa, the UK, and continental Europe. Ken has also been a teacher of guitar playing most of his life, and includes a busy schedule of workshops and private lessons as he tours. His repertoire of original and traditional blues and roots material have garnered him several nominations for best Acoustic Act of the Year by the Toronto Blues Society and he was also nominated three years running as Best Acoustic Blues Guitarist by North America’s prestigious Guitar Player magazine. Ken was the 2010 recipient of the Great Canadian Blues Award presented by CBC’s Saturday Night Blues host, Holger Peterson. This is a listeners’ choice award for a Canadian blues artist who has made a lifetime contribution to the blues.
Michael Jerome Browne is a multi-instrumentalist, a songwriter, and a living encyclopedia of American Roots music. Whether he’s gliding a slide across his national guitar, pulling his bow over the fiddle strings to play a lively Cajun waltz, or frailing away on his gourd banjo Michael’s passion and virtuosity always shine through. 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 home of Montreal. By the age of fourteen, Michael was already a regular on the vibrant folk and coffee house scene adding banjo, fiddle, and mandolin to his masterful command of all variety of guitars and harmonica. When he isn’t performing his own material he is in demand backing up and recording with artists such as: Eric Bibb, Jordan Officer, and Susie Arioli. In the true tradition of folk music, his performances inspire us to see the interconnections between the many cultures and influences that gave birth to American Roots Music. Gospel, Blues, Old-Time, Country, Soul and Cajun; expect to hear all of this and more from a performer who’s been called a street-smart archivist and an absolute treasure.
Michael Kaeshammer doesn’t simply wow you with his chops; he invites you in and talks to you. Yes, he’s a gifted singer and songwriter, a highly trained technician and interpreter, and an incendiary piano player. But also, on stage and off, he’s the consummate host. Michael’s playing is literally, a feast for your ears, one that blends ingredients from his vast store of jazz, soul, pop and R&B influences, served up fresh, piping hot, and with a huge helping of joy on the side. That joy is clear from the very first note, as is Michael’s uncanny ability to take ‘a bit of musical this’ and ‘a touch of musical that’ and create a sound that is uniquely his own. A concert with Michael and his band isn’t the kind of show where you just sit, watch and applaud politely every now and then. Their goal isn’t to intimidate you with the scholarly depth of their music, it’s to entertain, inform and include you. On stage, and on record, it’s all about drawing the audience in. That’s where the joy is, pure and simple. And joy is something Michael Kaeshammer has never had difficulty expressing. When the show comes to a close you will find yourself clapping along with the band on the grand finale, and you’ll still want more. As usual, accompanying Michael will be his stellar rhythm section, drummer Mark McLean and bassist Marc Rogers.
Murray McLauchlan is a Canadian treasure. He began writing songs and performing them in his late teens. After playing at major music festivals, he began to attract wider attention on the club circuit, and played such well-known rooms as The Riverboat in Toronto. Before Murray had actually recorded an album of his own, his “Child’s Song” was already well known after being recorded by American folk star Tom Rush. Live versions of his song “Honky Red” were performed by Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings. Now, many years later, Murray has twenty albums to his credit and his songs have been covered by many other artists, as well as being featured in high school text books. In 1993, to his great amazement, Murray was appointed to the Order of Canada, and in 1998 his book, a memoir titled “Getting Out of Here Alive” was released. It took a year and a half to write and provided a snapshot of the early days of the Toronto music scene as well as some hard looks at its inhabitants. In recent years Murray has joined the mega-songwriter band, Lunch At Allen’s, featuring Marc Jordan, Cindy Church and Ian Thomas. Murray has also released a new CD, his first in six years. “Human Writes” is a collection of ten new original songs, a work of art that explores the light and dark side of humanity, a breathtaking journey with one of Canada’s most influential songwriters. We are very pleased that has Murray agreed to this rare solo appearance.
Paul Pigat is blessed with a jazzman’s sheen, a rockabilly heart and a hobo’s soul. Paul has been creating sweet sounds for some of the best artists in the country with his distinctive guitar playing over the last several years, quietly compiling a list of credits that would be the envy of anyone in the music business. It doesn’t take very long to hear why his intuitive rhythms and fluid, creative solos have become an indispensable part of so many musicians’ and bandleaders’ sounds. Whether he’s playing a searing solo to elevate the soaring vocals of a traditional gospel rave up from the Sojourners or flying in to support Jakob Dylan at a showcase in New York, Paul’s singular dedication and peerless work ethic have earned him a growing respect within music’s inner circle. However impressive the list of credits he’s compiled over the last few years has been, it’s when you get to hear Paul on his own that his star really shines. All of the ideas that have been percolating for years while he’s been playing in the background have the chance to come out into the limelight and have their moment in the sun. Paul simply gives into his muse and exuberantly follows wherever it carries him. From solos raw enough to melt the door off an old Cadillac to delicate etudes written for the crows to fly home to, Paul is a guitarist who can truly play it all.
Patti Lamoureux is often referred to as one the smoothest fiddle players in North America, known for her effortless delivery of some of the best traditional Canadian fiddle music of all time. Her old time fiddle style is described as a little bit Métis, a little bit Québecois, and a whole lot of feel. Patti is in high demand for performances, teaching, recording and judging fiddle contests all across Canada. She is a three time Grand North American Champion, and in 1994, 1995 and again in 1996, Patti won the prestigious Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship in Ottawa, ON. Patti was the first woman, and the first Western Canadian in the history of Canada to ever win. Patti offers private fiddle lessons for intermediate and advanced level fiddlers in her home in Winnipeg, and thanks to the technology of today, Patti also offers private online fiddle lessons anywhere in the world via Skype. With students across Canada, the US, and even overseas, Patti keeps busy passing along the tradition of Canadian fiddling globally. Accompanying Patti will be multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Rusu. Blind since birth, Jeremy’s entire life has revolved around music. Whether it’s on jazz piano, drums with a big band, country lead guitar, bluegrass mandolin, or accordion, Jeremy is right at home on a stage.
In 1997, Lynae and Denis Dufresne began their professional touring career as members in the cast of the most successful fiddle show in the world, Barrage. Although based in Calgary, they called a tour bus home for the better part of five years. Their production of Barrage: The World on Stage was aired by every PBS station in the United States, and the CD by the same title rose to the Top 5 on the Billboard World Music chart. They helped build the show that the Disney Corporation dubbed “the hottest fiddle show in the world”, performing shows in Canada, USA, Scandinavia, England, Scotland and China. After finishing with Barrage in 2003, they began lending their fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and vocal abilities to a host of top country, folk, and rock music acts, quickly becoming two of the most sought after live and session players in Canada. Then in 2006, after playing with virtually every major act in Canada, Lynae and Denis joined forces to form PEAR. With Lynae as the songstress and Denis as the musical backbone, PEAR quickly developed a grassroots following in both Canada and the US. Having thrilled festival goers around the world, PEAR was named the 2013 Group of the Year by the Association of Country Music in Alberta. With the release of their debut album and an extensive live performance tour with dates in Canada, the US, Cuba, China, and Europe, PEAR is prime for the picking.
Preston & Bonkowski are a swinging little duo with Gary Preston on piano, vocals and harmonica and Anita Bonkowski on bass and percussion. Gary plays the blues with a strong personal style, and has performed from Toronto to Detroit to Vancouver, as well as in Europe and the Caribbean. He has been featured at major festivals, and made numerous other appearances in recordings, jingles, television and radio. Over the years, Gary has shared the stage with Eric Burdon, James Cotton, Lee Oscar, Colin James, Dutch Mason, The Ray Charles Orchestra, Otis Rush, John Hammond, and the late harmonica master, Junior Wells. Anita has worked nationally and internationally as a drummer, bassist, composer and arranger. Since earning her Masters Degree in Music, she has been busy, playing in various blues, jazz, and R&B bands, as well as with musical theater and show bands. Anita is also a composer and arranger, and her pieces can be heard on radio stations in Canada and the US. She has played numerous festivals and clubs across North America, Europe and the Caribbean. As a percussionist, Anita has backed performers such as Johnny Mathis, Englebert Humperdink, and the Moody Blues. Preston & Bonkowski’s music has taken them far and wide, always upbeat and fun, with plenty of juicy harmonica and deep rhythmic grooves.
Richard Grainger is a singer and songwriter steeped in the Northumbrian and English Folk Traditions. After twenty-four years in the business, he is acknowledged as one of the finest exponents of folk song in the UK and has earned respect for his tireless efforts to promote folk music. Richard is a guitar player with his own unique approach to accompaniment. With more than a dozen albums to his credit, he is among the UK’s most prolific folk song writers. Richard has been involved in many art and heritage projects, working with artists, local authorities, galleries, museums and festivals to create new songs. He has also created five productions for the stage, and appears on TV and radio. In between times he tours and is always hotly pursuing his latest idea or song. Richard takes his music around the world, touring in the UK, the US, Canada, New Zealand, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. He’s got a sense of humour too, widely acknowledged for his introductions, which turn into fascinating and often hilarious stories in their own right. He is a folk singer in the truest sense.
Ridley Bent spent his childhood traveling across the country and overseas as part of a military family. A true Canadian, he has lived coast to coast and in between, originally hailing from Halifax, living in Vancouver for many years, and now currently residing in Winnipeg. Ridley’s life experiences come alive on his albums. He is an exceptional lyricist who seems to have an endless cast of characters running around in his head. With numerous awards and accolades to his name, it is clear that Ridley’s enthusiastic story telling has not gone unheard. In 2008 and 2009 he was nominated for more than twenty awards, including CCMA and BCCMA awards. Most humbling for Ridley was the BCCMAs, winning eight awards, including Fans Choice, Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist. With three acclaimed albums under his hat already, the multi-award winning singer-songwriter and outlaw storyteller is an incisive, witty and an exceptionally literate lyricist. His albums read like a collection of short stories, showcasing Ridley’s keen fascination for characters whose life on the straight and narrow rarely lasts past the nearest exit to a short, crooked road.
Sam Hurrie has been playing blues and roots music for over forty years and is a walking encyclopedia of blues music and history. He discovered the blues shortly after starting to play guitar at the age of twelve. Sam started out in Toronto playing the Yorkville scene in the late 1960′s. The folk/blues revival of the time afforded Sam the opportunity of seeing some of the first generation acoustic blues artists live, such as Gary Davis, Bukka White and Son House, who were performing at Toronto coffee houses. Later as part of the Toronto band the Churls, Sam moved to New York to record for A&M Records and tour the US extensively. During that time Sam was fortunate enough to jam with some of the greats of the period, including Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Miles. Sam’s all-time thrill, however, was opening for his idol Muddy Waters at New York’s Electric Circus. During a tour through Europe Sam derived a great satisfaction from sharing with the audience some of the history behind blues music, the fascinating stories and the wonderful characters that originally performed what is the wellspring for American popular music. After returning to Canada, Sam continues to perform at many festivals and blues clubs across the country.
Sarah MacDougall is an upcoming artist who is getting known for her honest and poetic songs, blistering guitar chops, passionate performances, and unique astounding voice. She has been earning rave reviews and topping major music writers top ten album of the year lists as a songwriter with her official debut album “Across the Atlantic” (2009), all the while producing and engineering her own music. Sarah’s songs have been chosen for onboard entertainment on Lufthansa airplanes twice, and she has become the #1 most played artist on Canadian Galaxie Folk/Roots radio. Sarah has performed with such notable artists as Mary Gauthier, Todd Snider, Kimmie Rhodes, and toured with Po’Girl. Her new full-length release, “The Greatest Ones Alive” features ten melodic, beautifully written, epic, and touching songs that showcase the growth in Sarah’s songwriting and performance skills. It covers themes such as storms (literal and metaphoric), success, growing up, love, friendship, and dying. Sarah MacDougall is one of the hardest working Canadian artists today.
Sean Hogan is a country music singer songwriter. The response to his debut album in 1996 was extraordinary. His uniquely authentic blend of “alt-country” and “modern rustic pop” immediately caught the attention of country radio and music fans across Canada, leading to his first CCMA award. His next two albums were each named Best Country Album at the West Coast Music Awards, and were followed up with the CCMA’s Roots Artist of the Year award in 2003. The next album won three more music industry awards and was named the second best album of 2005 by the Country Music News. Hit single after hit single became staples of country music radio and eighteen Sean Hogan music videos aired on Country Music Television. In the spring of 2011, Sean was touring and getting ready to release his next album “Phoenix”. But all wasn’t well. Sean was finding touring exhausting and had a chronic sore throat. By mid-August he was diagnosed with throat cancer. Months of rigorous chemotherapy and radiation followed. After a harrowing six months, Sean received a clean bill of health in March 2012. Sean had no idea when he named his new album “Phoenix” that this would be a comeback. As he predicted in the title track, “Like a phoenix flying out of the ashes, I will rise.”
The Sojourners have created a classic gospel group where the echoes of doo wop, R&B, country and blues weave together to create a unique sound that has all but vanished from today’s world. This is gospel music that can take a punch and remain standing. The Vancouver based Sojourners sound just as at home in a roadhouse bar as they do in a revival tent. Their song “Eyes on the Prize” from their CD “Hold On” was selected for inclusion in “Let Freedom Sing”, a Time-Life compilation box set celebrating the music of the American civil rights era. The Sojourners were also pleased to participate in both the CD and DVD of the award-winning “Things About Coming My Way: A Tribute to the Music of the Mississippi Sheiks”. They receive a steady stream of invitations to contribute to the recordings and live performances of a diverse range of artists, spanning several genres, from the outer reaches of jazz to beat box and street poetry. Highlights of the group’s time together include a definitive show with the Dixie Hummingbirds, opening spots with Jim Byrnes at the Vancouver Jazz Festival for both Dr. John and the Blind Boys of Alabama, and featured stages at most of the major Canadian folk and roots festivals. The Sojourners are a rock solid unit and proof positive that faith can move mountains. Sinner or saved, you should listen to The Sojourners. You’ll feel better for it.
Celtic folk rockers Spirit of the West have a dedicated following of fans from all over the world. The band is John Mann: Guitarist, vocalist and charismatic front man. John is also an accomplished actor who can be seen on television and in movies often pretending to be an assassin, ghost, devil, redneck, spy, and other characters that simply don’t scan if you know this vegetarian peacenik. Geoffrey Kelly: Flutes, whistles, bodhran, guitars. Geoffrey was born in Scotland and raised in North Vancouver. One of Canada s finest Celtic musicians, he can be found appearing all over the world as a guest with acts such as The Irish Rovers and the Paperboys. Hugh McMillan: Multi-instrumentalist. Hugh is capable of playing practically anything with strings on it. He is a producer, composer and engineer, and can be seen appearing as a guest in concert and on CD with James Keelaghan, Oscar Lopez, Don Ross, and many others.Vince Ditrich: Drums, percussion, vocals. Although well known for his comedic onstage antics, Vince has appeared in concert, and in the studio, with artists the likes of Great Big Sea, Oscar Lopez, James Keelaghan, Mae Moore, and many others. Tobin “The Gull” Frank: Basses, piano, organ, and accordion. He has been a guest performer on albums by numerous other Canadian artists, and has also performed with some of Canada’s leading symphony orchestras, including the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Wendy Bird is one of the great secrets of the Vancouver music scene. A natural singer, blessed with a deep blue voice, and a lot of soul. She was the original singer in the Lost Durango’s, a fabulous country punk band in the mid 1980′s, but the recordings she made with them were never released. A few years later she hooked up with Jeff Hatcher of the Sugar Beats, an offshoot of Canadian country-rock greats the Blue Shadows, and they recorded a great album, but it was never released. So Wendy more or less faded from sight, singing as a hobby, until the Fall of 2009, when she released her debut CD, “Natural Wonder”. Featuring songs written by Jeffery Hatcher, and backed by many talented musicians, including: The Odds, Barney Bentall & The Legendary Hearts, Colin James and Elvis Costello, the highly praised CD led to several performances in San Francisco at the renowned Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Besides working with producer Craig Northey on film scores, Wendy can be heard on albums by Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts, Murray McLauchlan, The Paperboys, David Gogo, Bob Kemmis, Russ Toman and many more. For the past few years, when not performing on her own; Wendy is one of the featured singers in the bluegrass group the High Bar Gang, and is a member of Barney Bentall’s Grand Cariboo Opry.