GARY CRAIG: Drummer, ON
Drummer Gary Craig’s name is listed on the who’s who of Canadian recordings. He's backed up a long list of artists, including Bruce Cockburn, Rick Fines, Ian Tamblyn, Justin Rutledge, Katherine Wheatley, Suzie Vinnick, Corin Raymond and others. He can play heavy or light; always the right touch to give the music whatever is needed.
GEORGE KOLLER, ON: Bass
award the Cec McEachern award for musical accompanist, anyone who has ever
played with him, or has seen him play will know that George is a monster
on the bass. Whether bowing or plucking, stand-up bass or guitar, he intuitively
knows just what to do. Jazz or folk, rock or blues, Koller is top quality
all of the time. After Daisy DeBolt passed away earlier this fall, George
organized a Celebratory concert in her honour.
For music that is identifiably Canadian.
BONNIE STE-CROIX, QC
from Gaspesie, QC, Bonnie traveled west to BC where she lived for many
years before returning east to live in Halifax. In her words: “Between
all that moving around and travel, I grew attached to so many places–I
began feeling like all of Canada was my hometown.” On her way East she
decided to visit every province and territory and record a song about them
chronicled on her excellent album Canadian Girl.
The find of the year Award!
Mike Pendergast, Remi Arseneault, Leon Gallant
MIKE PENDERGAST AND LEON GALLANT, PEI
to meet these two guys last summer, in PEI. I got to see them perform a
number of times, ate with them, hung out with them, and really got to know
them. (Leon as a spaghetti dished named after him at a local PEI restaurant).
Their music is fun, their commitment to Canadian music is second to none,
their songs reflect the reality of life in rural Prince Edward Island.
I just really loved them.
This is for a great, new, contemporary song which captures something unique about the country.
ROB LUTES, QC: COLD CANADIAN ROAD
is an excellent song that portrays the painted landscape of a Canadian
experience. Without trying to be Canadian, it exudes the qualities of our
northern existence. I have no idea what the song is about but it's a catchy,
breathing, living entity that puts us, the listener, on notice. It first
appeared on his 2006 CD release, Ride The Shadows. He recorded an updated
version from a Live recording released earlier this year with Rob Macdonald.
OFF BEAT AWARD
something or someone that's way out there and not stopping
DAVID WOODHEAD CONFABULATION, ON
so David Woodhead has been awarded the Off-Beat before, but this time it's
slightly different. The confabulation is a collective featuring Jaron Freeman-Fox,
Rich Greenspoon, Cedric Smith, Al Cross, Colleen Allen, Christine Bougie
and many more. They feature Woodhead’s music, Oliver Schroer tunes, Lord
Buckley Rants and Pablo Neruda poems in a futuristic beatnik coffee house.
/ TOM McQUESTON AWARD
for old tyme music
HOME SWEET HOME, YT
a wonderful surprise receiving this CD in the mail. They claim: “We made
this album to celebrate the Gwich’in fiddle music found in Old Crow, Yukon,
and to share Kate’s songs about northern life and landscapes.” Great Dene
style fiddling from one of the northern-most settlements in the country.
Full of life and vigor, the album is wonderfully produced by Bob Hamilton
EINARSON WITH IAN TYSON AND SYLVIA TYSON: FOUR STRONG WINDS - ISBN 978-0-7710-3038-3
Published by McClelland & Stewart Ltd, Toronto - 2011
DE LA MONDE
Brought here to enrich us all
LENKA LICHTENBERG, ON
is an excellent album of Yiddish poems set to original music composed by
Lichtenberg. Fray utilizes the services of Tasa: Ravi Naimpally, John Gzowski,
Ernie Tollar, Alan Hetherington and Chris Gartner. I mean, Yiddish music
with tablas! Originally from Prague, she emigrated to Canada and went to
school in BC, got her Masters in Ethnomusicology at York University and
has been performing and recording for about 12 years. (She also performs
in the Sisters of Sheynville).
JON BROOKS, ON
Brooks is one of the most brilliant songwriters to emerge from this country
amidst an almost limitless pool of Canadian talent. Always on the edge,
getting right into the mindset of soldiers, lovers, liars and murderers,
workers and politicians. He puts us into the picture. His forth album,
Cages, is an amazing collection of songs worthy of the Golden Quill Award.
SONG OF THE YEAR
one that keeps coming back at you
CATHERINE MacLELLAN, PEI: SNOWBIRD
disliked this song – the pop versions of it – till I heard Catherine’s
own rendition of her father’s composition. She sings it like she heard
him do it and in doing so created a vacuum that filled my mind with the
imagery he tried to create. Singing a duet with Blue Rodeo’s Chris Cuddy,
it's a stunning addition to an already stunning album Produced by David
Baxter called Silhouette.
to those who make Music sound so great
DAVID GAVAN BAXTER, ON
Baxter has produced some pretty amazing albums, including Silhouette by
Catherine MacLellan. Penny Lang, Bob Snider, The Undesirables, Brian Blain,
The Rizdales, Jadea Kelly, Greg Cockerell, Michael Laderoute, Jack Marks
and Treasa Lavesseur are some of the artists that he has worked with. His
mark is invisible; he lets the music out of the box.
STEVE'S FAVOURITE ALBUM of 2011
STEPHEN FEARING, ON; ANDY WHITE, AUST: FEARING & WHITE
a feeling on first hearing this album that it was going to be in contention
for this prize. Catchy songs, great pop sensibilities, excellent execution
and a moving testament from two strange guys who met ten years ago at the
Winnipeg Folk Festival and really hit it off. Not a lazy note on the album,
it just gets better the more you listen to it.
must be at least 25 years old to qualify
THE WAKAMI WAILERS, ON: THE LAST OF THE WHITE PINE LOGGERS - 1986
has long been one of my favourite Canadian folk albums of traditional logging
songs from the catalog of Edith Fowke. It wasn’t a great recording; it
didn’t feature any virtuosos, but the spirit of the songs is captivating.
Their essence flows out like an infectious brew. A band of Ontario Provincial
Park rangers who first started singing in Wakami Lake Provincial Park who
have two other albums to their credit.
GEM OF CANADA
A Canadian Album that should be in everyone's home
RITA CHIARELLI, ON: MUSIC FROM THE BIG HOUSE SOUNDTRACK
is an award that should make us all proud to call it Canadian. A decade
of research, passion, travel and hard work that culminated into a Bruce
MacDonald film about Rita Chiarelli’s meetings with prisoners in Angola,
the Louisiana State Maximum Security prison farm. Featuring convicts interacting
with Rita, on stage, in courtyards, it's the soundtrack of reality. A most
The first year i've listened to the Porcupines with good speakers!
Beautiful start from Bonnie Ste-Croix
and a rich happy track from Daisy and George
with Gary Craig and the Rodeo crew
taking up the Cec McEachern award!
Classic Canadian the Lumbercamp Song
by The Wakami Wailers - an infectious brew -
heart-warming folk for singing along
and the electric sound of Rita Chiarelli too!
World Music Lenka sweet Yiddish sound
with brass and tabla joining the Fray
Oliver Schroer's off-beat is traveling around
confabulously - and it's David Woodhead's day!
And what's that new to the old Dragon Mine?
Two Prince Edward lobsters lurking down there?
While up there in the north in a landscape so fine
Rob Lute's voice like frozen breath in the air.
Our favourite DJ's favourite one gets to the heart
of the morning - oh! such a happy sound has to be you!
And Maclellan's haunting Snowbird like a dart
swiftly takes us to the land where the heart is true.
Right now David Baxter Rockin' in the South
with a magic touch that lets the music sing
While Home Sweet Home - back in the house
making those foot-tappin' fiddles ring!
Then, taking a subject so hard to explain
Jon Brooks - son of Hammas - the Golden Quill claims
with words that turn war into kind loving rain
- as the Porcupine leaves and steps onto the train.
Yes, very much enjoyed the lovely music.
Jo Swift, Exmouth, UK
Ian & Sylvia Tyson
Sylvia Tyson, Toronto, ON -- Ian Tyson, Pincher Creek, AB
Ian & Sylvia began performing together in 1959. Ian was born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1933. Sylvia (Fricker) was born in Chatham, Ontario in 1940. They married in 1964.
In 1962 they went down to New York City and struck a management deal with Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman. Grossman wanted to get them signed to a major recording label but duo had their hearts set on a deal with the prestigious folk label, Vanguard. This was their biggest mistake! Vanguard was a small label, uninterested in promotion, recording techniques and producing hits. They also had limited distribution.
Still, Ian & Sylvia became the darlings of the North American folk crowd. They influenced Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot and hundreds of other wannabes. They were true folk Royalty. Ian’s very first composition, Four Strong Winds, is a national treasure. Sylvia’s first composition, “You Were On My Mind”, was a world famous hit by We Five. And Ian’s Someday Soon was a huge hit for Judy Collins in 1969.
With the collapse of the folk music market in the late ‘60s, they continued performing together in the Great Speckled Bird, a pioneering country-rock band, until they broke up and divorced in 1975. Ian continued a solo career, finally realizing a US Gold record status when Neil Young recorded Four Strong Winds. Sylvia also had a successful solo career and continues to perform in Quartette.
In 1992 they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame during the Juno Awards ceremony.
In 1994 they were both made Members of the Order of Canada.
In 2005 an extensive Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) poll determined their song "Four Strong Winds" to be the "most essential" piece of Canadian music ever written and recorded.
David Rae, Portland OR
Although David Rae was American, born and raised in Akron Ohio, he made his mark on the Canadian folk music scene. After meeting Ian & Sylvia at the 1962 Mariposa Folk Festival, he was hired by them as a lead guitarist and can be heard backing them up on several of their classic albums. He also backed Gordon Lightfoot on his debut album. Later he went out on his own and co-wrote “Mississippi Queen” which was a hit for the rock group Mountain. He maintained his special relationship with Canada, spending his summers at his cottage on the French River. Indeed, his own publishing company is called Nippissing Music. He recorded several solo album and appeared as a guitarist on many others. He died on Oct. 17, 2011, one day following his 65th birthday.
Ritchie Patterson, Ottawa, ON
Richard Patterson played an important role in the Ottawa area as drummer for pioneer Canadian rock band The Esquires. They were one of the first Canadian rock bands to record an album on a major label, Capitol, and in doing so got to tour across the country, opening for The Beach Boys, The Dave Clark 5 and the Rolling Stones.
In the latter ‘60s, Patterson found himself in bands The Children and 3’s A Crowd with Brent Titcomb, Bruce Cockburn and other Ottawa alumnae. He remained a mover on the Ottawa music scene for over 50 years until he passed away, April 3, 2011, from a neurologtical illness at the age of 67.
In 2006, “The Esquires” was named the Classic Canadian Album of the year at the Porcupines and were inducted, as a band, into the Porcupine Music Hall Of Fame.
Mickey AndrewsMickey Andrews, Toronto
Originally from New Waterford, Cape Breton Island, Mickey Andrews came up to Toronto to play professionally in the 1960s. He hooked up with Randy MacDonald and Gerry Hall and formed a trio called The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, acting as the house band for the iconic Horseshoe Tavern. The band were used to back up many big named country music stars from Nashville. Best known for their work backing Stompin’ Tom on some of his early recordings, Mickey excelled at dobro, steel guitar and snare drumming. After The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, he joined Cabbage Towne and went on to release several solo albums of dobro music.
No many people are aware that Mickey Andrews is also a prolific painter! In the past few years he has been performing with Cape Breton fiddler, Sandy MacIntyre and was hired to tour last summer with Stompin’ Tom.
In 2000 he was awarded the Cec McEachern Award for musical accompanist.
Arlene Cynthia Zock, Toronto, ON
“A real trouper”, is the best way to remember Arlene Zock. For several years she was a steady vocalist with legendary Toronto band Whiskey Jack, who were inducted into the Porcupine Music Hall of Fame in 2006. A number of years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer but never stopped performing. Whenever there was a gig, Arlene would be there. She also used to perform with the George Lake Big Band, which she did last on July 2nd. A couple of days later she rehearsed with Whiskey Jack but was too sick to play at their next gig. She passed away of July 28, 2011.
Jack Richardson, Toronto, ON
Where would Canadian rock music be if it weren't for Jack Richardson? Working for a film company in 1968 he got this idea: why not record an album featuring two well known Canadian rock bands (The Staccatos and The Guess Who) as give-aways for a Coca-Cola marketing scheme? A Wild Pair could only be obtained by sending ten Coca-Cola bottle cap liners and $1 (for shipping expenses) to Coca-Cola.
With the success of A Wild Pair, Richardson decided to mortgage his home and take the Guess Who to New York to record an album which he produced. The result was the seminal “Canned Wheat”. Richardson went on to produce many great albums: Alice Cooper’s Love It To Death, as well as The Irish Rovers, Badfinger, Poco, Max Webster and many others. He spent the last few years of his life teaching at Fanshawe College and the Harris Institute for the Arts. In 2002 the Juno “Producer of the Year Award” was named after him. He passed away May 13, 2011 at the age of 81.
Mike Malihini Scott
Mike Malihini Scott, Toronto, ON
Originally from England, Mike Malihini Scott became a well known Hawaiian guitarist before moving to Toronto in the 1960s. While Canada is not usually known for its Hawaiian music, Scott became a legendary steel guitarist and was awarded “Steel Man of the Year” by the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association in 2001. He has collaborated with Toronto guitarist Tony Quarrington in composing original Hawaiian songs, many of which he has recorded. He is reported to own an astonishing collection of over 86,000 Hawaiian recordings.
Johnny Reid, Charlottetown, PEI
Johnny Reid transformed a Charlottetown restaurant into J.R.’s Bar and also created a bit of history. J.R.’s Bar was a mystical place at the crossroads of time for it was there that Stompin’ Tom Connors and Anne Murray were hired when they first began performing professionally.
Murray claimed that, “Johnny was a great friend to a lot of musicians and performers in the Maritimes. He gave us a place to learn our craft at a time when we all needed a place to play.”
Said Connors: “The first professional job I ever had was on The Island and Johnny gave it to me when I was just getting started.”
Everyone from Bill Haley and His Comets to The Platters and John Allan Cameron graced the little stage in JR’s Bar. He died May 4, 2011 at the age of 84.
Sweet Daddy Reginald Siki, Toronto, ON
He was born Reginald Siki in Montgomery Texas, June 16, 1940 and made his professional wrestling debut when he was just 15 years of age. By 1961 he was living in Toronto: “God’s country,” as he called it. He was known as Mr Irresistible, a black man with platinum blonde hair and became the darling of the Canadian wrestling world. Driving around Toronto in his purple hearse, he was instantly recognized by excited bystanders.
In the 1970s Siki started to perform in country and western bars in Toronto. He recorded a few albums with the irresistible charm of fellow Texan, Charlie Pride. His love for music keeps him in it today, Djing Kareoke every Saturday afternoon at the Duke of York.
To an entire generation of kids growing up in Toronto, the name Sweet Daddy Siki was truly irresistible!
Ben Weatherby, Saint John NB
He was a pioneer Canadian sound engineer and producer in one of Canada’s best, and only, recording studios: ARC Sound. He recorded dozens of country music artists, including Sweet Daddy Siki, but it was his recordings of Porcupine Hall of Famer’s Harry Hibbs and Dick Nolan that really set the stage. Hibbs’ first LP sold over 150,000 copies, an almost unheard of sales figure for a Canadian recording. In all, his ARC Records productions sold over 500,000 copies.
Weatherby was also a singer / songwriter, having recorded over a dozen of his own albums. He died November 23, 2011 at his home in the Miramichi at the age of 75.
Allistair MacGillivray, Glace Bay NS
Allistair MacGillivray grew up in the mouth of gaelic music. A folklorist, record producer, songwriter and performer, he’s been involved with the music scene since the age of 12. He began writing songs shortly thereafter which lead to an association with John Allan Cameron, cutting his teeth as Cameron’s music producer for the John Allan Cameron TV show “Ceilidh”. He played with and produced The Irish Rovers, Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy. But it's his songs that have endured over the years.
“Song of the Mira” is definitely his most famous song, and has been performed and recorded by over 130 artists, from Denny Doherty, Anne Murray, Ryan’s Fancy and John McDermott. He has produced albums by The Cottars, Buddy MacMaster, and many others. And he has authored several books of music and folklore. He currently lives and writes in his native Cape Breton Island.
Jim Martin, Toronto, ON
He had that twinkle in his eye and a love for a good song to sing. He was one of a kind!
I first met Jim at Ossie Branscomb’s legendary Country Music Store in Toronto where there was a Saturday afternoon jam every week And every week Jimmy Martin would sing. He loved the Irish rebel songs, good old country songs, songs that would make a mother weep.
Born in Newfoundland in 1929, Martin found work as a structural ironworker, which he did for over 50 years. His friendship with Roy MacCaull resulted in Jimmy recording several albums of songs with a powerful voice that could penetrate a windstorm. He was the recipient of the only “Anti-Tory tell It Like It Is” Porcupine Award back in 1990 for his song, The Rape of the Grand Banks. He passed away in Toronto October, 13, 2011.
Ron Hynes, St. John’s NL
Ron Hynes was born in St. John’s, NL in 1950 and raised in Ferryland. He was a founding member of The Wonderful Grand Band and has released several solo albums under his own name. His debut album, Discovery, released in 1972, was the first album of totally original material by a Newfoundland artist. Widely regarded as one of Canada’s premier singer / songwriters, with a career spanning over 30 years, Hynes’ songs have become a part of the fabric of Newfoundland culture. They even have a statue of him on George Street in downtown St. John’s.
Hynes’ songs have been covered world-wide by over 100 different artists, including Emmylou Harris, Valdy and Christy Moore. His iconic song, Sonny’s Dream (first recorded by The Wonderful Grand Band in 1978) has been a world-wide folk hit.
In 2010 Ron was awarded The Great Canadian Song Award at the Porcupines for his song Sawchuck.
Paul Menard, Kirkland Lake, Northern Ontario
He was born in Kirkland Lake in 1932 and started playing the fiddle at the age of six. Three years later he was playing at square dances in Northeastern Ontario and Northern Quebec and a year later, along with some of his brothers, was performing on local radio.
He left the north in 1951 and started touring North America and impressing many artists and music producers which, he claims, got him hired for sessions on over 1,000 recordings.
He lived in Quebec for many years, producing many country albums there. Then, in 1980, after having open heart surgery, he decided to head back north. In North Bay he hosted a weekly bluegrass program. I’m not sure, exactly, when he passed away.
The last time I spoke with Townsend just a few weeks before he died, I asked: “Graham: what fiddle tune would you like me to play on the show this week? His answer: “Anything by Paul Menard, Steve,” as a tear of joy sparkled in his right eye.
The Stampeders, Calgary AB
The Stampeders were a country rock trio consisting of Rich Dodson, Ronnie King and Kim Berly. They were originally formed in 1964 and called The Rebounds but changed their name to The Stampeders in 1965. A year later they moved to Toronto to strike it big and became a trio.
And strike it big they did in 1971 with their internationally acclaimed hit “Sweet City Woman” which stayed on the Billboard music chart for 16 weeks. But would The Stampeders be a one-hit-wonder?
The answer was no. For the rest of the ‘70s the band hit the singles market with a variety of charted songs and some excellently produced albums. They were played on country music radio, rock radio, top 40 radio and middle of the road stations. Everybody seemed to find a place for the music of The Stampeders.
Some of their hit songs were: Sweet City Woman, Wild Eyes, Carry Me, Oh My Lady, Minstrel Gypsy, Hit The Road Jack (with Wolfman Jack), Ramona, Playin' In The Band, Then Came the White Man, Running Wild
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