Each year, the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (OCFF) honours the work of an individual or group that has made significant contributions to Ontario’s folk music community.

The award is named after the late Estelle Klein, a long-time advocate of Canadian folk music and one of the early founders of the folk festival scene in this country.

We are pleased as punch that Borealis Records founding partner Paul Mills is this year’s recipient of this prestigious award.

From his time in teenage folk groups and as a member of the seminal folk scene of London, Ontario’s Smale’s Pace Coffee House ( with Bradstreet, Bennett, Rogers, Essig, MacArthur et al) Paul has continued to be a major contributor to the Ontario and Canadian folk scenes.

As a producer at CBC Radio he created the national folk program Touch The Earth with Sylvia Tyson, and had a strong hand in the design of the Glenn Gould Studio theatre in the CBC’s new Broadcast Centre. As a record producer he has produced countless albums for the likes of Stan Rogers, Sharon, Lois & Bram and Ron Hynes. Paul is also one of the best finger-picking guitarists on the folk scene today. Check out “Stubbs Stomp” on his album The Other Side Of The Glass written by his alter ego Curly Boy Stubbs.

For over forty years Paul has been one of the strongest advocates, allies and musicians on the Canadian folk music scene and as far as we can tell there’s no slowing down in sight.

In between his production work at his own Millstream Studio and his presence on the Boards of Folk Music Canada and the OCFF, he still finds time to perform extensively with Joanne Crabtree in the duo Crabtree & Mills. They are just completing their third recording together.

Wherever Estelle is right now, we are certain she’s heartily applauding this year’s decision by the OCFF. We too are proud to be Paul’s friends and partners in the folk music journey. Congratulations Paul!

Bill Garrett and Grit Laskin are partners in BorealisRecords. Grit Laskin was the 2010 Estelle Klein Award winner.

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  1. avatar
    Jim Ansell 21 July, 2011 at 22:23

    Congratulations indeed Paul! Obviously well deserved from this excellent tribute.
    Jim Ansell
    Owen Sound
    (Paul also does a bang-up job on sound at my favourite place to be Labour Day Weekend, Shelter Valley FF; See you there again at the Village Stage, Paul!?)

  2. avatar
    Linda Crawford 25 July, 2011 at 12:05

    A great article, about a great man! One aspect of Paul’s career that was not mentionned, however, is how Paul has been such a wonderful guide and mentor to young, emerging Canadian musicians, over the years! He certainly has an ear for identifying good musicians, and he is incredibly generous in sharing his time and expertise, in support of the next generation of Canadian artists. Bravo, Paul!

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