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Often compared to great troubadours like James Taylor and John Denver, Martin Kerr's soaring voice, storytelling and intelligent lyrics connect with hearts of all ages and backgrounds. Born and raised in England, Martin travelled to 35 countries, gathering experiences and stories that would later become the inspiration behind songs like Mr. Liao, Undiscovered Geniuses and Must Be a Million. Starting as a busker at the farmer's market, he built his following one passerby at a time, singing his way from street-corners to concert halls and arenas. “Taking my music to the people, wherever they are, has always been important to me. When I first started performing I tried to play in cafes and bars and wait for the people to come, but they never did so I went out on to the streets where I sold over 20,000 CDs and eventually built my fan base to a point where I can now sell out a 1700 seat theatre” says Kerr. He achieved independent success in Canada last May when he did just that and sold out his own show at the 1700-seat Winspear Centre. He was then invited to open for Sarah McLachlan at Rogers Place arena, and saw his new album debut at #2 on iTunes Canada (all-genre chart). Now he is building on that success with appearances at Canada’s top folk festivals. Last summer's turn at The Vancouver Folk Music Festival was one that audiences are still talking about. He's working on a new album down under in Australia with Chris Vallejo, producer of the worldwide multi-platinum hit, Let Her Go by Passenger. While travelling in China as an 18-year-old, Martin met a Canadian girl,who later became his wife and mother of their three children. The hilarious and touching story of their long-distance courtship often forms part of his live show. Now based in Canada, Martin plays for tens of thousands of people every year, at folk clubs, festivals and concert halls. Recent Honours #2 on iTunes Album Chart (July 2 2017) #5 on CIMA Album Chart (July 10 2017) #10 Music Canada Album Chart (July 10 2017) Edmonton Male Artist of the Year 2017 Kerrville New Folk Finalist 2017 Press Read an article from The Edmonton Journal here Famous Fans "Martin Kerr..what a voice! Pristine, measured and beautiful." - Sarah McLachlan "You had me in tears" - Bruce CockburnFind out more »
Tom Russell is an American singer-songwriter who was born in Los Angeles. He has lived in many places, including Vancouver and New York City, and is currently based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His music incorporates elements of folk, traditional country & western, border and cowboy music of the American West. Russell's songs have been recorded by artists such as Johnny Cash, Ian Tyson, Nanci Griffith, Dave Alvin and others. In addition to his music, he is also an artist and published author. Tom lived and performed right here in Vancouver in the 1970s. “I started my career on East Hastings Street, playing eight hours a night at The Gulf Club. This was the original skid row, a term which originated in the Pacific Northwest, because the sidewalks were wood and slippery, especially when you were drunk on cheap wine. The cops told me there was a felony committed in the club every ten minutes. This is where I learned the song trade and how to front a band in danger zones.” Read an interesting interview with Tom here ...www.planetslade.com/tom-russell.html. In the 1980s Russell made four albums credited to the Tom Russell Band. These featured guitarist Andrew Hardin and accordionist Fats Kaplin. In the 1990s Russell made a number of solo albums and collaborated with blues singer Barrence Whitfield on two recordings. His albums include several guest appearances from other folk, country, and Americana artists, such as Chris Gaffney and Dave Alvin. His song Outbound Plane, co-written with Nanci Griffith, became a top-ten country hit for Suzy Bogguss. However, his most significant album of the 1990s was the innovative 1999 folk opera, The Man From God Knows Where, a song cycle tracing the journeys of Russell's ancestors from Europe to America, and the struggles they encountered. Russell's albums in the 21st century have been heavily influenced by the art, culture, history, and folklore of the American Southwest. Albums such as Borderland resonate with a strong and authentic Tex-Mex influence, reflecting life on both sides of the border. His songs Tonight We Ride and Navajo Rug (co-written with Ian Tyson) were chosen by members of the Western Writers of America as two of the top 100 Western songs of all time. In April 2015 Russell released The Rose of Roscrae, a double-album on Frontera Records, a Western folk opera that completes the trilogy begun with The Man From God Knows Where and Hotwalker. The double album depicts the journey of an Irishman named Johnny Dutton who sails to America to become a cowboy. There are 52 tracks interspersed with historic and contemporary voices that include: Johnny Cash, Walt Whitman, John Trudell, Lead Belly, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Tex Ritter, Eliza Gilkyson, Augie Meyers, Maura O'Connell, Jimmy LaFave, David Olney, and others, as well as an overture by Mats Halling and The Norwegian Wind Ensemble. The Rose of Roscrae was hailed as the top folk album of 2015 in many publications, including The Irish Times, Mojo Magazine, Uncut Magazine, and The Los Angeles Times. Tom Russell released Folk Hotel in September 2017. It showcases 13 new Russell originals plus, as one of two bonus tracks, Bob Dylan's Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, a duet with Joe Ely, featuring Joel Guzman on Tex-Mex accordion. Augie Meyers and Eliza Gilkyson also make guest appearances on the album. A signature Tom Russell collection, the wide-ranging subject matter on Folk Hotel includes songs and stories about New York’s Chelsea Hotel, a journey up the road from El Paso to Santa Fe, a cowboy song about Ian Tyson refusing to "leave his old horses", a song for Dylan Thomas - melting into a James Joycean landscape about day in the life of Belfast, a song about Tom meeting JFK and a song using only 16th century slang. Folk Hotel was followed by the acclaimed tribute to Ian & Sylvia on True North Records, Play One More, also released in 2017. Tom Russell’s latest recording of original compositions, October in the Railroad Earth, was released on CD and vinyl on March 15, 2019, on Frontera Records in North America and Proper Records for the rest of the world. He describes the songs and sound as “Jack Kerouac meets Johnny Cash in Bakersfield.” Bill Kirchen is featured on lead electric guitar, Eliza Gilkyson adds vocals, and the Grammy® Award-winning Texmaniacs appear on 'Isadore Gonzalez', about a Mexican cowboy who died in England during a performance of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The record contains nine other originals, including the title song from the Irish film Small Engine Repair, and a cover of the traditional 'Wreck of the Old 97'. Tom has appeared at The Rogue on eighteen previous occasions.Find out more »
Folk powerhouse pair The Small Glories are Cara Luft & JD Edwards, a dynamic duo planted on the Canadian prairies. They are a study in contrasts; Cara, all earth mother on her 21-speed bike, environmentally friendly and wholesome, ebullient and engaging; and burly JD, in scruffy beard, ball cap, t-shirt and jean jacket, slightly intimidating (until you meet him). At first glance few would peg them for a highly creative musical partnership. Yet these two veteran singer/songwriters have teamed up and are building a buzz around their tight harmonies, authenticity and visceral performances. Luft is a Juno Award winner and co-founder of the folk trio The Wailin' Jennys. She has earned her rep as a gutsy live performer and insightfully honest songwriter, with serious skills on the guitar and clawhammer banjo. Edwards is a riveting live performer and prolific songwriter, a soulful singer blessed with one of the most versatile and powerful voices in Canada. Both are musical road warriors who have racked up many miles on both sides of the Atlantic. The Small Glories latest release is Assiniboine & the Red, an album that celebrates the Canadian Prairies. The album title references the junction of two rivers, the Assiniboine (pronounced ‘uh-sin-uh-boin’) and the Red, in the duo’s hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and celebrates the happenstance meeting of Cara and JD. The duo’s onstage chemistry and humor complements their energetic live performances and buoyant, Americana-inflected folk songs. Luft and Edwards’ exuberant harmonies bring to mind such duos as the Civil Wars and Shovels & Rope, but with a Northern spin. The album’s songs are all inspired by places, from “Alberta,” the opener, to "Winnipeg", a spirited celebration of their hometown. “We’re folk singers, we try to write stuff that people can relate to,” says Edwards, whose looming stage presence and penetrating eyes find him the yin to Luft’s petite, snort-laughing yang. Already known in their native Canada as well as for their performances at festivals including SXSW and AmericanaFest, the duo, both of whom write, have captured the charm and chemistry of their live shows with Assiniboine & the Red’s collection of engaging, memorable songs. NPR wrote, “Luft is a Wailin’ Jennys alum whose work on the clawhammer banjo is to die for, while Edwards’ guitar and vocal harmonies deepen and enrich the duo’s sound.” Make no mistake; The Small Glories is no one-off flash in the pan. “We could easily continue going our own separate ways as artists and be fine,” Cara acknowledges, “but doing this together right now is far better. It’s all about being fulfilled in life and I’m very happy with this combination.Find out more »
There is no doubt that after almost 40 years as a professional musician Martin Simpson is, right now, better than ever. Widely acknowledged as one of the finest acoustic and slide guitar players in the world, his interpretations of traditional songs are masterpieces of storytelling. His solo shows are intense, eclectic, spellbinding and deeply moving. There is no-one who has more successfully combined the diverse elements of British, Afro-American and old-timey music than Simpson. His 15 years living in the US were well spent. In addition his own songwriting has produced some real gems, from the truck-stop epic, “Love Never Dies” to the profoundly moving “Never Any Good” and "One Day". His career includes collaborations on stage and record with Richard Thompson, June Tabor, Kelly Joe Phelps, Jackson Browne, Danny Thompson, Danú, Martin Carthy, Cara Dillon, David Lindley, Roy Bailey, Martin Taylor, David Hidalgo, Steve Miller, Dick Gaughan and many more. Martin has been nominated an astounding 26 times in the twelve years of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards - more than any other performer - with 9 consecutive years as nominee for Musician of The Year, which he has won twice. 2008 saw an incredible 5 nominations for "Prodigal Son' and 2 wins, while in 2010 he had an unprecedented 6 nominations for his CD, "True Stories" and a win for Best Traditional Track, "Sir Patrick Spens". 2012's nominations for Martin include, Best Album for 'Purpose & Grace", Best Traditional Track for "The Lakes Of Ponchartrain" and Best Musician. He has continued his run of outstanding recordings with "Vagrant Stanzas" in 2013, and his most recent "Trails & Tribulations" was released in 2017. The Guardian review of the latter said "it’s one of his finest, an exquisitely played distillation of standards from both sides of the Atlantic, with a brace of originals for ballast. Simpson’s virtuoso guitar and banjo (are) tailored and layered by producer Andy Bell, plus classy guest accompaniments. A master musician on top of his game." Whether playing American old-time music, blues, a Dylan song or his own material, Martin Simpson is unpredictable, individual and a guitarist of immense subtlety.Find out more »
Teesside's triumphant trio The Young'uns, current holders of BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards coveted "Best Group" title, have proved themselves a unique proposition - writing and performing a cappella or subtly accompanied songs that tell it how it is alongside traditional songs from their native North- East and further afield - songs of conscience, songs of warmth and wit, songs to provoke, songs to inspire. Renowned for their pitch perfect harmonies and rapid fire humour, their live show undeniably has the human touch. Always engaging, frequently heart- warming, they have built an enviable audience rapport. They are an act that truly takes the cliché out of the "make you laugh, make you cry" tag. Just two years after giving up their day jobs, Stockton Folk Club's star pupils have had a milestone year with the release of their third studio album Another Man's Ground, an appearance at America's Folk Alliance, collectively celebrating their 30th birthdays and racking up accolades including Best Group in the FATEA Awards, Best Live Act in the Spiral Earth Awards and listed as one of MOJO's "Best Albums" in 2015. A decade of performance around the country, national radio sessions, more than 40 festival appearances (Cambridge to Glastonbury) and increasingly acclaimed album releases has delivered a gregarious, sharply honed, pull no punches act that clinched the Best Group trophy at the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in Cardiff - a hugely popular result that saw them beating off opposition including the mighty Bellowhead. Beguiling audiences around the world, they seamlessly switch from beautiful ballads to brilliant banter, from profoundly poignant songs to infectiously irreverent humour. This, combined with their passion for storytelling and commitment to maintaining the tradition of social commentary, has led to five star reviews, live sessions on BBC Radio 2, 3 and documentaries on Radio 4 as well as countless sell out shows and main stage festival appearances throughout the UK and abroad. They are a superb live act who should not be missed! "Glorious harmonies, waspish wit, powerful songs and relentless banter.....irresistible" 5 stars - The Guardian 4 stars - The Times "...a touching British affair" - The Observer "Great singers and very, very funny" - Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2 "Epic...in Cooney, The Young'uns clearly have a songwriter of considerable talent" 4 stars - Songlines "With a rare vocal affinity usually the reserve of close blood relations ... richly melodic, lyrically elegant and wryly observant ... The Young'uns have something to say and something that demands to be listened to" - The Living Tradition "Magnificent...destined to become hailed national treasures before too long" 5 stars - MaverickFind out more »