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Sun Times Article 6: Soul Run

Every year Artistic Director James Keelaghan writes a series of 12 articles for the Owen Sound Sun Times previewing the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival

By James Keelaghan

If you visit Tanika Charles’ page on summerfolk.org, you’ll hear a track called Soul Run. It’s lively, with a beat and an exuberance that makes you want to leap on stage and sing the backing vocals. The track also sounds like hope, which is interesting because the real life story behind the song belies the groove.

 

Charles was living outside Edmonton in an unhealthy relationship and it was time to get out. Grabbing the only vehicle available to make a break, she didn’t get far. It was a manual transmission and she had only ever driven an automatic. But it sometimes happens that once the first step is taken, there’s no stopping.

 

That was the beginning of what Tanika Charles calls her soul run. It took her from a northern Alberta farm to the centre of the Toronto music scene that has embraced her with all its heart.

 

When Tanika left Edmonton, she had no musical background, except for a well-developed love for her dad’s jazz record collection, Stevie Wonder and Bjork. She thought maybe comedy would be her meal ticket but auditioned for work as a background singer. As a backing vocalist with Bedouin Soundclash for two years and touring with Emmanuel Jal and Macy Gray, her exuberance, the crystal quality of her singing and her presence, made her a valued member of those groups.

 

It’s a time-honoured tradition in the world of soul and blues that you learn your chops in other people’s bands. It takes courage, though, to step out of that role and strike out on your own. Applying all that was learned on the road and in the studio to build her own career and her own band, in the best sense of the word, Tanika invented herself.

 

Starting the second lap of the soul run in 2010, Tanika released her first EP What! What? What!? She was among the headline performers at the prestigious Women in Blues concert at Toronto’s Massey Hall in 2012. In 2015, two singles were released as a teaser for a full-length project. Both charted well on CBC and, by May 2016, Tanika had dropped her debut CD. It was a hit. Soul Run was nominated for a Juno award in the R&B/Soul category where Tanika was the only woman nominated.

 

Now, on the third lap, she had a cross-Canada tour—not an easy thing to arrange on the release of the disc, dipped her toe in the world of theatre with the show Freedom Singer and is currently on a month long tour in Europe—not bad for someone who couldn’t drive a stick!

 

Samantha Martin also has running on her mind. Her 2018 release, Run to Me, is a blues tour de force—music with a backbone. But make no mistake, from the writing to the arrangements, everything on this CD supports the unshakeable pillar that is Samantha Martin’s voice. If harnessed, it could power a small city. It’s not just smoky—it’s a three-alarm fire.

Samanth-Martin_Band2018PROMO

Since Samantha and Delta Sugar were last at Summerfolk, their debut album Send the Nightingale earned 4 Maple Blues nominations and they were chosen to represent Toronto at the International Blues challenge in Memphis. But we all know that she was really in Memphis representing the Grey Bruce.

 

Samantha was born in Edmonton, but her family has deep roots on the peninsula. At various stages in her life, she has found herself living on the shores of Georgian Bay where she has had a lot of formative musical relationships, notably with Trevor and Tara MacKenzie.

 

Her first EP was recorded at Trev’s studio with a full-length solo CD following in 2008. Four years later, Sam like Tanika, decided to form a band. Samantha Martin and the Haggard was a romp through blues, gospel, country and early rock and roll.

 

By 2015, Martin had sharpened her focus—Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar was born. The blues juggernaut owes its strength to the tripod of Martin, guitarist Mikey McCallum and drummer Dani Nash. It owes its sweetness to the unadulterated gospel-tinged, neuron-tingling magic of Samantha’s “co-vocalists,” Sherie Marshall and newest full time member Mwansa Mwansa. And just when you thought that was enough, along come the keyboards and the horn section. It’s a mighty sound.

 

Samantha actually has a couple of voices. The second one finds its way from pen to paper. Singing comes naturally to some folks, but there are no natural writers. It’s a craft that has to be worked on. Sam’s voice wouldn’t make sense without strong songs to sing so she’s has been sharpening her focus there as well. That voice, the one that actually writes the songs, has become as strong as the other one we hear on the recordings. The latest crop of tunes are spartan and heartfelt. Pulling no punches, they are as honest as her voice.

 

Whether you’re on a soul run, or you are running to Samantha Martin, you’ll find the finish line at the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival. It’s our 43rd year at Kelso Beach Park and the dates are August 17, 18, 19. Information about tickets, performers and much more can be found at summerfolk.org.

Halifax singer-songwriter Rose Cousins’ new album is called Natural Conclusion. Credit: Vanessa Heins.

Sun Times Article 5: Unbound Creativity

Every year Artistic Director James Keelaghan writes a series of 12 articles for the Owen Sound Sun Times previewing the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival

By James Keelaghan

I was skinnier then. I know that much.

 

Stephen Fearing and I met at the Jasper Folk Festival in 1986. We were both young, western singer-songwriters, both claiming an Irish lineage and sharing a lot of musical heroes, so it’s no surprise we became friends. Through those early days, we slept on each other’s couches when we were in each other’s towns and traded gig info, contacts, and a lot of pleasant time together when our paths crossed.

 

He doesn’t sleep on couches much anymore. Stephen, one of the beacons of the acoustic music scene, is loved and lauded for his soulful voice, blistering guitar work and evocative lyrics. Over the past thirty years, he’s released eleven solo albums, six albums with super group Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and another two with Belfast’s Andy White.

 

That discography speaks volumes about Stephen. Always a jammer, he loves digging in on a session—live or in the studio—generously sharing the stage and his recordings with new talent and with veterans such as Richard Thompson and Bruce Cockburn.

 

Though life began in Vancouver, his formative years were spent in Dublin, Ireland attending the same school as future members of U2! That trip, from Canada to Ireland became immortalized in Fearing’s epic, Longest Road—one of his most finely crafted songs.

 

In his heart, Stephen is a creature of the road. Returning to North America in his late teens, he spent time in Minneapolis before finding his way to Vancouver once more. He has since lived in Guelph and Halifax before finally returning to the West coast last year. Touring compulsively, it seems that there is hardly a night without a Fearing gig somewhere.

 

Now entering his third decade as performer, Stephen seems as effortless and light on his feet as way back when in Jasper. Certainly, he still has the same fire. A Fearing performance is like an approaching freight train with the rumbling of the tracks as the flawless rhythm rolls from the guitar, his voice like a distant, mournful klaxon. The intensity builds until it fills the space, theatre or field, with an unstoppable sound.

 

We run into each other every now and again, often in passing—a few stolen moments for lunch or an afternoon beer when our schedules magically coincide. He’s the same Stephen I met all those years ago, though he remains lanky and I do not.

 

Rose Cousins, I met in a different way. While Stephen and I were up-and-comers together, I heard of Rose Cousins long before I ever met her. Some artists are like that, with a reputation and music that arrives well ahead of their physical presence—the breeze that precedes the storm. Rose is a writer of exceptional ability and sensitivity who possesses a wit so dry that it’s practically arid—the voice of an angel with a mesmerizing presence.

 

When I finally met Rose, it was under the best of circumstances. We were both part of the songwriter’s house at the Celtic Colours Festival in 2008. The festival had decided to push the envelope from largely traditional music by including songwriters in a meaningful way—having us come to the festival to write. Every song that she penned, in collaboration over those six days, was a gem. I got to watch her write up close, note the attention to detail and the exhaustive search for just the right word or turn of phrase.

 

Rose was born and raised in PEI, lives in Halifax and has forged deep roots in the fabled music community that orbits a club called Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts. But, wherever she is, the reaction to her voice and songwriting is universal praise throwing light on some of the dark places in our hearts—a soft, diffuse and sympathetic light. She has that rare gift of being able to take the intensely personal and make it universal.

 

Brave—did I mention that she is brave? Rose was enjoying the kind of success a lot of singer-songwriter’s crave. In 2013, with lauds from the press and lots of bookings, Rose realized that she had reached a limit. Living in fear of burn out, feeling the pressure that performance can place on the craft of writing, she decided to stop touring, with the exception of a few select dates. In order to refill the creative tank, she concentrated on other artistic endeavours, including her other artistic passion— photography. She spent time shooting, developing film, and printing photos using the dark room at the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design.

 

Rose also held a deep desire to develop skills in co-writing which she began to work on in Nashville during the fall of 2014. From then, and throughout the following year, she traveled to Los Angeles, Nashville, Toronto, Ireland, and Boston where her focused creative time yielding dozens of songs, photographs, relationships, and a much needed change of pace. Her goal was to connect with artists, writers, and producers to make songs in new ways, new sounds with new people, not knowing where they would go and not needing to know. The result of all that creative work was her latest album, Natural Conclusion.

 

You’ll be able to enjoy the music of Rose Cousins and Stephen Fearing at the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival, August 17, 18 and 19. You can listen to music by Rose and Stephen, find out about tickets and much more at summerfolk.org.

 

Photo © Colin Gillen/framelight.ie

Sun Times Article 2: Irish roots

Every year Artistic Director James Keelaghan writes a series of 12 articles for the Owen Sound Sun Times previewing the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival

By James Keelaghan

Surprise! I’m not in Owen Sound, or even in Canada. As you read this I am just leaving Achill Island on the west coast of Ireland. The last time I was on AchiIl was when I was here as a backpacker in 1979. That excursion ended well, though I ended up sleeping on a beach in an October gale, but that’s a story for another time.

 

My Da was from County Monaghan which entitles me to Irish  citizenship. I go to Ireland regularly, to play, to visit relatives and friends, and to do what I am doing now—leading music- based group tours. But that first trip, as a 19 year old, was an eye opener.

 

The Clancy Brothers and The Dubliners dominated the musical landscape when I was growing up. My exposure to Irish music was mostly ballads and songs and I learned hundreds of them. I could sing Roddy McCorley with the best of them in my corner of traditional music.

 

One night, on that first backpacking trip, I found myself in the little town of Spiddal in County Galway. There was a celebration in town until the wee hours of the morning. A whole group of local musicians had gone north to a music competition, a feis, and had come back with all the prizes. Music reigned supreme in the four pubs that adorned the four corners of the crossroads

 

The music tended to the instrumental rather than the vocal—jigs, reels and marches. I hadn’t heard this much instrumental Irish music at one time ever. Occasionally, the players would yield the floor to the singers, but instrumental ruled the day.

 

I think I got to bed at three or four in the morning, shortly after the Garda had shut down the last pub. But that night stayed with me until this day and I came back with so much Irish instrumental music that I had to abandon some clothes to make room for vinyl and cassettes. I’ve been hooked on the instrumental side of Irish tradition music since.

 

The great thing about Irish trad is that it’s alive—living and breathing and every year more young people come to the music. There are well-established schools and organizations that promote learning the music and, of course, hundreds of pub sessions as practice grounds.

 

We have one of the finest young Irish bands appearing at Summerfolk this year. They met at Limerick’s Irish World Academy and, with critical acclaim piling up, Goitse have become one of the leaders of the new generation of traditional Irish ensembles.

 

Goitse—pronounced gwi-cha—has released four critically acclaimed recordings and maintains a year round touring schedule that includes performances throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the United States.

 

The strength of Irish traditional music is that it evolves. The canon isn’t static with new tunes added all the time. Goitse moves the tradition forward with their own original compositions. Their distinctive sound comes from the meeting of those compositions and traditional tunes from the countryside of Ireland and abroad.

 

Laying the foundations for the music are World and All-Ireland bodhrán champion, Colm Phelan. The bodhrán, a large open frame drum, is the beating heart of Irish trad. A band without a solid player is simply not going to go anywhere.

 

Colm is not the only All Ireland champion in the band— Tadhg Ó Meachair plays a wicked accordion and is the All Ireland traditional piano champion.  Conal O’Kane rounds out the rhythm section of the band on the guitar. He’s a wizard who is making his mark as one of the finest guitarists of his generation.

 

Alan Reid plays the tenor banjo, bouzouki and mandolin. He is also an accomplished oud—a stringed instrument from the Mediterranean. Its inclusion in the band is a fresh texture that no other Irish Trad band is using.  

 

Out of this strong instrumental sound emerges the sweet, charismatic voice of Áine McGeeney. Her voice rings like a bell—clear and strong as it draws audiences into a song. Áine does double duty in the band playing the fiddle as well. as she sings. With a style that is feisty and energetic she completes the band sound in fine style.

 

Their band name is an informal Gaelic greeting that means “come here”. We couldn’t think of a better way to invite you to Summerfolk than to promise you Goitse.

 

The Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival takes place at Kelso Beach Park on August 17, 18 and 19. For information on tickets, performers, or if you’d like to listen to some music by Goitse, visit summerfolk.org.

 

Georgian Bay roots Ep 44

Georgian Bay Roots

With your host Jon Farmer


1609969_10154532318180220_5111923560966166563_nEvery Sunday on CFOS 560 from 4-5pm, Georgian Bay Roots shares some of the best music that’s made in and played in Grey and Bruce Counties with roots music from across Canada and around the world thrown into the mix. Host, Jon Farmer, brings a musician’s ear and the heart of a fan to the airwaves with stories about performers and news about upcoming shows and releases. Tune in to hear some of your favourite acts and new bands that you didn’t know you loved.

On this week’s episode we showcase artists performing at this years Harbour Nights concert series in Owen Sound, give a quick tour of Summerfolk veterans who were at Mariposa this year, and share tracks from performers coming up at Summerfolk42.

If you missed the live show, we will post the episode by 6pm ET.

You can download an iTunes podcast here

Are you making music that you want us to share?
Do you have gig coming up that you want to promote?
Are you interested in being a sponsor or advertising on the show?
Contact us at georgianbayroots@summerfolk.org

Georgian Bay Roots is presented by the Georgian Bay Folk Society with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation

Georgian Bay Roots is sponsored this week by:

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 owen-sound

Play List Coming Soon

Archives

Visit our  iTunes podcast page for archived programs

Pages with set lists and further info can be found below.

GBR show 1

GBR show 2

GBR show 3

GBR show 4

GBR show 5

GBR show 6

GBR show 7

GBR show 8

GBR show 9

GBR show 10

GBR show 11

GBR show 12

GBR show 13

GBR show 14

GBR show 15

GBR show 16

GBR show 17

GBR show 18

GBR show 19

GBR show 20 – Valentine’s Day

GBR show 21

GBR show 22

GBR show 23

GBR show 24

GBR show 25

GBR show 26

GBR show 27

GBR show 28

GBR show 29 – Easter

GBR show 30

GBR show 31

GBR show 32

GBR show 33 – Mother’s Day

GBR show 34

GBR show 35

GBR show 36

GBR show 37

GBR show 38

GBR show 39

GBR show 40 – Canada Day

GBR show 41

GBR show 42

GBR show 43

Georgian Bay Roots Ep 34

Georgian Bay Roots

With your host Jon Farmer


1609969_10154532318180220_5111923560966166563_nEvery Sunday on CFOS 560 from 4-5pm, Georgian Bay Roots shares some of the best music that’s made in and played in Grey and Bruce Counties with roots music from across Canada and around the world thrown into the mix. Host, Jon Farmer, brings a musician’s ear and the heart of a fan to the airwaves with stories about performers and news about upcoming shows and releases. Tune in to hear some of your favourite acts and new bands that you didn’t know you loved.

This is the May long weekend episode of Georgian Bay Roots featuring songs inspired by the season, trad tunes, and concert news.

If you missed the live show, we will post the episode by 6pm ET.

You can download an iTunes podcast here

Are you making music that you want us to share?
Do you have gig coming up that you want to promote?
Are you interested in being a sponsor or advertising on the show?
Contact us at georgianbayroots@summerfolk.org

Georgian Bay Roots is presented by the Georgian Bay Folk Society with the support the Ontario Trillium Foundation

GBR 34 May 21
Artist: The Duhks
Track: Lazy John
Length: 4:32
Canadian
Artist: Serena Ryder
Track: It’s Just Another Day
Length: 4:01
Canadian
Artist: Coco Love Alcorn
Track: I Got a Bicycle
Length: 3:32
Canadian
Artist: Chic Gamine
Track: Butterfly Woman
Length: 4:31
Canadian
Artist: Deanne Hallman
Track: Beyoutiful
Length: 3:18
Canadian
Artist: Victoria Vox
Track: Colorful Heart
Length: 3:33
Artist: Dave Gunning
Track: Broom O’The Cowdenknowes
Length: 4:18
Canadian
Artist: The Shards
Track: Trout Tale
Length: 3:31
Canadian
Artist: The Mayhemingways
Track: Boones Tune-Boats Up the River
Length: 4:06
Canadian
Artist: Ian Bell
Track: Carl Grexton Set
Length: 4:04
Canadian
Artist: Claire Lynch
Track: I’ll Be Alright Tomorrow
Length: 2:54
Artist: Corin Raymond
Track: Give it April (Give it May)
Length: 3:33
Canadian
Artist: James Hill
Track: For So Long
Length: 3:52
Canadian
Artist: Garnet Rogers
Track: The Sliprails and the Spur
Length: 4:06
Canadian
Artist: Remember When
Track: She Picks Wildflowers
Length: 3:01
Canadian
Artist: Serena Ryder
Track: Sing Sing
Length: 0:38
Canadian

Archives

Visit our  iTunes podcast page for archived programs

Pages with set lists and further info can be found below.

GBR show 1

GBR show 2

GBR show 3

GBR show 4

GBR show 5

GBR show 6

GBR show 7

GBR show 8

GBR show 9

GBR show 10

GBR show 11

GBR show 12

GBR show 13

GBR show 14

GBR show 15

GBR show 16

GBR show 17

GBR show 18

GBR show 19

GBR show 20 – Valentine’s Day

GBR show 21

GBR show 22

GBR show 23

GBR show 24

GBR show 25

GBR show 26

GBR show 27

GBR show 28

GBR show 29 – Easter

GBR show 30

GBR show 31

GBR show 32

GBR show 33 – Mother’s Day

Performer Submission Guidelines

We are open to submissions starting on October 1.

If you wish to apply by email please send to artisticdirector@summerfolk.orgPlease put Artist Submission 2018 in the subject line. Include links to web page links, EPK’s, links to music and video, basically anything at all that will give us an idea of what you do.

Or, if you prefer that we have something more physical in our hands, please mail a package to

Artistic Director

c/o Georgian Bay Folk Society

P.O. Box 521
Owen Sound, ON N4K 5R1

please do not use the comments box for your submissions

The deadline to submit is January 15, 2018.  Applications re-open October 1st. Submissions are kept active for one year. All materials received by the Georgian Bay Folk Society and/or the Artistic Director remain the property of the Folk Society.

All submissions are reviewed for their suitability for Summerfolk and our year-round programs. Due to the volume of material received, please be aware we are unable to acknowledge receipt (unless you submit electronically) or provide comments. Only those of interest will be contacted.

Helpful Hints

  • When submitting a CD, suggest the three most appropriate songs on the disc to be reviewed.
  • One page with bio, press and contact info is usually sufficient. If you are selected, additional promotional materials may be requested.
  • when submitting INCLUDE video links, please.
  • October is probably the best time to send a kit for the coming year.
  • If you have applied in the past and have not recorded anything new, don’t send another cd. Sell it instead. We have your other one here.

Bonus Points

  • A list of workshop possibilities.
  • A recent live recording.
  • Remove the shrink-wrap from the CD. If in a jewel case, remove from jewel case and send with the booklet.
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