The infectious marriage of fiddle, banjo, harmonica and guitar brings this Quebec trio right into the world of kitchen parties, backyard bonfires and really, anywhere a dance party could break out. In its new incarnation of founders Dominic Desrochers and Jean-Francois Dumas, joined by newcomer Véronique Plasse, it brings back to the Canmore Folk Festival the passion for Quebec’s rich and long musical culture.
Superlatives abound for this Metis woman from the Peace Country. A powerful sound of soul, jazz and breathtaking blues, she’s hit her stride after 17 years of performing, with a suitcase of accolades and nominations and last year awards aplenty – WMA Indigenous Artist of the Year, EMA Female Arts of the Year, EMA Indigenous Recording Artist of the Year and eight more nominations.
One of Canada’s folk icons and one who helped us launch this festival in 1978, Connie Kaldor is a multiple-Juno winner who embodies the pure essence of Canadian folk. Originally from Saskatchewan, she sings of the prairies, she sings of women, she is irreverent, moving and quite frankly genius at her craft. Wildly funny, deeply personal, totally authentic… just as a Canadian folk master should be.
Exquisite harmonies, soft, gentle literary lyrics, and strings in all of their glorious combinations, this Boston-based indie folk quartet is utterly captivating. Winner of Artist of the Year at Folk Alliance International in 2015, they have been described as having a “chamber-rock” dynamic and a “baroque folk-pop” sound. Theirs is a sonic feast for the ears and the brain.
Dione Taylor & the Backsliderz
Hoo boy. A bit of Ruthie, a bit of Aretha and a whole lot of gut-punch gospel, this woman has dubbed her sound “Prairie blues”, but it’s unmistakably influenced heavily by soul, jazz and some incredible passion. Whether belting out the hymns a cappella or backed by her boys, this Saskatchewan woman is a tremendous stage presence.
Harry Manx & Steve Marriner
If blues fans had their own fantasy league, these two would be first draft picks. Multiple award-winning bluesmen Harry Manx and Steve Marriner (of MonkeyJunk renown) have experienced a 20-year relationship of mentor and protégé, and the chemistry they share reverberates with every chord.
Blues powerhouse Matt Andersen calls her “the female version of ME” and it’s hard to disagree. Mythen, an Irish-born, PEI-based loud and proud blueswoman is a breathtakingly powerful stage presence, whose deeply relevant and irreverent songwriting delivers the kind of experience you will never shake off.
It’s in the DNA. Aleksi and Gabriel Campagne, sons of Canadian folk royalty Connie Kaldor and Paul Campagne (of Hart Rouge renown) are still but in their 20s and have each forged impressive solo careers in jazz, folk and classical music. Violin virtuoso Aleksi has joined forces with older brother Gabriel in his gypsy-pop band Les Barricades to bring us a glimpse of what the future may hold.
Blessed, we are blessed! The Idaho singer-songwriter, long sought after by our Festival, is known and revered for his words (one of the 100 Greatest Living Songwriters according to Paste magazine, and published novelist), his social conscience and passion that pours through his guitar. At one moment a balladeer, at the next a rocking bluesman, Ritter will definitely be a highlight of the 2019 Canmore Folk Festival.
Burly, bearded and behatted, Lethbridge-based Stagger is one of the most intelligent songwriters out there today, with a sound somewhere between rock, country and Elvis Costello. Labels don’t work with this guy – you need to hear him for yourself, and you’ll hear him in your bones.
A consummate touring performer, a true road poet, Sexton has a vocal range unlike any other and a style that defies description, blending soul, gospel, rock, blues and R&B. He’s known for beat boxing and scat singing guitar solos, and lyrics that speak to peace and brotherhood, love and loss, and the long, lonely roads he’s travelled in his two-decade-long career.
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald
You are not going to pigeon hole this boy. Calgary’s MBF will take you high, take you low and take you inside with his rock-fuelled anthems and soulful ballads celebrating the ecstasy and agony of both life and love. A consummate performer, watch for him at our special Festival Friday on-site stage, gathering the best of the Bow Valley to join him.
Not often you see a slide trombone and clarinet show up at a Folk Festival but what the heck! Throw in a fiddle, a keyboard, a flute and a few drum solos and hang on for the ride – this Quebec-based octet is a joyful collision of traditional klezmer music and the Quebecois and Canadian heritage of foot stomping, toe tapping, skirt swirling fun.
Pharis & Jason Romero
Winner of this year’s JUNO for Beat Traditional Roots Album, this BC-based husband/wife duet embody what perfect musical harmony looks like. Exquisitely blended voices, poignant songwriting and love for old songs and vintage instruments, they transport you to another era, a time of sharecroppers and bank robbers, of down-home farms and daily struggles to survive.
Ryland Moranz was born a singer-songwriter. His first band was formed shortly after his second birthday and was principally staffed by his German-accented grandmother who played the recorder and an opinionated cat named Stella. Now, 28 years later Ryland has been working, internationally touring musician for over a decade.
Ryland’s concise and lyrically driven songwriting is deep beyond his years with an emphasis on storytelling and an increasing awareness that life is always bigger than you think it is. Sometimes politically satirical and often offset with fun-loving humour, Ryland’s wit, and social conscience shines through in the well-crafted vernacular of a songwriter that has found their voice. Accompanying himself with acoustic guitar, tenor guitar, harmonica, and banjo, his multi-instrumentalist approach provides the perfect foil to the words he puts to paper.
Nashville-based Lewis has been aptly dubbed a “modern Townes Van Zandt”, but if you listen carefully you’ll find him channelling some Lowell George and the occasional whiff of Jimmy Buffett. A soulful singer and lyricist, his style is both feel-good and passionate, teeming with social commentary and observations of the human condition.
The East Pointers
A banjo, a fiddle and a guitar and three lads who know how to use them in a dazzling fashion. The PEI-based trio is deeply rooted in Canadian Celtic tradition, bringing centuries of musical history into the 21st with such remarkable skill that their very first recorded effort, Secret Victory, took home the JUNO for Traditional Roots Album of the Year in 2017.
The Jerry Cans
You may not always understand the world but you’ll definitely love the music. Singing in both English and Inuktitut, this young group out of Iqualuit brings an ancient culture into the modern world, both honoring it and borrowing from their past. A percussionist backbeat of traditional throat singing, some hard-driving rhythms and some passionate lyrics, they tell the story of a forgotten culture, singing about the life they lead from a southern perspective.
The peripatetic careers of two of Canada’s finest heartbreak poets is on again, as Lynn Miles and Lynne Hanson join forces for a new album and a new tour. Based in Ottawa, the two have collaborated with, toured with and written with each other while each maintaining stellar independent careers. Together, though, the sum of the parts – gritty lyrics, seamlessly tight vocals and gutsy guitars – is a treat to savour.
Button-busting pride to be able to bring these guys to the main stage. Bringing experiences from working in Canada’s national parks, The Wardens take you on a journey of the past and present life in the Bow Valley. True storytellers with a twangy old-school country flavour, fabulous storytelling and the kind of tight harmonies and arrangements that only come from a million road miles. The Wardens – Scott Ward, Bradley Bischoff and Ray Schmidt will be joined by Calgary fiddling sensation Scott Duncan.
Tim O’Brien with Jan Fabricius
Born in Wheeling, West Virginia on March 16, 1954, Grammy winning singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist Tim O’Brien grew up singing in church and in school. Gaining attention in the 1980s with Colorado’s Hot Rize, O’Brien scored a country hit with Kathy Mattea’s cover of his song WalkThe Way The Wind Blows in 1986. Soon artists like Nickel Creek and Garth Brooks also covered his songs. Collaborators include his sister Mollie O’Brien, old time musician Dirk Powell, and songwriters Darrell Scott, Steve Earle, and Mark Knopfler.O’Brien formed his own record label, Howdy Skies Records, in 1999, and launched the digital download label Short Order Sessions (SOS) with his partner Jan Fabricius in 2015.
Notable O’Brien recordings like the bluegrass Dylan covers of Red On Blondeandthe Celtic-Appalachian fusion of The Crossing led to Grammy winning CD’s Fiddler’s Green(2005)andThe Earls of Leicester(2014). 2017’s Where the River Meets the Road paid tribute to the music of his native West Virginia. This year’s March release, Tim O’Brien Band, features well known players Mike Bub (bass), Shad Cobb (fiddle), and Patrick Sauber (banjo/guitar), and Jan Fabricius (vocal). Shaping Tim’s Blues, Jazz, and Celtic influences within a string band setting, they transform five originals and eight well-chosen covers into his own unique brand of bluegrass.
Tim O’Brien performs in a duet setting with his partner Jan Fabricius on harmony vocals. Featuring his solid guitar, fiddle, and mandolin, the shows cover a range of original compositions and traditional arrangements mixed with stories and Tim’s self-deprecating humor.
A folksinger in the true classic sense, Watson is the consummate storyteller, accompanying tales of love, hurt, joy and history with a stripped-down sound of guitar, harmonica and a voice that resurrects both Neil Young and Doc Watson all at once. With a quick vibrato and rich range, he covers the canon of folk music, from Southern Gospel to Delta Blues. A founding member of the iconic Old Crow Medicine Show, Watson can command silence in his audience within the first few chords
An old soul at just 17, Amanda Penner weaves together melancholy melodies and thought-provoking lyrics to tell powerful stories that leave a lasting impression. Her distinct voice and lyrics alter the very texture of your emotional experience and have touched listeners in intimate coffee shops, all the way to larger festival stages.
Dennis Bouwman is a folk singer with a rock n roll band. Originally hailing from the southwest corner of BC, Dennis has found a home in Edmonton to focus on his craft. With roots spreading from the ocean to the prairies, he has played his songs of lost love from coast to coast. With a gritty honesty rarely seen these days, Dennis writes and sings from his core. Be it with or without his band, Bouwman’s combination of heartbreaking lyrics, warm melodies, and a voice like the bottom 10 pipes on a church organ is sure to captivate you and make you feel alive!
Emmet Michael is a singer-songwriter from Edmonton Alberta. His music ranges from acoustic folk to alternative rock. “Everyone who’s watched Emmet’s gripping live performances will know how hard he’s worked and how talented he is.”
Emmet’s inspiration draws from his experiences of adversity. He sings and writes about evocative topics such as recovery and addiction, love and loss, and relationships. Music has always been a platform for him to share his story in an authentic bare boned way. Emmet plays shows at local bars and cafes, as well as festivals and non-profit events.
Canadian Singer/Songwriter Jessica Heine (Hi-na) charms audiences with her songwriting and dynamic voice. A fine arts graduate with a BMus in vocal performance, she revels in singing classical music, but her real passion is folk music and storytelling through song. In November of 2018, she released her first new album in almost 10 years, Goodbye Party; an album that explores farewells, some of them are incredibly hard, while others provide new opportunities and beginnings. In this new music, there is an optimism that showcases a hopeful strength of spirit that Heine breathes not only into her songs, but her life as well
Kay & Martinez
There is a special alchemy that arrives when two distinct voices find harmony together for the first time. Sometimes it is natural from the moment they open their mouths, an elemental comfort as two people instinctually breathe at the same time, finding the other persons voice match stride with their own, together oscillating between precision and abandon. This is not an unfamiliar experience to Erin Kay and Leo Martinez, who first met at a venue in Edmonton and found themselves singing together long after everyone had left.
They are both successful musicians in their own rights – recognized for their heartfelt lyrics and voices that individually possess a distinct and brazen rawness. That night they first sang together they knew they had struck gold, and have since built their project from the ground up, with a hunger and pleasure that defines their rootsy folk rock sound. This musical union is a gilt-edged dynamic duo with remarkable natural chemistry, and the songs to prove
Alanna J Brown
is a singer/songwriter originally from Toronto. She moved to the Bow Valley in 2014 after completing her degree in Jazz Music. Alanna performs as a full-time musician in the Bow Valley, singing original music, jazz standards and Canadian classics. She has already released 2 albums and is currently recording her latest album of original music at the Banff Centre. Alanna is inspired by the Rocky Mountain landscape and her experiences spending time in nature. Alanna performs as a solo artist for most of her performances, but also has a band for bigger stages.
Brand New Companions
Bonded by a common love of vocal harmonies and sharp song writing, Ted Woodhouse Scott Diehl and Sue Panning fuse vintage folk, blues and country music with rockabilly, bluegrass and rock and roll in a distinctive roots music mash-up.
Brand New Companions gravitate to the great songwriters like Guy Clarke, Lucinda Williams, and John Prine for inspiration. Their original songs speak from the heart taking the listener on diverse but somehow universal journeys. Blending double bass, mandolin, dobro and guitar with their hypnotic harmonies, Brand New Companions are sure to entertain.
hummingbird is an acoustic singer songwriter duo blending gripping vocals, beautiful and intense harmonies and a variety of instruments. Their songs are as colourful and bright as their namesake, deftly exploring universal themes like love, the passage of time, and the beauty—and trials—of life. Jaime Birch’s and Sue Chick Denton’s distinct songwriting and singing styles blend together as smoothly as coffee and chocolate with a sound reminiscent of Dala and Indigo Girls. There’s plenty of emotion here, but it never gets overwhelming, thanks to the tuneful melodies and lovely harmonies. From the stage they invite the audience to share in the good time they’re having and their songs will linger sweetly in your head.
Storytellers in song, Horizon Ridge is a group of fine multi-instrumentalists and seasoned vocalists known for their intuitive tight harmonies and polished a cappella singing. Based in Calgary, Alberta, band members Helen and Steve Goodchild, Peter May, and Dianne Quinton have played festivals, music clubs, gala events and concerts in Canada, the US and the UK, drawing musical inspiration from their roots and from journeys near and far. Horizon Ridge is versatile and engaging, and their performances embrace traditional and contemporary folk, country, blues and gospel.
Kyle Pullan is an instrumental fingerstyle guitarist from Canmore who brings his 20 years of experience on the acoustic guitar into a new world of what can be done with the instrument. Delivering harmonious melodies, powerful bass lines and percussion all at once, Kyle invites you to take a journey with your imagination through his music
Logan and Nathan
The two came together when they were trapped in Canmore, AB during a flood that washed out all routes of escape. Seeing how the end was near, the two teamed up for one last musical hurrah, serenading the flood victims pickled blood late into the hues of a starlit night. It was here that they first combined folk with the eclectic. Imagine Johnny and June after a trip down the rabbit hole. Their music dances along the lines of Folk Music, but when they perform it turns into something else. Logan is on the Tenor Banjo (Ida-Mae from the 1920’s), Nathan on guitar, both sing lead and harmonize with one another. Sounds like a typical folk duo, however, they have been exploring with amps, pedals, effect mics, sprinkling in Beat Boxing and audience engagement.
The seeds of Phill Nugent’s folk-rock sound – sometimes whimsical and sometimes gritty – took root in the northern Canadian wilderness where he was raised. The Yukon-born artist’s background in musical theatre (he first took to the stage at age 5) later evolved into songwriting and self-taught guitar. Many of the songs on his first, just released studio EP, self-titled Phillip Alexander Nugent, are inspired by his wife Michelle and his sons Miles and Beck.
Lori is one of Canmore’s most noteworthy “Women of Song”. A long time local, Lori’s heartfelt roots style singing and songwriting is grounded in and inspired by the place she lives, the majestic Canadian Rockies. Lori has an impressive musical pedigree reflected in her extensive preforming/touring and recording background.
Lori is also one of the founding members of The Fates.
Locally brewed musician, Mari Rose tells a story with her poetic lyrics and authentic small-town character. This young lady’s heartfelt songs are inspired by classical composers, guns & roses, all the way to Joni Mitchell. Her honest exploration of life’s subtleties, accented by her angelic voice will surely sweep you away.
Based across several mountain ranges, two time zones, and a continental divide, Trundled are Oxford comma enthusiasts. Joseph Shea and Ellen Braun are talented singer-songwriters who first met playing Calgary open mics in the early 2000’s. They reconnected in the Bow Valley in 2016 to write and perform powerful and persuasive songs that combine guitars, pianos, and harmonies with unique perspectives on lives lived and worth living. With live shows that range from mountain tops to cave bottom, their self-titled EP and recent single ‘Paper Cup’ can be heard on across Canada. In 2018, their song “Inchoate” reached the Top 100 in CBC’s Searchlight competition, and they are preparing to record a full length album.
Zebra is a new 4-piece funk/groove band from Canmore. The band includes Jacob Posacki (guitar/vocals), Michael Kragt (bass/vocals), Joe Ernewein (Tenor sax/various winds) and a combination of Gavin Boutet and Wade Hunter on drums and percussion. The band plays a mix of new, old, mainstream and eclectic funk/groove/ska/reggae/rock covers and original compositions