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PERFORMING ARTISTS
Downchild
Downchild

When one thinks of Blues music in Canada, the first band that springs to mind is Downchild. It's been nearly 40 years since Donnie "Mr. Downchild" Walsh and his since passed brother, Hock Walsh formed the group that would be the inspiration behind the world famous Blues Brothers. Still on top of their game today, Downchild was nominated for "Blues Album of The Year" at the 2005 Juno Awards (Canadian equivalent of a Grammy Award) and lauded as "Entertainers of the Year" in 2007 at the Maple Blues Awards (Canadian equivalent of a W.C. Handy Award).

"Take a tight band that has been together for years, add material they know well, and the motivation of a heady blues audience, and you get a show that really cooks. Is this the best band you never heard of? Maybe. But given its history and influence, perhaps it's the best band you SHOULD HAVE heard of." - Vintage Guitar Magazine

EMORY LESTER is one of this day's foremost exponents of the acoustic mandolin. The power and attack of his mandolin playing are unmatched, and his sound is infectious. His latest recording, "Cruisin' the 8", as well as prior landmark instrumental recordings, have placed him among the elite mandolinists of our time. Emory's vocal style has developed over the last few years, and has opened up a new chapter in his music career, bringing to his stage new and exciting vocal material that perfectly compliments his already amazing instrumental show.

The EMORY LESTER SET is an ensemble of bluegrass and new acoustic artists from Ontario Canada, put together to feature Emory's music, both vocally and instrumentally, in the most complete way. Joined by the Set's mainstay members - fiddle player / composer Marion Linton and bassist Kene Hyatt, Emory has also welcomed into the band one of the most exciting young instrumental talents in the music, acoustic guitar wizard / multi-instrumentalist Marc Roy.

Musically pleasing vocals coupled with exciting instrumental skills,original and traditional material with an entertaining presentation make the Emory Lester Set performance one to be enjoyed and long remembered by all.

So, who is MARK JOHNSON and how did he learn this unique style? A native of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., Mark now hangs his hat in Florida but learned his trade from Jay Unger while living in New York. Mark didn't know that Jay was a highly accomplished fiddler who also tinkered with the clawhammer style of banjo. It was in the early 1970s, that Mark learned from this consummate fiddler the basic technique of clawhammer banjo. He also learned the three-finger style of bluegrass picking as his familiarity with the instrument unfolded.

Mark moved to Crystal River in Florida in 1981 where, per chance, he met the Rice brothers, Larry, Tony, Ronnie and Wyatt. Mark was working at the local power utility with Herb Rice, Larry and Ronnie and through that relationship, his manner for style and creativity in composition and performance was forever changed.

Mark's unique style doesn't really fit into a strict category. It's very bluegrass but has overtones of traditional folk, progressive acoustic, new-grass and old-timey all mixed into one. It's authentic. It's unique. It's Clawgrass.

Official website - www.clawgrass.com

"Hard Ryde" ... Hailing from musical backgrounds encompassing bluegrass, country, old-time and jazz, the sum of these individual parts equals one dynamic powerhouse of talent taking the Canadian bluegrass stage. Hard Ryde is an award-winning combination of musical synergy, adored by their fans and respected by their peers on both sides of the border.

With more than one songwriter on board, Hard Ryde’s music is fresh, exciting and new, while at the same time respecting and capturing the essence and passion of traditional bluegrass. Hard Ryde’s strong vocals, stellar musicianship and winning songwriting abilities have won this band a top spot in the hearts of bluegrass fans in Canada and beyond.

Hard Ryde received several awards at the Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards in November 2007 including Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Fiddle and Entertainer of the Year. Hard Rydes latest release 'Stages' also won the Recording of the Year.

Hard Ryde music speaks for itself, straightforward and soulful with the uncommon ability to capture the Essence and passion of Bluegrass music ...
Hard Ryde


"Russ Strathdee & Ken Losell with The L!NKS"
Ken Losell

Ken Losell

Ken Losell guitar/vox worked with an early version of Canadian country icons Prairie Oyster. He also played with Tomcat, Captain Courageous and other central Ontario bands. Originally playing folk & country, the band currently performs roc'n'funk'n'soul'n'blues and original material from the Ken's latest cd.

Russ Strathdee

Russ Strathdee

As a saxophonist and composer, Russ has been a vibrant influence in the music scene for more than 15 years. Growing up in Toronto and studying music at Humber College has put him on stage with well-known artists such as Jackie Wilson, Bill Cosby, Doug Riley, and Domenic Trioano.


HoneyGrass

HoneyGrass

"The harmony in this band is truly wonderful. They have drive as well as 'sparkle', giving their music a bonafide bluegrass feel. They are one of the finest sounding bands in Ontario." - Steve Pritchard, CKLN 88.1 FM, Toronto

Hurricane Mike Thompson

"Hurricane" Mike Thompson

Singer/songwriter multi-talented performing musician who has recorded with The Mercey Brothers, Jason McCoy and Helen Reddy. Performances include shows with Murray McLauchlan, Sawyer-Brown, Patricia Conroy, and Shirley Eikhard.


Grant Lyle

Grant Lyle

Grant Lyle is one of Canada's favourite power soul-blues performers, capturing the authentic old style blues in a captivating and fresh style. From intimate venues to main stage performances, Grant Lyle has consistently enthralled audiences with his ceaseless dedication and care to the music he plays.

Silverbirch

Silverbirch

Committed to providing an energetic and entertaining show, which combines humour, strong lead singing, great harmonies, dynamic picking, and a tasteful mix of traditional bluegrass and original songs.

Gene Gouthro - premier mandolin player; Tom McCreight, the Ol' Coot - "entertainer of the year," and "bass player of the year"; Graham Stone - banjo and back vocals; Walter Bent - rhythm guitar, dynamic flatpicker; Jan Hanko - fiddle with "gypsy" influence.


Mose Stephenson

Mose Stephenson
The incomparable, original songwriter and artist Mose Stephenson has been an influential element of the Barrie, Ontario folk scene for decades.

Mose has been a quintessential part of the Barrie Art Scene since 1976 and a founding member of Barrie's first folk music society - Performance House - which ran out of the old Farmers Market building from 1977 until 1992.

He got his start playing at the old Back Yard Cafe in Toronto in 1976, with folk singers like Lynn Myles. He played at the Free Times Cafe and at Rasputins in Ottawa in the early 80's, and has opened for people like Kim Mitchell and Mose Scarlett.

His 3 CDs each contain 12 original songs - a beautiful mix of musical styles ranging from folk and blues, to ragtime and country.


Boyhood friends Steve McEown and Steve Eyers, both born and raised in Orillia, started their professional music career in Calgary, Alberta as "Even Steven" in 1978. Since that time they have performed steadily, opening for such artists as The Good Brothers, Trooper, The Stampeders, "Hotel California", Cassandra Vasik, and The Martels.

Along the way, they have recorded albums entitled "Natural Act" (cassette tape) and "What I Am" (CD released in 1998) - all of their own original material. Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot's 1998 album, "A Painter Passing Through", included Steve McEown's composition "I Used To Be A Country Singer".

Their unique blend of soft rock, country, some current hits as well as the classics from the 60's and 70's etc... have won them a loyal fan following over the years. Known for their tight harmonies, fine musicianship, and solid song arrangements, "Even Steven" continually pleases audiences of all ages.
Even Steven

Even Steven