Past Performers 2014

The following was from the lineup from the 1st Annual Pelee Island Music Festival, held on August 2nd and 3rd of 2014

Saturday, August 2, 2014

1:00 – 2:00Kevin Echlin
2:30 – 3:30Allison Brown
3:30 – 4:30Henry Adam Svec
4:30 – 5:30Harrison Kennedy
5:30 – 6:30Tif Ginn
6:30 – 7:30Ron Leary Band
7:30 – 9:00New Country Rehab
9:15 – 11:00Fred Eaglesmith Travelling Show

Sunday, August 3, 2014

12:30 – 1:30Island Showcase
1:30 – 2:30James O-L and the Villains
2:30 – 3:30Tara Watts
3:30 – 4:30Prairie Siding
4:30 – 5:30The Vaudvillian
5:30 – 6:30The Schotts
6:30 – 7:30Harlan Pepper
7:30 – 9:00Devin Cuddy Band
9:15 – 11:00Great Lake Swimmers


Toronto indie-folk/rock darlings Great Lake Swimmers return with New Wild Everywhere (April 3, 2012), their fifth studio album and follow up to 2009’s Juno and Polaris-nominated album Lost Channels. Lead single “Easy Come Easy Go,” the most upbeat and up-tempo song in the band’s history, is availableJanuary 17, 2012. New Wild Everywhere captures all of the excitement and intuitive musicianship of a group at the peak of their creative powers, with 12 new tracks that reveal a depth and maturity only previously hinted at by lead singer and songwriter Tony Dekker. Produced by longtime Great Lake Swimmers’ collaborator Andy Magoffin, New Wild Everywhere marks the first time in the band’s history that an album was recorded in a real studio (Toronto’s Revolution Recording); past albums have been famously recorded in historic churches, castles, music venues and more. “We wanted to try something new, expand our horizons, and flex a bit of the creative muscle we’ve built up through years of touring,” says Dekker. “It came as a bit of a surprise how well we functioned as a band in that studio environment. We were able to focus completely on the songs, rather than the logistical obstacles of waiting for the boat to dock, or the rain to stop.”


Fred Eaglesmith was born, as he sings, “in the springtime of the ’57 Chevy,” and grew up on a series of farms in southern Ontario. He started writing and playing music, influenced by Elvis and the sounds of roots music drifting into Ontario from far-away radio stations. By age sixteen, Eaglesmith had left home, hopping freight trains out west. His songs are populated with people he has been and has known: tried-but-true blue-collar guys, tired cowboys, young boys in love, bare-knuckled farmers, heartbreakingly good women, beautifully bad women, lonesome good guys, bravura bad guys and Friday-night criminals. Eaglesmith’s songs have been covered by a steadily growing list of artists, including Miranda Lambert, the Cowboy Junkies, Chris Knight, Alan Jackson, Dar Williams and Kasey Chambers.


Devin Cuddy’s music has a style its own, one that shouldn’t work, but somehow does. His unique blend of New Orleans Blues and Country effortlessly marries the two musical ideals with a distinctive element of Canadiana so eloquent, that it leaves one pondering why no one has done this before. In Toronto’s growing pseudo-country scene Devin’s new take on the genre pushes the limits of what people think they want to dance to on a Saturday night. Coming from a lifetime surrounded by song, Devin Cuddy noted in the Winnipeg Free Press that “my passion for music grew out of being surrounded by it for so long,” noting he and his siblings developed their musical tastes by picking through their dad’s (Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy) vast collection of CDs.” Since his mid teens, Devin expressed a passion for Dixieland Jazz and New Orleans Blues. Around that time, he began taking Jazz lessons in an effort to further his musical prowess. Devin burst onto the Queen Street music scene in 2010, taking up a residency at the Cameron House on Wednesday nights. After playing a multitude of live gigs, and work-shopping the songs that were eventually recorded at The Woodshed Studio, he has recently released his debut album, Volume One, on Cameron House Records. The album includes a stellar cast of musicians, namely, Nichol Robertson (guitar), Devon Richardson (bass), and Zach Sutton (drums). Produced by Devin Cuddy, the album consists of 12 tracks recorded live off the floor in four days. Devin states “It was a culmination of material that I’ve been developing for the past six years, which makes this record even more satisfying. The idea was to recreate our live show, and I think that transferred well onto these recordings. I was very fortunate to have such a great band backing me, as well as the comfort of a studio that I am very familiar with.”


HARRISON KENNEDY in 1968 joined the Detroit POP GROUP “The Chairmen of the Board.” and played all the top venues including JOHNNY CARSON’S TONIGHT SHOW, SOUL TRAIN , AMERICAN BANDSTAND and ENGLAND’S “TOP-OF-THE-POPS’, doing their hit, “Gimme Me Just A Little More Time.” C.O.T.B. had performances with B.B. KING, JAMES BROWN, SMOKEY ROBINSON, STEVIE WONDER, FUNKADELICS and more. C.O.T.B. also performed many times at New York’s Famous HARLEM’S APOLLO THEATRE.


Roots Songstress Allison Brown… … takes her country music with a side of syrup, likes her religion a little bit gritty, and keeps her folk as dusty as the ol’ cabin floor. With a hatful of broken hearts, bad weather, toils of the road and leaps of faith, Allison’s crafted originals matched with classic roots repertoire reflect the striking conviction she brings to her sweet and powerful singing. As a soloist, Allison’s lonesome warbles soar over subtle guitar framework, but can turn quickly to a feverish cyclone when joined by her spirited troupe of accompanists. Allison brings her truest self to her collection of songs and to the stage in a refreshing conversation with the audience. Allison has been singing for audiences for over twenty years.


Harlan Pepper are four young men from Hamilton playing music with an old soul. Channeling the ghosts of long-gone AM car radios and haunting the dusty aisles of small town vinyl record bins, Jimmy Hayes (guitar, pedal steel, harmonica), Dan Edmonds (banjo, keys, vocals), Thompson Wilson (bass, vocals), and Marlon Nicolle (drums, vocals) are barely out of high school.


New Country Rehab cuts through the clutter of watered-down musical imitations with a modern, high-voltage, alt-country sound. Combining sharp innovation and a deep respect and knowledge of timeless musical themes and motifs, New Country Rehab’s powerful music is full of love, loss, longing and joy.


Ontario-based singer/songwriter Ron Leary is a captivating performer who’s sarcastic and self-effacing tone will have you laughing boisterously one second and then wondering if you should have the next. It’s usually his voice that people talk about the most, one that’s been compared to “an old bottle of whiskey – warm, with a little bite and a velvety finish.”


Tif Ginn has spent most of her adult life touring North America playing music professionally. Ginn toured first as half of the Fabulous Ginn Sisters, releasing 3 critically acclaimed CDs, then as part of the Fred Eaglesmith Traveling Show. Now she takes a turn as a solo artist. “[Ginn] owns this self-titled recording with alluring vocals and wickedly wry/sly songs… she evokes Lucinda Williams’ needle-sharp early work.” (Austin Chronicle)


According to the liner notes, Darrin and Alison Schott have been playing and performing together for 25 years and this is their first CD. How incredibly selfish of them to deny the world wider access to their stunning talent. This bluegrass duo – Alison on guitar and vocals and Darrin on mandolin and vocals – are spectacular players and singers, their voices meshing seamlessly after a quarter-century of collaboration. 
Darrin can hold his own with any mandolin player you care to name. All of the songs were recorded without overdubs, an impressive achievement considering the intricacy of his playing. Alison has a gorgeous voice and it’s a shame it is not featured more often on this disc. All but four of the 13 tracks are originals and the covers they have chosen blend beautifully with their style. The question is when will the next album be released? Soon, we hope. (The Schotts …. yes soon!) Doug Swanson
penguin eggs, Issue No. 54
Summer 2012 pg. 66 The Schotts


Tara Watts is a singer/songwriter who proudly hails from Windsor, Ontario. She has been a part of the local music/arts scene for nearly a decade and was recently nominated best female original artist by Windsor Independent Magazine. She has primarily focused her efforts on her singer/songwriter career but has also been playing with the gypsy rockabilly rock band, The Locusts have no king and sitting in occasionally with Ron Leary. Watts’ influence range from Johnny Cash to Iron and Wine to Simon and Garfunkel to Patrick Watson. Watts is currently in the studio wrapping up her second full length album that is to be released mid-spring. For more info re: shows or bookings you can find her at


Henry Adam Svec has spent the past seven years or so scouring Canada in search of its lost musical treasures, and he’s found folk songs in the unlikeliest of places— from the locker rooms of the Canadian Football League to the hard drives of an artificially intelligent computer. Listen to Henry tell stories of his adventures and sing the songs he has collected.


Brendan J Stephens and Willow Walker are 1920’s blues singers in the flesh. Hitchhiking between raucous house shows, rowdy bars and busking everywhere in between, they have crafted a way of singing both their own material and songs near one hundred years old in a way entirely their own.


Prairie Siding was formed from members of the Essex-Kent Bluegrass, Oldtime & Folk Music Association to represent bluegrass music at Association and community events. Two band members, Stan Sullivan and David Blakney, are founding members of the Association and started performing together when the Association was formed in 1987 and later joined by Don MacAulay. When the Association started a Bluegrass Concert Series in 1990, there was a need for an opening band to front the featured acts from the US bluegrass heartland. Prairie Siding filled that need. Over the years there have been some member changes to accommodate schedules and personal commitments. The current members are Stan Sullivan, & David Blakney, joined on occasion by Don MacAulay, Rick Dierickse & others Prairie Siding’s repertoire is strongly traditional, drawing on the old standards of Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers and Jimmy Martin for much of it’s material, with the emphasis on vocal harmony. Entertainment is the key and Prairie Siding puts this requirement foremost in material selection, arrangements and stage presence. Always ready for a new challenge, this bluegrass group makes performance a priority and listening a pleasure.
Prairie Siding has performed for the Seniors’ RBC Jubilee at the Cleary Auditorium in Windsor and at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto and festivals around Ontario.