Jan 14 2010



TORONTO – THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2010 – The EIGHTH ANNUAL WINTERFOLK FESTIVAL is back and bigger than ever. This year’s lineup is almost an embarrassment of riches when it comes to award-winning talent, which includes Indigenous roots/blues duo DIGGING ROOTS, exceptional singer-songwriters JON BROOKS, MARIANNE GIRARD, ARIANA GILLIS and DAVID LEASK, East Coast songbird KIM WEMPE, barrelhouse bluesman JULIAN FAUTH, “guitarchaeologist” and Bluz FM radio personality  DANNY MARKS, blues harmonica great AL LERMAN, guitar-slingers WENDELL FERGUSON and newcomer EWAN DOBSON and Canada’s ambassadors of musical diversity SULTANS OF STRING. Plus many more! For more information and updates please visit www.winterfolk.com   Winterfolk Festival VIII boasts a treasure trove lineup of veterans and newcomers alike and where else are you going to hear so much Canadian talent all in one weekend and in one area of downtown Toronto. It’s a coming together of some of the finest musicians around. Many award-winners and new rising stars can be found at the festival.   Not only award-winning performers here, but after an extensive search for new talent through auditions held in several Ontario cities, the Winterfolk festival – which runs from February 12 -15, 2010 – will also be presenting the winners of that process as part of a total 100 artists performing this year. Toronto’s free, all-ages, mid-winter, weatherproof urban roots and blues festival, now in its eighth year, will take place in four downtown venues, (six stages in all) and for the very first time it will be for four days of music instead of three.     HIGHLIGHTED ARTISTS:   DIGGING ROOTSwww.diggingrootsmusic.com   Digging Roots has been nominated for over 25 awards including a Juno award. They were honoured in Nov. 2009 with Best Group at the CAMAs and have also been awarded with best blues, best songwriter, best new artist, and most recently best group/duo among others. Building on the success of their first full-length studio recording Seeds, Digging Roots (Raven and Shoshona), brings their latest sonic offering We Are. Released to a packed house at Toronto’s Mod Club in October ‘09 they continued the momentum, wrapping up with a jam-packed Canadian summer tour. With songs like the title track, ‘We Are’ and, ‘Spring to Come’, this latest album demonstrates the genre-bending and experimental interest of the band and marks a new turn for them as artists. The collection of songs on “We Are’ sifts their acoustic blues-driven sound into a psychedelic – folk – hick – hop feast with a dash of reggae and a pinch of jazz. All is underscored by their Indigenous roots and socially poignant lyrics. Watch for them this year at the Olympics, Australia, Mexico, and on their cross-Canada tour!   JULIAN FAUTHwww.julianfauth.com Winner of the 2009 Juno Award for Best Blues Album (Ramblin’ Son), and nominee for numerous Maple Blues Awards, Julian Fauth is a soulful singer-songwriter and barrelhouse piano player working in the tradition of pre-war acoustic blues. Fauth began listening to blues and fooling around on the piano as a child. After coming to Toronto in 1996, he began jamming in Kensington Market bars, which led to a busy career on the Toronto blues scene today. He has played in Russia, Cuba, Germany, the USA and various parts of Canada, meeting and playing with the best in the business such as the late Mel Brown, his friend and mentor, but you can still catch him belting it out at local Toronto watering holes. He is currently working on a new CD to be released by Electro-Fi.   DANNY MARKSwww.dannym.com  / www.jazz.fm Toronto Blues Society’s Blues With A Feeling Award for lifetime achievement in 2007 had Danny's name on it. A longtime player and supporter of blues music, he is a unique performer and blues/roots music officionado if ever there was one. If there’s a popular song from 1900 to now, chances are Danny Marks has heard it, and can sing it. And maybe even put a new spin on it. The velvety bass voice behind JAZZ.FM91’s weekly Bluz.fm radio show not only talks the talk, but has walked the walk his entire life. Marks has released two highly acclaimed original albums, the all-instrumental Guitarchaeology in 1998 and a biographical confessional, True. In 2004 his third disc Big Town Boy was a romp through home town classics winning a big glossy rave in Billboard Magazine. Currently, Danny is finishing up tracks for his latest, A Friend in the Blues, due to be released in spring 2010.   AL LERMANwww.myspace.com/allerman Considered among the top harmonica players in the country, Lerman is a two-time Juno Award Winner with his electric blues band Fathead and his sax playing recently garnered a Maple Blues Award nomination for Horn Player of the Year. Playing acoustic blues at Winterfolk, he is a journeyman musician who performs with sizzle and a whole lot of soul. Many of his original songs appear on Fathead’s latest disc Where’s The Blues Taking Me and he has produced or appeared on albums by the likes of Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, Morgan Davis, Little Mack Simmons, Rita Chiarelli, Rick Fines and many more.   JON BROOKSwww.jonbrooks.ca A 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee ‘Best Songwriter’ 2006 /2009,  winner of the 2009 Mountain Stage NewSong Contest, Canadian 2008 winner of the Porcupine Award and OCFF ‘Songs From The Heart’ winner in 2007, Brooks draws inspiration from those living on the outskirts of approval. In his own words he comments, “ultimately, the folk singer is trying to politicize love – to lobby for compassion to be our principle representative in government office…I want my songs to be three and half-minute pills which induce upon the listener empathy toward others.” After his critically acclaimed and much loved release Ours and the Shepherds, his third and most recent CD Moth Nor Rust, is an investigation into all the living things that neither moth nor rust can touch: love, hope, trust, memory, inspiration, justice, and faith. Lyrics from the album were published by Canada’s foremost literary quarterly Exile Editions. More than a celebration of the inner life, the collection is an implicit reminder of how the folk song is a necessary and moral means toward lifting humanity in the 21st century.   KIM WEMPEwww.kimwempe.com A showcasing artist for the 2010 ECMA awards and nominated for Female Solo Artist and Rising Star Recording of the Year, she is a rising star indeed. While Kim’s first full-length album The Last Version (2007) captures a range of toe-tapping rhythms and styles from soulful blues melodies, to jazz-influenced folk tunes, she recently won the Nova Scotia Music Award for Folk Recording of the Year (Where I Need to Be EP (2009). With a raw and powerful voice, Kim Wempe leaves an imprint on your soul and a melody you just can’t shake. Her evocative artistic style, fiercely emotional lyrics and honest onstage performance are one of a kind. Since her move to the East Coast, Kim has shared stages and stories with some of Canada’s favorite Maritime musical acts, including Jill Barber, Christina Martin, Ryan Cook, Charlie A’Court, Coco Love Alcorn, and Norma MacDonald. Her captivating live show has turned heads and hearts at festivals across the country from Evolve in Nova Scotia to Morfee Mountain in British Columbia and back to Halifax’s In The Dead of Winter Festival. Her upcoming album, Painting With Tides is due for release in 2010.   MARIANNE GIRARDwww.mariannegirard.com A 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards Nominee for Best Contemporary Vocalist, Marianne Girard is a truly captivating performer. European radio calls her 'a Canadian nightingale' and says “she will melt your heart and move your feet.”  And, back home Penguin Eggs raves, “Songs delivered with a lovely, compelling voice that is full of passion.” Greg Quill says, “her latest album Pirate Days is a revelation …alternately bold and tender, the tunes are clever and memorable, the production tasteful and the ensemble musicianship of the finest order. But on Pirate Days it's the vocal performances that stay with you. They're warm, inclusive, commanding. The confessional, occasionally ribald tone of the songs is served exquisitely by a voice that's unequivocally pure and joyfully unrestrained.”   ARIANA GILLISwww.arianagillis.com    Winner of the 2009 Niagara Music Awards Songwriter of the Year and a 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award, Gillis is a young performer with a musical message that is a fusion of everything between the old and the new, the profound, the sad and the joyful. Mix brilliant songwriting with intelligent and exciting arrangements played by a band of world-class musicians and you’ve got a sound whose time has come. Ariana Gillis is redefining the borders of folk, breaking the rules of pop and taking them as her hostages into a little castle on "mount doom." Another rising star wise beyond her years!   DAVID LEASKwww.davidleask.com   Winner of the 2009 OCFF (Ontario Council of Folk Festivals ) “Songs From The Heart” contest, he has been tagged by Songwriters Magazine as “the most consistent Canadian songwriting competition winner.” Originally from Scotland, David Leask has embraced the rootsy Canadian influences of his new home and blended them with the Celtic and melodic-pop sensibilities of his homeland. Also the recipient of the Mississauga Performing Artist of the Year Award, Leask has produced three critically-acclaimed CD’s and received numerous international songwriting awards in a range of categories that include folk, jazz, blues, rock, country and gospel. A talented multi-instrumentalist with a sharp Scottish wit, his live show is always musically rich, high energy and heart-felt. Look for his new release in spring 2010.   WENDELL FERGUSON www.wendellferguson.com They truly broke the mold when it comes to the funny and original seven-time winner of the CCMA (Candian Country Music Awards) Guitar Player of the Year award as well as nominee for the 2006 CCMA Album of the year. There are a whole lot more awards and nominations in between. Musical friends speak highly of Wendell. As veteran folkie Holmes Hooke puts it: “If the folk community was a village, he’d be our idiot.” As Washboard Hank puts it: “I know idiots that think he’s a genius.” Either way you’ll enjoy his brilliant songs and fingerstyle pickin’. He may be a buffoon, a fool, a charlatan and a general nuisance…but he can play the guitar (a bit). He’s also garnered an OCPFA Lifetime Musician Award and was twice nominated for a JUNO. Despite all this he still remains the same unapproachable snob he’s always been. His latest CD entitled, Wendell Live! The Shit Hits the Fans! was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2005 Canadian Country Music Awards.   EWAN DOBSONwww.ewandobson.com You may not know him yet, but you will. At such a young age, Dobson has already won too many awards to mention them all. Highlights include winner of the 2009 Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Champion and 2009 Montreal Guitar Grand Prix’s Acoustic Category. He placed 3rd in the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship in Winfield, KS. Because of his incredible skill and drive, he has established himself as one of Canada’s most brilliant and exhilarating young guitarists, having won first prize in nearly every single Classical Guitar competition across the country. In addition to dominating the provincial competition circuit, Dobson has made his mark nationally having represented Ontario twice at the National Finals of the prestigious Canadian Music Competitions (CMC) and having been awarded the top prize in guitar. Most recently, Dobson was crowned the Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Champion at the prestigious 5th annual Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition held in Kingston, Ontario. You really have to see/hear him to believe it.   SULTANS OF STRINGwww.sultansofstring.com The 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award triple nominee winning Instrumental Group of the Year with Sultans of String, a 2009 JUNO Award nomination for bandleader Chris McKhool and a 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award and 2009 Parents’ Choice Award winner for Chris McKhool with Fiddlefire, Sultans of String members are Canada’s ambassadors of musical diversity. The band romps through an energized adventure of Latin, Gypsy–jazz, Middle Eastern and folk rhythms, celebrating musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity. Fiery violin dances with rumba-flamenco guitar while a funk bass lays down unstoppable grooves. When the six-string violinist and bandleader Chris McKhool (who has performed with Jesse Cook and Pavlo) first heard guitarist Kevin Laliberté’s rumba rhythm, their musical mind-meld created the Sultans of String’s sound – the intimate and playful relationship between violin and the flamenco guitar.   FULL ARTIST LINEUP: (For complete bios, please visit www.winterfolk.com ) Alan Gerber Alfie Smith Amy Campbell Bob Snider Brian Blain Brian Gladstone Brock Zeman ChoirGirlz D’Arcy Wickhan Dan McVeigh Darrell Grant David Celia David Gillis David Leask David Newland Eric Fisher Graydon James Howard Gladstone Ian Reid Joan Beson Joe Hall John Jackson and Steve Paul Simms Laura Fernandez Lynn Harrison Marg Stowe Marc Charron Max Woolaver Maxim Budnick Michael Brennan & Steve Briggs Michael Jerome Browne Mose Scarlett Mr Rick Mr Rick & Biscuits Noah Zacharin Nonie Crete. Peter Verity Philip Brown Related Rick Hodgson Rick Taylor Rosemary Phelan w/ Jason LaPrade Russell Leon Seb Agnello Shawn Brush String Bone Sue & Dwight Suzie Vinnick Swamp Ward Orchestra Tim Jackson Tony Quarrington William and Polly                                                                                       -30-     For more information, photos, interviews, please contact:   Beverly Kreller SPEAK Music www.speak-music.com bev@speak-music.com 416.922.3620

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