Feb 02 2006

North York Guitarist Behind Winterfolk

Reprinted from North York Mirror Newspaper


North York roots musician Brian Gladstone is bringing a huge roots festival, called Winterfolk, with more than 80 artists to the Danforth area of Toronto this weekend. But for his next major endeavour, the former student at William L. Mackenzie Collegiate Institute is promising to stay right at home in North York where he was born, raised and still lives. He said the first annual Brian Gladstone picnic for peace will be held July 19 in Mel Lastman Square. "I'm having a good old-fashioned peace rally," he said in a recent interview. This weekend, however, all his energies will be on his huge Winterfolk festival, which is now in its fourth year, having started at College and Spadina but is now in its second year at the Danforth location. Winterfolk is billed as a blues and roots festival, "which basically leaves it wide open", said Gladstone. "Roots music, to me, what that means is music that evolved or is indigenous to Canada or North America, which is all the folk styles, country music, bluegrass – those things evolved here. And that's mainly what we're focusing on."

Perhaps the most recognizable name to mainstream audiences is Russell DeCarle, founding member and stalwart of Prairie Oyster. He's on tap tonight. Gladstone, this year, has brought in Randi Fratkin as artistic director. "She's also the artistic director for the Mariposa Festival so she's very well connected. She brings a great amount of expertise to us." Besides the performances, workshops are also scheduled. Any guitar picker or roots music fan will want to check their web site out at www.winterfolk.com. Gladstone, a singer-songwriter with a unique finger picking style, will also perform at Winterfolk. He has four CDs to his credit, including his latest, A Time For New Beginnings. For anyone who enjoyed '60s folk, this CD could catch you by surprise. But it's no throwback. It's completely relevant to today, commenting on a variety of issues, ranging from the Iraq invasion (Flags of Freedom) and the nine-to-five rut (Office Tower Blues) and is presented in a variety of moods. Also of note is a compilation CD he has produced called Protest Songs

For a Better World. Any fan of '60s folk would no doubt be ecstatic to see the protest-song tradition very much alive and relevant. The joke for many aspiring musicians is … don't give up your day job. With Gladstone, the local music scene has obviously benefited from his doing exactly that. He spent the last 25 years as a director of engineering and as a research engineer and has two patents to his name, but since he put out his first CD in 1999, his obvious love and talent for music has taken over. "Just in the last year, I've basically retired from the corporate world, and 100 per cent of my time is devoted towards my creative interests," he said. One of those interests is the registered non-profit Association of Artists for a Better World. It is under that umbrella that he puts on Winterfolk and issues the compilation CDs. Check out that web site at www.abetterworld.ca. For more on his own CDs and performance schedule, check out his web site at www.backtothedirt.com Credit: North York

North York guitarist behind Winterfolk
[Final Edition]

The North York Mirror – North York, Ont.
Author: Norm Nelson
Date: Feb 2, 2006
Start Page: 01
Section: Lifestyle
Text Word Count: 537


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