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Canmore Folk Music Festival
Box 8098 Canmore, AB
T1W 2T8

Special Thanks To

Canadian Heritage



Complete 2013 Lineup

We are thrilled to announce our complete lineup for 2013!! Please see below for bios and select videos. And keep an eye on our facebook page, where we will share more great videos and information about this year's performers! This year, we are thrilled to have:

Jim Cuddy | Spirit of the West | Matt Andersen | David Francey
Great Lake Swimmers | Del Barber | Chic Gamine | Rose Cousins |Alex Cuba
Alpha Yaya Diallo | Norman Foote | Tony Furtado | Good for Grapes | Habadekuk
The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer | Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac
Richard Perso | Ben Sollee | Oliver Swain’s BIG MACHINE | Tim Williams

Performers from the School of Song

*Dancing: Please note our new dancing policy, established in 2012, will continue in 2013.
For more information, see the Festival Etiquette Section.

Jim Cuddy - jimcuddy.com

The Canmore Folk Festival is renowned for bringing its audiences some pretty hot performances, but this year Jim Cuddy promises to turn the heat up even more.

Front man for Blue Rodeo, extraordinary solo performer and, together with Greg Keelor, half of one of Canada’s best songwriting teams, Cuddy will make his first appearance at Canmore as the finale act on the Monday night.

With Blue Rodeo he’s sold four million records, won five JUNO Awards as Group of the Year and been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. With the eponymous Jim Cuddy Band he’s packed concert halls and festivals from coast to coast, beginning with the 1998’s release of All in Time, which quickly hit gold record status. Eight years later his solo album The Light That Guides You Home picked up the Juno for Adult Alternative Album of the Year. His third and most recent solo album, Skyscraper Soul, snagged him yet another Juno nomination.

His presence on the Stan Rogers Stage this year is the culmination of a long-held dream of the Canmore Folk Fest and a fitting way to launch our next 35 years of outstanding music.

Spirit of the West - sotw.ca

No introduction necessary. How many bands get to say that? Canada’s very own Spirit of the West is celebrating 30 years of hard-pumping Celtic rock by dropping into the Canmore Folk Music Festival.

This is not their first appearance here. Way back in 1987, when they were just starting to set the folk world on fire, Spirit of the West appeared at the Canmore Folk Fest’s 10th anniversary festival (and yes, dancing did break out among the crowd. Who could stop them?)

Apparently nothing can stop the five west coast boys who have now given us 13 remarkable albums and countless hundreds of live appearances from coast to coast and eight more countries beyond. Awards too numerous to mention, Hall of Fame recognition, gold and platinum albums and an irrepressible charm that will never, ever get old. So excited to have them with us this year.

Matt Andersen - stubbyfingers.ca

We try not to make a habit of bringing back performers time after time, but sometimes we just can’t resist – and Matt Andersen is one guitarist we just can’t resist. His first and only appearance at the Canmore Folk Fest was in 2010 and we’ve been hearing requests from fans ever since for a repeat performance.

2010 was also the year he became the first Canadian ever to win the famed Memphis International Blues Challenge. His most recent album Coal Mining Blues (co-written and produced by Colin Linden and featuring The Band keyboardist Garth Hudson and Olabelle singer Amy Helm, has received rave reviews the length and breadth of North America.

David Francey - davidfrancey.com

There are poets and there are musicians, and once in a while lightning strikes twice in the same place. Such would be the way to describe Scottish-born Canadian singer/songwriter David Francey, one of the most rightfully celebrated folk troubadours this country has ever produced.

With nine CDs to date and a raft of awards to his credit (three Junos, the prestigious SOCAN Folk Music Award, Grand Prize winner in the International Acoustic Music Awards and in the Folk category of the John Lennon Songwriting Award) Francey is a welcome addition to this year’s roster at the Canmore Folk Music Festival. His humour, perception and gentle way of delivering profound messages to our world are a rare gift in our times.

Great Lake Swimmers - greatlakeswimmers.com

Sometimes dreams really do come true. For several years now Great Lakes Swimmers has been on the top of our wish list for the Canmore Folk Festival, and this year the stars and the schedules have aligned. Flying just-under-the-radar for the last decade – despite topping Canadian music charts, debuting albums in the US at #10 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and being shortlisted for the Polaris Prize in 2009, plus nominations for both Juno and Canadian Folk Music Awards – their lack of household name status is more than made up for in the passion and timelessness of their music. Fronted by the nearing-iconic-status of songwriter Tony Dekker, the 10-year-old Ontario band maintains an acute respect for the folk tradition while at the same time transforming it for new listeners everywhere. Dekker writes songs that you can’t just hear – you MUST listen. With its swirl of acoustic guitars, banjos and brushed snare mixes, and the skillful instrumental interplay of all of the above, Great Lakes Swimmers is the kind of band that transcends generations and just speaks to the soul and heart of all of us.

Del Barber - delbarber.com

Del Barber is an old soul in a young man’s body. An award-winning singer/songwriter, he’s plied his craft across the US and Canada, in bars and churches, halls and festival stages, community centres and living rooms. He has given himself up to the music that demands to be written and to a career less about accolades than about following his heart and experiencing deeply all that life has to offer. Reminiscent of an early John Prine (whose music he cites as a major influence, along with the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons, Lucinda Williams and Neil Young) he was nominated for a Juno for his second album, Love Songs of the Last Twenty, and won two Western Canadian Music Awards for the same album. Like Prine, the literary quality of the songs he writes is profound, turning them into deeply personal vignettes of love and life, of what is so wrong with this world and what is so right. Coupled with his gentle guitar, his warm, buttery voice and his humorous insights, Barber captivates audiences of 20 people in a living room or 20,000 people in an open field. On the road performing for much of the last five years, Barber makes his first appearance at Canmore’s Folk Festival this year.

Chic Gamine - chicgamine.com

Winsome, wicked and witty, Chic Gamine embodies the ‘60s girl-group vibe all grown up and living in a new century. Wall-of-sound harmonies, hip-shaking beats – these women could be straight out of Motown, before you throw in the curveball of French pop and four rotating lead singers. By all the laws of the music business, this group is like the unicorn – it probably shouldn’t exist, let alone be performing at the Olympics and winning Juno Awards. Four Winnipeg women with their hand-picked Montreal drummer, they’ve captivated audiences across North America with their rhythm and blues, nouveau pop and vintage soul. They’ve been a regular feature on critics’ best-of lists, opened for Smokey Robinson and shared a stage with Mavis Staples (who confessed they reminded her of her family, the Staple Singers). When they were picked to perform at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, the whole world got a glimpse of their impish and tasty take on yesteryear’s harmonic convergences.

Rose Cousins - rosecousins.com

This is definitely the Year of the Rose in our books, and the woman that causes us to say this is coming to the Canmore Folk Festival.

PEI’s Rose Cousins, hot off her triple win at the East Coast Music Awards (Folk Recording of the Year, Solo Recording of the Year and Songwriter of the Year) has been setting the country on fire since she debuted in 2006, but this year she’s untouchable. The album that earned her the three ECMAs, We Have Made A Spark, has been winning over music critics from her home in Halifax to the far west coast since the minute it was released, with reviews hailing it as “one of the best records made in Canada” and “stunning from start to finish”.

Alex Cuba - alexcuba.com

For years Alex Cuba has been confounding listeners and defying those who would attempt to pigeon-hole him. Is it funk? Is it soul? Is it pop? Is it folk?

It is definitely Latin, and all of the above rolled into one amazing package of wicked guitar, raw vocals and superb lyrics. An incessant touring artist with an explosive live show, Cuba has snagged more than a pocketful of awards in the 14 years in which he’s lived in Canada, including two Junos (2006 Humo De Tabaco and 2008 Agua Del Pozo) and the 2010 Latin Grammy for Best New Artist. Collaborating with artists like Ron Sexsmith and Nelly Furtado, Cuba has topped traditional and online music ratings charts with virtually everything he’s released, and we’re beyond thrilled that he’s making his first appearance at the Canmore Music Festival in 2013.

Alpha Yaya Diallo - alphayayadiallo.com

This man has graced us with his presence before and we’re thrilled to have him back. Guitarist and singer Alpha Yaya Diallo, from Guinea in West Africa and now based out of Vancouver, is one of the hottest acts on the current world music scene. He’s earned a matchless reputation internationally for the excellence of his musicianship and the excitement of his live shows. His dexterous acoustic and electric guitar playing, with its fluid melodic lines and compelling grooves, places him in the front ranks of African axemen. In addition he is a skilled and experienced performer on a variety of percussion instruments. To complete the abundance of riches Diallo writes his own compositions, and sings with a supple and beautifully modulated voice. By successfully uniting the traditional and the contemporary, Diallo has carved a niche for himself beside such West African luminaries as Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour, and Ismael Lo.

Tony Furtado - tonyfurtado.com

Finger-picking virtuouso Tony Furtado is renowned for his equal dexterity on both the banjo and the bottleneck slide guitar, but to get a true sense of the man’s phenomenal talent you’ve got to see him live. Luckily for us – and you – he has consented to take part in this year’s Canmore Folk Festival. Winner of two National Bluegrass Banjo Championships, Furtado roams the spectrum of genres, from bluegrass to folk, indie-rock to the blues and even throws in a helping of jazz. His work has been compared to Béla Fleck, Blind Willie Johnson and the early releases of Ry Cooder, while his voice and laid-back gentle humour draws analogies to T Bone Burnett. But Furtado is uniquely himself, a performer you’ll not want to miss and you’ll never forget.

Norman Foote ~ normanfoote.com

Norman Foote is an award winning entertainer from Vancouver, Canada who has received international acclaim for his song writing, outrageous props and off beat sense of humor. His stage show is uniquely Norman and is innovative both musically and visually. With finely crafted routines and songs, Norman is one of North America's most highly regarded entertainer's of his kind.

Norman's sense of humor is ever present in his concerts, recordings and music videos. Performing in theaters, festivals and with symphony orchestras he has been from Nashville to Newfoundland, and from New York to Nagasaki, Japan. His concert is a highly engaging experience featuring “Foote” classics and songs from his new JUNO Award-Winning album “Love My New Shirt”.

Good for Grapes - facebook.com/goodforgrapes

From tiniest of acorns sprouts the mightiest of oaks. Or vines, as the case may be.

Good for Grapes, the indie-folk band out of Surrey, BC that’s been setting the folk music world abuzz since its 2011 win of the Rogers usMusic Battle of the Bands, lately has been opening concerts for Spirit of the West. We’ve had our eye on them for some time, and that time is now. And how fortuitous that we have them both in the same year!

This seven-member band that launched itself two years ago as buskers on the streets of Victoria has grown to a serious force to be reckoned with. After a full sophomore season of festivals, bars, coffee shops and just generally spreading their sound as far and fast as they could, they’ve become renowned for the energy and passion they throw into a show, creating a foot-stomping, hand-clapping folk jig like no other. On-stage interplay, a vast array of instruments (accordion, trumpet, trombone, keyboard…) and an unjaded enthusiasm that just screams – these guys are so in love with what they do!

Habadekuk - habadekuk.dk

How about a little two-stepping polka jazz with your Celtic rock and Danish folk?

If that sounds a little daring (not to mention confusing) never fear. One of the most intriguing sounds to come out of Scandinavia these days is Habadekuk, a nine-piece band from Denmark playing everything from fiddle to saxophone, with some accordion and trumpet thrown in for good measure.

Along with the aforementioned alphabet soup of musical styles you get jigs and sea shanties, lyrical waltzes and a bit of salsa. Awarded Album of the Year at the Danish Music Awards in the folk category in 2011, the band has wowed audiences across Europe and Canada. They have appeared at Tønder Festival, Skagen Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival (UK), WOMAD (UK), Beverley Festival (UK), Mission Folk Festival (CAN), Korrö Festival (SE), Irish Guinness Festival (CH), NAFCo Fiddle Conference (IRL), Festival des Traversées Tatihou (FR), Gooikoorts (B), Sounds of the North (PL), Haukelister Festival (N) Koskis Folk and Folklandia (FIN).

Apparently their motto is: We blow you away. We would heartily concur.

The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer - harpoonistaxemurderer.com

The blues might be centuries old, but it’s never too late to put a new spin on the genre. This Vancouver-based duo (Shawn Hall – the “harpoonist” and Matthew Rogers – the “Axe Murderer”) electrifies their deep blues style with a lightning bolt of new life. Drawing on influences as varied as Robert Johnson to Jack White, it’s gritty soul punched up with some serious funk. Using only their hands, feet and mouths, this pair produces sound that hits you in the solar plexus – it’s blues the way it’s meant to be played. We love the fact that in their incredibly busy 2013 touring schedule they’ve made room for the Canmore Folk Festival. Be prepared to be amazed.

Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac - maryjaneandwendy.com

It’s sometimes hard to stand out in an area like Cape Breton Island, where outstanding musicians seems to spring like wildflowers, but Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac are in a class of their own. Individually they’re leaders of their generation of Cape Breton Gaelic musicians, but joining their considerable talents as a duo was an inspired move. Lamond’s powerful vocals and MacIsaac’s commanding fiddle playing have taken them around the world, devoted to keeping the light of Cape Breton’s song heritage alive and fresh. In the process, they’ve reinvigorated North America’s Celtic music scene and reminded us all what a debt we owe to those who came before.

Richard Perso ~ richardperso.com

Richard Perso doesn't seem to have enough arms, legs or lungs to pull off such a physically demanding performance but that doesn't stop him from playing 3 didgeridoos, driving a weapons cache of 4 overdriven acoustic guitars and somehow managing to replace the roll of a drummer with little more than his 2 feet. Australian cultural heritage mixed with blues, rock and folk influences. As just a 22 year, Richard is quickly establishing himself with appearances at more than 100 festivals, recorded his 2 albums in New York and back to Canada for 2 tours in 2013.

Ben Sollee - bensollee.com

In 2008 he was named one of the Top Ten Great Unknown Artists by National Public Radio, and for many in our audience he will be a delightful “discovery”, but Ben Sollee has been making a lot of noise on the folk circuit for the last few years. Known for his thrilling cello playing that incorporates new techniques to create a unique mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B, Sollee will enthrall a crowd with his amazing lyrics and gritty vocals. Powerful, graceful, humorous and witty, we know you’re going to love him at this year’s Canmore Folk Fest.

Oliver Swain’s Big Machine - oliverswainmusic.com

Oliver Swain’s biography reads like a Who’s Who of the contemporary North American folk scene and paints a map of an extraordinary musical journey.

Stints with the Bill Hilly Band and Scruj MacDuhk, one-third of the trio Moody, Penner and Swain, a year with the Red Stick Ramblers, co-founder of Outlaw Social and now frontman for the band that bears his name, Swain has always dared to be different. In the process, he’s brought folk music into a whole new world. Who else would even attempt Bruce Springsteen’s I’m on Fire on a 120-year-old goatskin banjo?

Tim Williams - cayusemusic.com

From the musical melting pot of southern US and the incredibly rich and fertile California coffee house culture of the ‘50s and ‘60s comes Tim Williams, a blues-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. A raconteur with a voluminous knowledge of the history of the blues and the evolution of folk, Williams brings an amazing array of instruments and stories to the table, enthralling audiences with a virtual tour of the Delta and Memphis, Chicago and New Orleans. Inspired by the hillbilly and Western Swing music he heard as a child, Tim absorbed late ‘50s rhythm & blues and rock & roll, Hawaiian and Mexican music, early ‘60s folk, and bluegrass before discovering a passion for traditional blues styles which was fueled by seeing many first generation blues musicians live during the “Blues Boom” of the mid and late ‘60s. Based out of Calgary these days, he still performs 275 gigs a year, from his beloved coffee houses to festival stages both big and small, with a commanding knowledge of the music that will make you sit up and pay attention.

Performers from the School of Song

The Eerie Green (trio) - Canmore, AB

The Eerie Green is a folk/rock collaboration of Canmore musicians, and friends, Layten Kramer, Logan Thackray, and Eli Panning-Osendarp. Their unique sound resonates with all generations. Inspired by love, nature, and life, these guys look forward to playing for you and making new friends!

Braden Gates (single) - Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
website: http://www.bradengates.com/

Braden Gates is a natural-born storyteller with honest and heartfelt lyrics, and an unassuming stage presence. His ability to tell stories that evoke your own memories will open your heart and draw you in. He has traveled all over Canada and Western Europe, sharing his songs and stories, and has recently released his new album, Break it to Me Gently. Braden's songs of hockey, love, place, and longing will grab your attention. For him, that connection is what it's all about.

James of Dark Wood (quarte)- Beaumont, AB
website (bandcamp): http://jamesofdarkwood.bandcamp.com

Steady finger picked guitar, mutterings of hollow flutes, rumbling percussion, bowed bass, and tip-toeing piano create waves of harmony that beat restlessly against the coast of their music. James of Dark Wood is a choral folk storybook that scans the dusty horizons for whatever ship is meant to lift a yearning heart from the love of a childhood home to the timelessness that created it.

Jordan Norman (single) - Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
website: http://www.jordannormanmusic.com

Jordan Norman is a throwback singer/songwriter with influences both modern and retro. Described as grunge goes acoustic, his music is many different genres mixed into a new style. An unassuming performer, Jordan consistently exceeds the listener's expectations with his catchy lyrics, down-to-earth vocals and well-crafted melodies.


Cayley Thomas (single) - Edmonton, Alberta
website: https://soundcloud.com/cayley-kathleen-thomas

Cayley Thomas sounds like the muddy Mississippi came west on the North Saskatchewan whitewater. Born and raised on the riverbanks of Edmonton, Cayley is at home singing the blues of long winter nights, the jazz of orange prairie mornings and the folk of everyday life. Classically trained in voice and theatre she bravely navigates the route of singer songwriter, crooning with vulnerability and bravado, breaking hearts wherever she goes.

Alex Vissia (single) - Edmonton, Alberta
website: http://www.alexvissia.com

With roots in the country and folk traditions of songwriting, Alex Vissia (VISS-ee-uh) manages to keep a steady gaze on lyricism while moving beyond the constraints of a single genre. “Folk-rock I suppose you would call her... yet it seems like there is a ‘rocker chick’ inside her somewhere, maybe just a swig of whiskey away.” NewMusicMichael.com

School of Song backing musicians: Dean Kheroufi, Connor Ellinger, & Trevor McNeely SoS

The School of Song
The School of Song is an educational outreach program dedicated to teaching, mentoring and developing songwriters. We are proud to work in partnership with The Canmore Folk Music Festival to nurture, inspire and introduce outstanding emerging artists to new audiences.

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