Hosted by Paul Mills
Crabtreet & Mills
Writing from a sonic menu that includes flavors of Irish, Scottish, folk and country musical styles, Dave Gunning transcends genre with songs that fill your senses and touch your soul. Dave’s 10th album, ‘No More Pennies’ is inarguably his finest collection of songs to date and was honoured with the 2014 East Coast Music Award for Solo Recording of the Year and the Music Nova Scotia Award for Folk Recording of the Year.. Dave and his song, “These Hands” (co-written with George Canyon) picked up two East Coast Music Awards for Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year and was the First Place Winner in the 2014 Great American Song Contest. His hockey themed anthem, “A Game Goin’ On” (co-written with David Francey) was awarded the winner of the CBC Hockey Night In Canada Song Quest Competition.
An engaging entertainer and award-winning songwriter, Dave has the magnetic ability to captivate audiences with his own brand of humorous storytelling and is rapidly building a solid audience fan base across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Blessed with a warm, powerful baritone voice and an undeniable prowess on guitar, Dan McKinnon has carved out a unique musical path. Reminiscent of the bards and balladeers of old, Dan engages the audience with his sharply observed stories and passionately delivered songs.
Dan continues to perform yearly, as he has for the past eighteen years, in folk clubs and festivals throughout the UK, encompassing its length and breadth.
“You can hear from the moment he steps out in front of an audience that he’s one of the most engaging and genuine performers on the scene.” (David Kidman, The Living Tradition)
At the heart of Dan McKinnon’s life and work is a profound respect for the past, balanced by a passionate attachment to the present. Dan’s songwriting celebrates the rich heritage of Maritime Canada, a deep inquisitiveness into the human condition, tempered by a stubborn dedication to writing songs about where, how, and who we are.
“Dan McKinnon puts so much heart and soul into his music that listening to him, be it live or on CD, is a healing experience.” (Mary Beth Carty, Penguin Eggs)
Ariel is a familiar face at Hugh’s Room – one of her favourite venues in Toronto. She has overseen the legacy left behind in the wake of Stan’s tragic death and is pleased that Borealis Records will continue to nurture his music on the same firm ground. A musician in her own right, she has spent many years on stage and behind the wings in countless productions for community theatre in the Hamilton-Wentworth area. She has four very talented children who have also brought her much joy in the gift of four wonderful grand-daughters. Ariel is married to singer-songwriter Scott Cameron Smith.
Beth, Stan Rogers’ step-daughter, is no stranger to Hugh’s Room, having performed for the Stan Rogers tribute numerous times. It has always been a thoroughly enjoyable experience and she looks forward to being a part of it as often as she can. Beth lives a musical life, having taught voice for 20 years now both on Prince Edward Island and here in Ontario. She is also very involved in Hamilton’s Musical Theatre scene, having played such roles as Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers, Dulcinea/Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, and most recently Trina in Falsettos. She is very excited to be embarking on a new journey this fall with the implementation of Musical Theatre Classes for kids. She is supported by her loving husband, Roger and her teenage daughter, Violet, who is showing all the promise of following in the family’s musical footsteps.
When Joanne Crabtree first heard Stan Rogers “From Fresh Water” album, she declared him Canada’s best songwriter and possibly even best poet, so when she decided to make a solo album in 2000, she sought out Paul Mills to produce, knowing full well he had been Stan’s friend, accompanist, and producer, and was the person largely responsible for the brilliant arrangements on her favourite Stan album. She sang Stan’s “House of Orange” on her solo recording.
Joanne and Paul, both recognized as pioneers in Canadian folk music, came together again in 2006 to produce a CD showcasing her warmly vibrant voice and his playfully elegant guitar. Early in that co-production, it became clear they had become a duo, and Crabtree&Mills was born. Their rich musical collaboration has continued ever since, resulting in the release of three critically acclaimed albums and countless club, concert and festival appearances.
Self described “singer and writer of old songs”, concertina player and long-time member of the venerable Friends of Fiddler’s Green and Finest Kind, Ian met Stan in the mid 1970s and they became firm friends.
Ian’s singing career started in London folk clubs during the 1960s British folk scare. He emigrated to Ontario in 1970 and quickly gravitated to Toronto’s Fiddler’s Green club where he was given the Queen’s shilling and became a charter member of “the Friends”, now in their 43rd year of mayhem. He moved to the Ottawa area in 1973, co-founded that city’s Old Sod Folk Music Society, started a small recording company, wrote countless columns for Come for to Sing and Sing Out! Magazines, and with Finest Kind toured widely across North America and in the UK. He was the recipient of the first Canadian Folk Music Award for “Best Traditional Singer” in 2005 for his recording with the band Jiig.
“My friendship with Stan was a sparring match, but I believe there was a lot of mutual respect and exchange of ideas”, says Ian. “I loved the fact that this guy wrote believable songs about the lives and struggles of Canadians; accessible songs with great melodies, and that nothing pleased him more than having his songs sung by others”.