by Lynn Stevenson
If the test of character is how you function under pressure, then the people behind this year’s Ottawa Folk Festival passed with flying colours. Facing weather one fan called “biblical”, organizers quickly shuffled acts and rearranged venues to turn a bad situation into something very special. Much credit goes to Folk Fest organizer Dylan Griffith and his core team – but also to the many rain-soaked yet still smiling volunteers who made sure that the bands played on.
And play they did! Anywhere and everywhere shelter could safely be found, musicians jammed to the delight of a wet but enthusiastic audience. When the skies opened on Sunday and lightening forced most outdoor stages and tents to close, musicians found themselves in close quarters with artists they had never played with before – the results were always interesting and at times magical.
I am pleased to report that the Spirit of Rasputin’s rose to the occasion as well with great activities throughout the festival. SoR performers and volunteers were not put off by the weather or any other obstacles. For example, when sound-bleed from the main stage threatened to drown out our Open Stage in the OFC tent, our supportive audience came to the rescue clapping along with such energy that it seemed we built a sound-wall around the stage. The SoR info table came together nicely and the fridge magnets were a hit! While weather prevented having the table on Sunday, Spirit volunteers, in distinctive red Rasputin’s t-shirts, roamed the grounds sharing as much information and enthusiasm as possible. Continue reading
A review by Lynn Stevenson
Terry Tufts has a thing for Julie Andrews – well at least the one with a spoon full of sugar in hand. “I liked that she could hover,” said Tufts who by that point had the entire audience floating – high on hope and the passionate lyrics of a man who believes to the core in what he sings. Accompanied by the blissful upright bass of John Geggie and flawless piano of Mark Ferguson, Tufts sailed through two perfect sets that began with a wake-up call and ended with a plea for the earth. In between were tales of adventure, of people who dreamed and saw no limit to imagination, dad’s wisdom, a beloved’s arms, precocious children and a wild ride on a fabled toboggan. I could not stop smiling. Song after song – each different yet perfect – fueled by the flying fingers of Terry Tufts. Continue reading
“And of the few things on Earth of value and worth
I’ll still have at the end of the day
There’s the memories I’ll sleep with and things
My father would say”
W.T. Tufts, 2000
Want a Father’s Day to Remember? Then go no further than the Elmdale Tavern, this Sunday June 20th to hear Terry Tufts weave his ‘wild ideas’ and the wise words of fathers into heartfelt songs that will inspire and leave you smiling. A dedicated dad himself, Tufts sings fondly of his late father, “the smartest person I ever met.” He credits his dad’s job, which took him to postings from Denver to Rome, as an important early influence in his musical career.
Tufts lives off-grid with his wife and daughter in North Frontenac county. He is known for his commitment to the environment and social justice – best felt on songs such as “Brighter Shade of Green”and “Open Letter to the Earth.” He is also known for his brilliant finger-style guitar work and a voice that pours out passion with every note. Terry Tufts has six albums to his credit including “2 Nights Solo” which was recorded live at the old Rasputin’s Café. He is the only two time winner of the Ontario Council of Folk Festival’s “Songs from the Heart” competition. Tufts has lent his voice, passion and quick silver fingers to compilations such as “Beautiful; A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot” (a major influence). He has also worked as a session musician and sideman for a variety of artists including Tom Paxton, Kathryn Briggs, David Francey, Colleen Peterson, Laura Smith, Laura Bird, Ian Tamblyn, Lynn Miles, Bill Garrett & Sue Lothrop, Charlie Sohmer, The Arrogant Worms, Wayne Rostad, Susan Aglukark, Tracey Brown, and George Fox. He is signed with Borealis Records and is currently working on a new release.
And if that were not enough, Terry Tufts will be joined by world class musicians John Geggie and Mark Ferguson who helped him perfect his sound on his most recent album “The Better Fight”.
by Lynn Stevenson
Crushed in a corner with a capacity crowd, I wondered why I’d worried. Tickets hadn’t sold as quickly as expected, so new to ‘The Spirit’- I fretted. But when the night rolled round, Ian Tamblyn had packed the place and completely enthralled his audience. Despite the Sens game and the Junos, the Elmdale Tavern was jammed with devoted fans who hung on his words and laughed at his effortlessly delivered stories of places majestic and, well, less than so… From the open doors of lousy hotels in the middle of nowhere to the heartbreaking beauty of the North – Ian Tamblyn sings of experience. The man has been there and it shows.
by Lynn Stevenson
“Sometimes the distance travelled is so great that only parts of you come home.”
It’s a cold wet morning in a West End Ottawa coffee shop. The weather as complex and changeable as the artist opposite me. Ian Tamblyn is a man of many faces – only a few of which grace his homepage: musician, adventurer, playwright. These words don’t come even close to summing up a person who has travelled as far and done as much as this man. Ian Tamblyn has written almost 2000 songs and recorded over 30 independent releases in a career than spans more than three decades.
Iceburg photo by Ian Tamblyn
His sailor’s heart has seen and sung about some of the most remote places in Canada and around the world. Ian’s face is weathered by countless days at sea and the freezing light of icebergs. His photographs are breathtaking. Interviewing him is more than a bit intimidating, but he quickly puts you at ease – revealing yet another face – an everyman – and a wise one – with no delusions about himself or world he moves in. Continue reading
by Lynn Stevenson
How do songs get written? Where do the ideas come from? How does the process begin?
Missy Burgess, photo by Kate Morgan
Ottawa singer/songwriter Missy Burgess wrote “Prayer for Haiti”after the terrible earthquake devastated that already impoverished country. “Like millions of others, I was deeply moved by the horrific suffering and sorrow,” says Missy. “Writing a song was my only way of expressing my feelings and offering some comfort – thus “Prayer for Haiti” came to be.” You can check it out on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP5vE74bHfE (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=XP5vE74bHfE)
Emotion can definitely drive the creation of a great song. But the process is more than feelings – and fabulous riffs rarely fall from the sky. Song-writing is hard work – demanding discipline, determination, and of course, talent.