ORIGINAL, FOLK-INSPIRED ACOUSTIC MUSIC TO QUENCH THE THIRSTY SOUL

DESIREE DAWSON COMING TO THE SUNSHINE COAST 

I first met Desiree when Anna and I performed in concert with her at the Sunshine Music Festival in Powell River, BC last fall. Blessed with a voice as pure and powerful as it is infused with sensitivity and soul, Desiree accompanies herself beautifully on baritone ukelele. Her songwriting exhibits a maturity and sophistication that belies her youthful demeanour. It is therefore easy to see why she was selected as CBC Searchlight's 2016 Winner over 2,000 contestants across Canada.

We are pleased to welcome Desiree for her very first performance on the lower Sunshine Coast, and the relaxed and comfortable Gumboot Cafe in Roberts Creek could not be a more fitting venue. As a special bonus, Desiree will be joined by another great young singer-songwriter Jody Okabe, also from Vancouver.

Anna and I will start off this special evening with a set of my original, folk-inspired songs. Of course, the fabulous cuisine and libations which the Gumboot Cafe is known for will be available for purchase.

Advance tickets can be purchased for $15 (plus service charge) ONLINE HERE, or for $20 at the door.  

Check out the CBC Music Website for more info on Desiree.

 

FROM THE ISLAND TO THE COAST 

Well, it's been a busy and enjoyable start to 2018! Catching my breath back here on the Sunshine Coast after a lovely two week tour of southern Vancouver Island, I am left amazed and inspired by the folk scene there!  Promoting my first Victoria concert, I visited a number of folk clubs, playing open stages, and listening to some fabulous music, all the while making new friends and fans along the way.

In addition, Anna and I spent several hours fine tuning the setlist, and rehearsing for our joint concert at the funky Spiral Cafe in West Victoria. Thanks to the support of proprietors Joy Kruger and Mike Raymer, along with some great promotion by Sharon Hazelwood, host of CFUV Radio's "Sunshine Breakfast", we were able to pull together a wonderful audience on an evening sprinkled with fabulous musical events across the city, not to mention Bruce Cockburn! (Darn it, missed my hero again!) 

And so, it's back to work on the new album, and prepare for our next show on February 15 here in our home town of Gibsons. We will be performing a two hour concert from 2-4pm at the Zocalo location of the One Flower One Leaf Gallery's Sensuality Art Exhibition. The theme? Romance, of course! A Valentine's Day after party, if you will. Hope to see all you lovers and Beachcombers out there!

IN GOOD COMPANY 

I am thrilled to report that my new album "Wondrous Beauty" has been listed as one of the top Canadian folk albums of 2017, sharing the #44 spot with Amelia Curran's “Watershed", Oh Susanna's "A Girl In Teen City”,  "Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams” by Corin Raymond, Jayme Stone's Lomax Project, and  "The Newpart” by April Verch.  Good company, indeed!

Many thanks to Richard Gillman for tirelessly compiling these reports for Folk DJ-L for so many years. I wish you a very happy and enjoyable retirement. And thanks to Vic Bell for continuing the hard work.  

Of course, thank you to all of the Folk DJ's across Canada, the U.S., and abroad for playing the album, and to my wonderful team at Trespass Music in both Canada (Michelle Fortier) and the U.S. (Larry Ahearn).

Finally, none of this would have been possible without my bandmates, Anna Green, Tyler Beckett, Randy Martin, Mark Mariash, Ben Grossman, and Jacob McCauley. And to recording engineers Randy Martin, Sacha Fassaert, and Ron Chilton. And to the wonderful photography of Libby Hunter, which certainly had a role to play. 

 

 

THE BREATH OF CHRISTMAS 

Give the Breath of Life this Christmas! Help prevent lung disease and support the Canadian Lung Association by making a donation, or ordering your 2017 Christmas Seals here!  

For almost a century, Christmas Seals have helped fund research on lung disease around the world, with the double-barred Cross of Lorraine a symbol of hope for those afflicted with tuberculosis and other lung diseases.

One of the leading research and treatment centers in Canada was Chedoke Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, where I was privileged to work for nearly two decades. 

During that time, I wrote the song Cross of Lorraine to honour the patients and staff there, and the cross which once shone down so proudly upon Dundas Valley.

I made a little video of the song, which I hope you will enjoy.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

TRADITIONALLY ROOTED POTENT PERFORMANCES WITH FIERY FIDDLE & ACOUSTICS 

JOHN APICE AT NO DEPRESSION MAGAZINE HAS REVIEWED WONDROUS BEAUTY !! HERE'S SOME OF WHAT HE HAD TO SAY:

"Ken Dunn must have that song catcher soul to have such tradition in his musical mind. This new ten track LP brings you back to earth and cleans out your ears with moments of “Wondrous Beauty” for sure. Dunn’s very John Prine-influenced performance also forays into the stylings of folk-legends like Tom Rush, Tom Paxton, David Ackles and John Hartford. A stew of wonderful notes stirred perfectly, it sneaks into your feet, heart, and soul".  

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO CHECK OUT THE FULL REVIEW!

FOLK ROOTS RADIO WITH JAN HALL: EPISODE 344 

British Columbia singer-songwriter Ken Dunn released his seventh album “Wondrous Beauty” earlier this year. Ken joined us in the studio with partner Anna Green for an in-depth discussion about his music and the new album. We’re pleased to bring a portion of that interview to Episode 344 of Folk Roots Radio alongside a look at some of the best of the latest new releases.  

Singer-songwriter Ken Dunn’s 2015 album “The Great Unknown” was one of my favourite albums of the year. An exquisite slice of beautifully played thoughtful folk with Ken Dunn’s lovely languid singing voice, it was an absolute pleasure to listen to it. His wonderful new album “Wondrous Beauty,” (his seventh,) is the start of a whole new relationship with his music. 10 new well-crafted Ken Dunn songs – with some really nice harmonies from partner and keyboard player Anna Green, some great fiddle from Tyler Beckett, and a lovely understated production from Ken himself. Ken joined us in the studio with partner Anna Green to chat about the new album.  

About the author 

JAN HALL  

Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee.

RICHIE HAVENS WOODSTOCK GUITAR 

So, I thought I'd try something different with the blog. Welcome to "Reflections on the Road", a series of stories looking back on my musical journey thus far. No particular chronological order, just stories that come to mind. Hope you enjoy them!

Episode 1: RICHIE HAVENS WOODSTOCK GUITAR

I first discovered Belize in the mid 90's, and what started as a week's holiday soon developed into a yearly musical sojourn. When I arrived on the island of Ambergris Caye, I was surprised to find a thriving folk and blues music scene populated by the many North American and European "expats" living on the island. I quickly got to know some of the local performers and was able to borrow a guitar from a Canadian woman who happened to be playing an afternoon set at the Holiday Hotel, a small, pink three story wooden structure on the beach in San Pedro Town.   I don't remember her name, but I am very thankful to her for helping me secure a gig at the hotel.  Thus began my yearly musical journey in this exotic tropical country. One which would involve everything from opening for  Jerry Jeff Walker of "Mr. Bojangles" fame, to cancelling a tour after breaking three fingers. But alas, those stories are for another day. This one involves Richie Havens... or at least his guitar. And a famous one at that! 

Our story begins at the previously mentioned Holiday Hotel, with an invitation to perform at a remote jungle lodge by a rather eccentric and somewhat drunken man by the name of John Luce. "Perform for our dinner guests", he said, "and I will give you a great discount on a room at my lodge, and dinner will be on me... Oh ya, and no need to bring your guitar, because I have a very special one that you can play!" Despite my prodding, "special" was all I could get in securing a description of the mysterious stringed instrument in question. Well, how could I refuse. I had wanted to check out all that Belize had to offer, and after the heat and humidity of the keys, the thought of lush rainforest in the rugged Maya Mountains bordering Guatemala was extremely appealing!  

It was an easy Island Ferry from San Pedro back to Belize City, and a two hour bus ride to San Ignacio, gateway to the Cayo District and the beautiful Maya Mountains. Then the real adventure began. Climbing aboard a Range Rover, I was transported up precarious, pot holed "roads" to the location of my next gig, Black Rock Jungle Lodge, located in a breathtakingly beautiful location overlooking the Macal River. The sounds of Scarlett Macaws and Howler Monkeys greeted my arrival, and it truly felt like I had arrived in heaven on earth!  There was not much time for sightseeing though. It was almost dinner time, and the 20 or so guests seated at the longish tables appeared eager for entertainment.  John quickly ushered me into his back office and proudly pulled out a somewhat mouldy, beat up guitar case, held together by copious amounts of duct tape. My heart dropped. Was this is the special guitar? I hoped it could be tuned. I hoped it had strings! As he opened the case, an equally sad Guild D40 emerged, complete with a fair chunk of the sound board missing between the sound hole and bridge. Once it was in my hands, I breathed a sigh of relief. The action was crazy high, but hey, it was playable, and almost in tune!  "So you know who this guitar belonged to?",  asked John as he handed me a photo and some official looking paperwork. The unmistakable visage of Richie Havens appeared in the photo, and the "Certificate of Authenticity" said something like, "I certify that this is the guitar I played at Woodstock...etc. etc.", signed "Richie Havens". Seriously? I was skeptical to say the least. It seemed just a tad unlikely that such an iconic instrument would be found in a remote Central American jungle.  "I kid you not", he said, "now get out there and do it justice". And so I did, or at least I tried! Maybe it was just my imagination, but I swear I could hear "Motherless Child" emanating from the sound box as I began playing. The rusty, somewhat dirt encrusted strings thudded against the neck, as I struggled with the action. But, in the end, it was a fabulous show, the faces of the audience glowing in the candlelight, the welcome coolness of the night, the jungle providing an amazing symphonic accompaniment.  I suppose I'll never know for sure if it really was Richie Haven's Woodstock guitar. But, you will have to agree, it makes a great story to tell the grandchildren! 

 

 

 

Richie Havens was a prolific and beloved American singer-songwriter. Born in 1941, he died in 2013. Richie was the opening act at the original Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 and had a long and diverse musical career, including a collaboration with the electronic band Groove Armada in his later years. He established a program called the Natural Guard in 1990 focusing on inner city improvement projects for children. Havens started chapters across not only the U.S. but also in Belize, where he was known to perform. He played a Guild D40 at Woodstock, subsequently adding an upper pick guard to the instrument. He is known to have played newer Guild D40's in later years. The Richie Havens Signature Dreadnought was issued by Guild Guitars to honour his career. 

John Luce was the manager of Black Rock Jungle Lodge in Cayo District, Belize up until his tragic murder in 2001 in the very office where he first showed me that "special" guitar. Yikes!  

LABOUR OF LOVE 

Happy Labour Day Weekend everyone !!  Anna and I are looking forward to a busy but exciting weekend in Powell River, B.C. at the 36th Annual Sunshine Music Festival.   The Festival is a celebration of music from across Canada and the world and we are looking forward to opening for CBC Searchlight Winner Desiree Dawson on Friday night at Cranberry Hall in Powell River.  

As if that wasn't exciting enough, my new album is being released to radio worldwide by Trespass Music on the same day!  Thank you to all of the wonderful folks who were a part of this project. Have a listen, and check out the album credits here.  Also available for download on the iTunes store here.

Peace and best wishes to everyone...

"STRONG CANADIANA WITH VISION" 

Well, it's almost time for the release of "Wondrous Beauty" on September 1, which coincides with my performance with Anna Green at the Sunshine Music Festival in Powell River, B.C. Anna and I are thrilled to be opening for CBC Searchlight Winner Desiree Dawson, and looking forward to hearing all of the other performers, including headliner, Dawn Pemberton! Looking forward to seeing many of our B.C. friends and fans at the festival!

Many thanks to Tom Arvidsson from Thirsty Boots in Stockholm for the great review of Wondrous Beauty... calling it "Strong Canadiana with Vision"!  If you love roots music and haven't already checked out Tom's blog, it is a wonderful resource. The title, of course, is taken from Eric Andersen's iconic folk anthem. Complete English translation can be found in the comments section at the end of the blog.

Until next time... keep those thirsty boots moving...

Wondrous Beauty: Strong Canadiana with Vision

Join my mailing list for the latest news

Desiree Dawson with Jody Okabe, Ken Dunn & Anna Green

Gumboot Cafe, 1057 Roberts Creek Road, Roberts Creek, BC

DESIRÉE DAWSON

Desirée Dawson hails from Surrey, British Columbia. You might know her not only as the warm-hearted girl who won CBC's 2016 Searchlight Competition but also as your local singing Yin Yoga teacher. Desirée’s debut album, Wild Heart, came out February 2017 and has been playing on CBC radio 2 since its release. She has recently hit 1million streams on her song Hide on Spotify! Desirée makes a point of having every song be honest and emotionally charged. She is very passionate about healing as a community and connection, using the power of melodies and lyrics to impact listeners. Through this, her music has managed to travel the world over.

JODY OKABE

Jody Okabe is a queer, Tsimshian, Japanese, and French Canadian artist and musician born and raised in Northern BC. She discovered her voice in her late 20's through organizing community open mic nights with friends in Merritt BC. Ever since then she keeps singing because she believes in the power of music to heal, and to connect us to this earth, our hearts, and to each other. She currently resides in Vancouver, the unceded, ancestral, and occupied, traditional lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Watuth), Stó:lō, Shíshálh (Sechelt) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations of the Coast Salish peoples.

KEN DUNN

The message conveyed by folk troubadour Ken Dunn is one of "hope, and a stubborn belief in humanity" according to a review by Sweden's Thirsty Boots. For the past several decades, he has inspired audiences across Canada, the U.S., and Central America, sharing the bill with folk and roots icons as diverse as Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie P. Bennett, and Garnet Rogers.

Whether performing solo with acoustic guitar, in a duo with partner Anna Green, or as a member of his band, Gypsy Starfish, "Ken's superb musicianship and sensitive lyrics always create a memorable performance" according to the Harry Chapin Food Bank, for whom Ken has performed an annual benefit concert for the past 5 years.

Ken has released 7 critically acclaimed and award-winning albums of original music, including 2015's "The Great Unknown" which won Best Americana Album at the Academia Music Awards in Los Angeles, and 2017's "Wondrous Beauty" which has been described as "a stew of wonderful notes stirred perfectly" by New York roots music journal, No Depression, and charted in the top 10 on Canadian folk radio.

Ken currently makes his home on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast with his wife and musical partner, Anna Green and the couple's two Bichon Frisés, Louie and Rosie.

ANNA GREEN

Anna began playing guitar and piano as a child in her homeland of Australia. A versatile multi-instrumentalist, she began performing and recording with partner, Ken Dunn over a decade ago, living and travelling across Canada, the U.S., and Central America.

Adept on guitar, keyboards, and ukulele, Anna's formidable vocal abilities are also evident in performance, and on a number of Ken's recordings, where, according to a review by The Bank Theatre, her "beautiful harmony vocals add an ethereal vibe".

Tickets $15 (plus service charge) online at: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3358526

or $20 at the door

Ken Dunn with Piper Hayes

Artbar, 15 Colbourne Street, Hamilton, Ontario

B.C. Folk Troubadour Ken Dunn returns to Hamilton, Ontario for an evening of original acoustic music to quench your thirsty soul! Ken will be joined by partner Anna Green, with special guest Piper Hayes. Tickets $10 available online or at the door. Licensed under LLBO event.