7:30 p.m, Wednesday, August 14
Rankin Culture and Community Centre
Openers: Peter Dawson and Carol Kennedy, and Will and Emma March
JP Cormier is a a Canadian legend - a virtuoso guitarist, fiddler and mandolin player with deep East Coast roots who writes, sings, and plays a almost any style. He performed for Stone Fence Theatre in Eganville in 2010.
At the age of 5, JP began teaching himself to play the guitar. At 9, he won his first guitar competition against 30 other players 4 times his age. By his mid teens, he was playing a variety of stringed instruments, including the fiddle, mandolin and banjo. He recorded his first album of bluegrass instrumentals at 16, which led to 10 years of living and performing in the US. His time there included many memorable nights at the Grand Ole Opry with artists such as Waylon Jennings, Marty Stuart, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Charlie Louvin and Vince Gill.
Since returning to Canada, JP has released over a dozen award-winning albums. His impressive body of work has earned him a loyal fan base and multiple award nominations and wins. He continues to dazzle and delight audiences while performing 250 shows a year.
Opening the show for JP will be a taste of Ottawa Valley fiddling old and new, featuring trail-blazers Peter Dawson and Carol Kennedy and up-and-comers Emma and Will March. Fiddler Peter and pianist/fiddler Carol have been fiddling internationally for many decades. Fiddlers Emma and Will have dazzled audiences and judges at fiddle contests throughout Canada. All four have graced Stone Fence theatre stages often in the past.
The show begins at 7:30, and another sellout is anticipated as with the past several Stone Fence Theatre traditional music concets. Tickets cost $25 + tax.
ABOUT JP CORMIER
In 1974 he was a five year old boy, discovering an innate talent for playing the guitar, I had a little hand in that, guiding him through the beginning stages. He learned faster than I could teach.
By the mid eighties, not out of his teens, he was a sideman for bands and artists of many different genres in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and all across the deep south. As he travelled and worked he added more and more instruments to his arsenal of capabilities. He became indispensable to the bands he worked for.
In the early Nineties, he became a sideman for one of Canada’s favourite sons, Stompin’ Tom Connors and also became a staple of the recordings at Studio H in Halifax. His work with the CBC there, spanned musical, production and arranging duties.
All this before he was 20.
In the mid nineties he reentered the musical scene of his beloved East Coast and the Island called Cape Breton. He exploded onto the trad music scene there as a fiddler, performing some of the most difficult music ever produced by legends like Winston Fitzgerald and Angus Chisholm with a facility that stunned onlookers. Especially those who knew he wasn’t born there, but born in Ontario to Cape Breton parents. Somehow, some way, his music was the real thing, sounding like he had been steeped continually in a handed-down brew of family tradition from the old country.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
His previous gig was in Nashville playing mandolin and banjo in a grammy nominated bluegrass gospel band and performing on the Opry, and playing television shows with the likes of Waylon Jennings. All those people also thought he was one of them, American, reared in the ways of bluegrass, old time and Americana music. They knew he was from Canada, but it just didn’t seem possible.
Then in 1997, something amazing happened.
An album released in Canada, out of nowhere, called Another Morning. This time it was him as a songwriter and a lead singer.
And what a songwriter he turned out to be. Some of the performances on that album are literally part of the musical vocabulary today in the East Coast. Songs like the title cut, and Kelly’s Mountain, The Molly May (co written with his cousin Gervais) and others. It inspired, 25 years ago, some of the biggest names in the business today. People like Dave Gunning, Matt Andersen, David Myles, Joel Plaskett, all of which will tell you: that record changed things.
The Canadian industry thought so too, and it received a Juno nomination and won an ECMA. And that was just the beginning.
Thirty six years later after stepping on stage as professional union musician for the first time at the tender age of 13, JP is still going, and frighteningly, still getting better.
Sixteen albums followed the success of Another Morning, winning 12 more ECMA’s, another Juno nomination, a Canadian Folk Music Award and 5 Music Nova Scotia Awards. Each album was a snapshot of each thing that he can do. There are fiddle albums, Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar, tribute records, songwriting collections, a purely astounding spectrum of talent and musical vision.
His catalogue of recordings and the 150 or so records he’s produced on other artists, resemble the tapestry he weaves in live performance. Where he used to carry 3 and 4 piece bands, he tours alone now. Just him and the instruments.