James Gordon has been there. He’s done that. He has had a remarkably diverse and resilient career in the Canadian cultural sector. As a solo singer-songwriter and with the ground-breaking trio Tamarack, he’s recorded 40 albums and toured relentlessly around the world. He’s written for symphony orchestras, musical theatre and dance works, scored films, and for more than ten years was heard on CBC radio as songwriter-in-residence for the ’Basic Black’ and ‘Ontario Morning’ programs. Between tours, James is a record producer, playwright, community activist, theatre director and currently has a part-time ‘side hustle’ as a Guelph City Councillor. These days he’s perhaps known as the composer of the viral internet hit “Crybabies Caravan”, about the so-called ‘Freedom Convoy’ in Ottawa. It’s received more than 300,000 views and stimulated a lot of inspiring discussion.
His last album, ‘The Heritage Hall Sessions’ on Borealis Records charted internationally in the roots, singer-songwriter, and Americana categories. His newest album “When I Stayed Home” is just out, as is his unique ‘musical novel’ “The Ark Of The Oven Mitt” which includes a downloadable recording of 36 original songs that move the plot along. The book is a finalist in the Stephen Leacock Humour Medal competition, with the winner chosen in September.
Often called a “song and groove man,” he began writing his own music after two decades working as a studio musician, playing rowdy rooms with blues bands, and living hard. He’s since released nine albums, won Canada’s Juno award and other prestigious honors, earned wide critical acclaim, and garnered an enthusiastic following in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Acoustic roots with catchy melodies, arresting vocals, great guitar playing, lyrics that get you and that you get - these are all things that have been written over and over again about Katherine Wheatley’s music. She sings truth, bravely, and in detail. Like Shawn Colvin, Edie Brickell and Joni Mitchell, Wheatley mines heartache and produces lyrical and melodic gold. And like one of her earliest influences, Gordon Lightfoot, she invokes nature to reflect the emotional intent of her songs.
Katherine’s passion for music began with a 13 dollar guitar ordered from the Sears Catalogue. Her debut performance was with the Parry Sound High School Stage Band at the Bobby Orr Community Centre singing "Rhinestone Cowboy". She worked for the Canadian Geological Survey out of Flin Flon, MB before putting down the hammer and digging out her guitar. A humble and hardworking musician, she's come a long way since Ian Tyson told her to “LEARN YOUR ROOTS!” after opening for him in 1994.