Stringband: Digitized at last Welcome to

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Gary Cristall, who is writing a history of folk music in Canada, has this recollection of Stringband:
“It was Vancouver and the "busted" fiddle player and the dog that saved Sir Wilfred Laurier; Newfoundlanders, "not Canadians, not by a damn sight yet" and Tugboats - "35 years on the Straight of Georgia, waiting for the tide to turn." It was the nostalgic politics of Dief Will Be the Chief Again and the feminist politics of Show Us The Length. It was history and fantasy, French and English, covers and originals, traditional and contemporary. It was Hammond's voice, Bossin's satire, Ben Mink's or Calvin's (or Zeke's or Terry's) fiddle. It was independent recordings sold off the stage and tours to towns where no tours had toured before. It was about making a career without getting played on the radio. That was Stringband, and they paved the way for an entire genre of music and a generation of artists from Stan Rogers to Connie Kaldor, Rita MacNeil to Loreena McKennitt.

“From the early 70s until the late 80s, Stringband wrote about, performed across, and encapsulated Canada. They never had the huge audiences that some of their successors acquired, but they had an impact much bigger than record sales or ticket sales would suggest. For artists, they proved it could be done - without moving south, without capitulating to mainstream radio taste, without the major-record-company deal. For audiences, they proved that we were interesting; that the folks around us had stories full of passion, heroism, tragedy and beauty. Stringband offered proof - Stringband was the proof - that we had something worthwhile, something that could be fashioned into a culture. Audiences took that with them as they left a show and used it in a thousand ways that have had an enduring impact on the country.

“Looking back, decades later, Stringband appears as a harbinger of the dynamic alternative music scene that exists today. Hearing Stringband now is not an exercise in nostalgia. It is an opportunity to follow the river to one of its sources.”

Stringband-Thoroughly Canadian

Stringband members included Bob Bossin, Marie-Lynn Hammond, Calvin Cairns, Dennis Nichol, Ben Mink, Terry King, Zeke Mazurek, Nancy Ahern, “Doctor” Steve Darke and Jerry Lewycky. Session players and musical friends include Doug Bowes, Jane Fair, Pineapple Frank, Daniel Lanois, Kieran Overs, Stan Rogers, Al Soberman, and Chris and Ken Whitely – to name just a few.

Stringband's “folk hits” include Show Us the Length, Dief Will Be the Chief Again, Mic Mac Song, Mrs Murphy, The Maple Leaf Dog, Tugboats, I Don't Sleep with Strangers Anymore, and Flying/Spring of '44.

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