"JIIG is the perfect example of what can happen when good friends, who also happen to be extraordinary musicians, breathe new life into magnificent old songs".
Matt Watroba, Sing Out!
"Ten great songs, three well picked and impeccably played sets of tunes, good friends and great musicians playing great music together".
Blaine Hrabi, Canadian Folk Music.
JiiG came into being when singer and concertina player Ian Robb (of Finest Kind and Friends of Fiddler’s Green) decided to record a long overdue “solo” album, and realized he didn’t have to look very far in his home town of Ottawa for some really top-notch help. The solo album quickly evolved into a group project, and the pre-existing trio of James Stephens, Ian Clark and Greg T. Brown, then known acronymously as JIG, took on a fourth member and a second “i”.
The music of JiiG centres around Ian R’s masterful singing of mostly traditional, mostly English songs, and is balanced by some stellar instrumental sets showcasing the various stylistic influences and uncommon musicianship of James, Ian C and Greg, all leading lights of the vibrant Ottawa pub session scene . The band finds its tunes mainly in the Québec, Ontario, Appalachian and Irish repertoires, or among James and Greg’s own compositions, and produces a sound that is at once rich and rhythmic, eloquent and edgy. In addition to their concert appearances, the members of JiiG love to play for contra dances.
Perhaps best-known as a record producer (Finest Kind, Pierre Schryer, Glen Road, Genticorum, The Brian Pickell Band and countless other artists in the folk/acoustic genre; winner of the 2003 Porcupine Award as “Producer of the Year”), James is one of Canada’s most versatile and inventive fiddle players, mastering a multitude of styles from Cape Breton to Bluegrass, Québecois to Appalachian Old Time, Irish to Ottawa Valley. James plays “anything that has four strings”, and works his way through viola, violin, mandolin and tenor guitar in the course of a JïG performance. He has played with a Who’s Who of Canadian folk music, from Lynn Miles to Finest Kind, and has a shady previous life in classical and rock music.
A founder member of the Estelle Klein Achievement Award-winning Friends of Fiddler’s Green, and a third of the acclaimed vocal harmony trio Finest Kind, Ian is one of North America’s most respected singers of English traditional song, with a singing career spanning more than 30 years. He bought his first English concertina in the 1970s, using it first for song accompaniment, and gradually evolving a solid, rhythmic style of playing dance tunes, that he uses to good effect in JiiG. Ian has been a long-time builder and advocate of the folk music scene; he co-founded the Old Sod Folk Music Society of Ottawa, served several years as a regular columnist for Come for to Sing and Sing Out! Magazines, and has been a board member of the Canadian Folk Music Society and Canadian Vice-President of Local 1000, the travelling musicians’ union. In addition to his work with The Friends of Fiddler’s Green and Finest Kind, Ian has three previous solo albums to his credit. Ian won the 2005 "Best Singer - Traditional" Canadian Folk Music Award for his work on "Jiig"
A solid grounding in swing guitar has given Ian a seemingly unlimited chord vocabulary and a great sense of groove that he exploits fully in his playing with JïG. Though brought up in Scotland, his passion for “Celtic” playing only developed when he discovered Ottawa’s session scene, and he soon became a favourite among that city’s many great players, adding a mastery of DADGAD tuning to his already broad palette. Recently. Ian has been playing with Canadian fiddle great Pierre Schryer, and Ian and Pierre’s live duo CD “Heat of the Moment” is a classic showcase of uninhibited and inventive duet playing. He has also performed in the last few years with the Friends of Fiddler’s Green and has played and recorded with Finest Kind, among others.
Greg T. Brown
Fiddle and accordion alumnus of many bands including Matapat, Tüq and Glen Road,. Greg is originally from Newfoundland, and cut his musical teeth on the tunes of Rufus Guinchard and Emile Benoit under the guidance of current Newfoundland fiddle great Christina Smith. Since moving to Ottawa and most recently Montreal, he has added a variety of styles to his tune repertoire, most notably from the Irish and Québecois traditions. Greg has also added accordion, anglo concertina, viola and guitar to his arsenal, and loves to interject a song or two into the proceedings. The older members of the band say he is an amazingly quick study—“once through and he has it... It’s sickening”.