Bringing to the stage the old-time music they’ve been playing for years, on porches, in kitchens and at festivals across North America - Erynn Marshall
(CBC - Galaxy Award 2006), and Chris Coole (Guitarist of the year – 2006 Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards) use fiddles, banjos, guitars and their voices to bring to
life music from another era. Whether playing bluesy fiddle tunes, banjo breakdowns, singing old ballads or country songs it’s evident these two musicians have dedicated themselves to the Southern traditions that have inspired them. They also compose vintage-sounding originals and blend old, new, near and far into a unique music all their own. For more information please visit www.hickoryjack.com.
The fiddling obsession, for all its demands, is a gift because of the joy it brings when you abandon yourself to it. Erynn’s fiddling has that sense of delight in it, even in the lonesome pieces – a feeling like having a fine time playing music with your friends on a West Virginia summer night, crickets singing, air heady with the perfume of tobacco flowers and sweet clover. – Kenny Jackson
Erynn Marshall is not only a fine scholar of old-time fiddle tunes, but she can play them wonderfully. – Pete Peterson Old-Time Herald Magazine Vol. 11 Nov. 2007
Erynn Marshall’s old-time fiddle playing is front and centre and superb. …old-time tunes played with a brilliance rarely matched by anybody on the North American scene. –Mitch Podolak, Penguin Eggs Magazine 2007
Erynn Marshall - A native of Victoria, BC and now a resident of Galax, Virginia, Erynn moved to the South to play more old-time music and organize concerts at the Blue Ridge Music Center www.blueridgemusiccenter.org She has been playing fiddle for 30 years. In 2006, she published her first book, Music in the Air Somewhere: The Shifting Borders of West Virginia’s Fiddle and Song Traditions, (West Virginia University Press). This book was the culmination of several years of fieldwork in West Virginia with seventy-five to ninety-five years old singers and fiddlers. Frequent southern trips allowed Erynn to learn elements of Appalachian fiddling directly from older tradition bearers Melvin Wine, Lester McCumbers, Leland Hall, Art Stamper and others who were very generous teachers. Her respect for these mentors emanates from her earnest performances of traditional music.
Erynn Marshall is a regular performer and fiddle instructor at prominent Canadian and US festivals and music camps including the: Swannanoa Gathering (NC), Augusta Heritage Center (WV), Woods Music and Dance Camp (ON), North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NF), Sunshine Coast Summer School of Celtic Music (BC), Calgary Folk Festival (AB), Edmonton Folk Festival (AB), Ottawa Folk Festival (ON), Sorrento Bluegrass Festival (BC), Fiddleworks (Saltspring, BC), Festival of Newfoundland & Labrador (NF) and The Midwest Banjo Camp (Lansing, MI). She has directed two stringband ensembles at York University in Toronto and was a featured musician on the roots music documentary I’ll Fly Away Home (Bravo) and The Clifftop Experience (Outlook, WV Public Broadcasting). She has an MA in ethnomusicology focusing on Appalachian music (York University, Toronto) and a BMus (University of Victoria).
Erynn presently performs with The Haints Old-time Stringband (with bandmates Pharis and Jason Romero. Their new 2009 recording, Shout Monah, has been nominated for two Canadian Folk Music Awards: Traditional Album of the Year and Ensemble of the year. Erynn’s previous recordings include: Calico (Merriweather Records) and Meet Me in the Music with banjoist Chris Coole (Hickoryjack Records). Calico was nominated for Best World category at the 2005 TIMA Awards and won a Porcupine Award - Gem of Canada: Album of the Year. Meet Me in the Music was nominated for the Best Traditional Album at the 2007 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Erynn has also received a CBC Galaxy Rising Star Award at the 2006 Edmonton Folk Festival and an Appalachian Fellowship through Berea College in Kentucky. In 2008, she won first place in the open fiddle competition at “Clifftop,” the Appalachian Stringband Festival (WV). She was the first female and the first person from outside the US to win the title. In 2009 she won third place in fiddle at the West Virginia State Folk Festival and fourth place at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention out of approximately 100 fiddlers.
Erynn is now working on her new CD Tune Tramp - a collaboration which will feature her performing with old-time musicians across North Amercia. The theme of this album is the distances we travel to make the music we love with the people we love to make music with. For more info on Erynn and her old-time music please visit: www.thehaints.com, www.hickoryjack.com or Myspace: myspace.com/erynnmarshallatargetblankhrefhttpwwws
“Chris Coole plays some of the cleanest, most melodically fluid and inspiring clawhammer one could hear.” - The Banjo Newsletter
Chris Coole was first attracted to the sounds of old-time and bluegrass music as a teenager growing up in Toronto, Ontario. At seventeen years old, he got his first banjo, and soon discovered the clawhammer style. Before long his love of playing traditional country music left little time for anything else and as a result led him to pursue a career as a full time musician, a road that he has happily travelled ever since.
Over the years Chris has split his time between playing bluegrass and old-time music and has allowed each to inspire the other to the point where it is now difficult to say where one ends and the other begins. This may be attributed to a. strong belief that country music is country music, be it Tommy Jarrell, Bill Monroe or George Jones. “I’ve always believed that the essence of music is in the individual, not in the category or style of music they play”.
His unique style of clawhammer banjo playing began to reach a wider audience with the release of his first CD Five Strings Attached With No Backing in 1997 and later, Five Strings Attached, Vol. 2, in 2000. Both albums were collaborations with long time musical partner, and fellow Torontonian, Arnie Naiman. The combination of sparse, well played arrangements of traditional tunes, as well as creative originals struck a chord with old-time music fans worldwide. In the words of one reviewer, “…Arnie Naiman and Chris Coole are arguably two of the best clawhammer banjo players in the country, or anywhere for that matter” (From Bluegrass Now Magazine). Chris has been a finalist in the banjo contests at The Appalachian Stringband Festival in Clifftop West Virginia (2004, 2006) and the West Virginia State Folk Festival (2002, 2005).
Chris currently performs solo and with Toronto-based groups: The Foggy Hogtown Boys and The Good Right Arm Stringband. His love for the golden era of bluegrass music is apparent to anyone who hears his singing, playing or songwriting. He has recently released his new CD, Old Dog (2009), which features many of his original songs.
Apart from his own recordings he can also be heard as a sideman on over forty CDs by Canadian artists such as Sylvia Tyson, Jim Cuddy, Jenny Whiteley, April Verch and Justin Rutledge.