Juno Award-winning JP Cormier, a virtuoso guitarist, fiddler, banjo and mandolin player, singer-songwriter with deep East Coast roots is coming to Stone Fence Theatre at the Rankin Culture and Community Centre on Wednesday, August 14 at 7:30 p.m.
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.
“JP is simply the best,” said the company’s producer, Ish Theilheimer. “I sat in astonishment watching him at a festival last summer and knew we had to have him back.” He last did a concert in Eganville for Stone Fence Theatre in 2010.
JP Cormier is a true musical genius. At age 5, he 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.
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 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-90s he re-entered 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.
In 1997, he released the album “Another Morning,” which featured him as a songwriter and a lead singer. 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.
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.
The concert starts at 7:30 at the Rankin Culture and Community Centre. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased online at www.stonefence.ca or by phone at 613-401-1497.