- Aaron Collis
- Angie Payne
- Angus Stewart
- Anita Best
- Barbara Bellows
- Bill Coates & Sean Payne
- Bob Porter & Dale Kennedy
- Charlie Payne
- Daniel Payne
- Emma Peckford
- Gary Collins
- Gayle Tapper
- Gerry Strong
- Gloria & Jack Kent
- Jacinda Beals Band
- Jean Hewson & Christina Smith
- Jeff Anderson
- Jeff Quilty
- Jodie Rice
- Kacie Callahan
- Kyran Pennell
- Lena Onalik
- Les Benoît
- Matthew Byrne
- Megan Gail Coles
- Mike McDonald
- Newfoundland the Band
- Norpen Aboriginal Women’s Circle
- Off the Cuff
- Paul Pike
- Roxanne Ryland
- Rufus Drake
- Rum Ragged
- Russell deCarle & Steve Briggs
- Sherman Downey
- Shirley Montague
- Tara Manuel & Michael Rigler
- The Catch
- The Secrets
- The Shed Band
- The Ramblin’ Rovers
- The Roses
- Three of a Kind
- Wade Hillier & Band
- Wayne Parsons
- Zach Sacrey
- Young Performers:
- Bridget Swift & Dahlia Waller
- Mike Aylward
- Nicole Higgins
- Ben Peckford
- Kaylee Gerrow
- Jillian Wight
- Kathleen Oliver
- Avari Duffy
Additional bios will be added as they become available.
Aaron Collis, button accordion, has quickly gained a reputation as one of Newfoundland’s outstanding traditional music interpreters, performing dance tunes from the province’s rich musical history. As a member of local trad bands Rum Ragged and The Dardanelles, Aaron has performed on stages across Canada, the US, and as far afield as Scotland and Australia. Aaron has been awarded The Dermot O’Reilly Legacy Award for promoting traditional music and demonstrating leadership and creativity in the tradition-bearer community of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Angus Alexander Stewart, born Jan.31/1960 at Springdale NL, to Scottish(father) and English(mother) immigrant parents. Calls Ramea home for the past 50 yrs, married to a Ramea girl and have one son and two grandchildren. Angus currently works in Norris Point on the tour boat, the EmmCat . He enjoys playing guitar and bass and songwriting. One commercial CD release, Reefer, Hold Fast,(all original material) and one in progress ,also all original material. His songs have been recorded by Shanneyganock, Anchors Aweigh, Jeff Quilty, Fergus O’Byrne/Jim Payne, and Jordan Harnum(in progress).
Anita Best is a traditional singer and storyteller working primarily with Newfoundland songs and stories. She also works as a broadcaster and folklorist. Anita has received several honours for her work in collecting and disseminating Newfoundland folksongs, including the Marius Barbeau award from the Folklore Studies Association of Canada and an Honorary doctorate from Memorial University. She was named to the Order of Canada in 2011.
Bill Coates & Sean Payne
Bill Coates and Sean Payne have played music together for many years now, in many settings, including at many fundraisers for community members struggling with illness. From the south side of Bonne Bay, just across the water from Norris Point, they play a variety of traditional songs and tunes on button accordion and guitar, good music to dance a jig or a waltz to. They are happy to be playing at another Trails Tales and Tunes!
Bob Porter & Dale Kennedy
Bob Porter has been into music since he was about 12 years old, and since then has produced three albums of original music, the latest released 2016, titled New Life. “Most of what I listened to growing up was Irish music. Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. As I grew older, my focus for music turned to writing, and almost always took me back to my roots, from a small community on Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula.
I was lucky enough to write and record one of Newfoundland’s well know songs, “Up She Rises”. Also had a lot of luck with “Ghost Out In The Fog” and “Wave The Flag”, and a few other songs that’s tagged along.” Facebook Video
Bob is joined by Bird Cove musician Dale Kennedy on keyboard.
Gary Collins was born in a small, two-storey house by the sea in the town of Hare Bay, Bonavista North. He finished school at Brown Memorial High in the same town. He spent forty years in the logging and sawmilling business with his father, Theophilus, and son Clint. He managed log drives down spring rivers for years, spent seven seasons driving tractor-trailers over ice roads and the Beaufort Sea of Canada’s Western Arctic, and has been involved in the crab, lobster, and cod commercial fisheries.
Gary’s writing career began when he was asked to write eulogies for deceased friends and family. Now a critically acclaimed author, he has written ten books, including the children’s illustrated book What Colour is the Ocean?, which he co-wrote with his granddaughter, Maggie Rose Parsons. That book won an Atlantic Book Award: The Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. His book Mattie Mitchell: Newfoundland’s Greatest Frontiersman has been adapted for film.
Gayle has been spotted over the years with her harp on stage with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, or playing exploratory music during the wild and fabulous Sound Symposium. Her harps are classical, Celtic, electric and South American and she is now mostly engaged with world/traditional music on her Paraguayan harp. Gayle teaches at the all-ages Vinland Music Camp, held each August in Gros Morne, and also plays regularly at the Seaside Restaurant in Trout River.
Gerry is a whistle and wooden flute player who played for many years with Tickle Harbour and now performs with A Crowd of Bold Sharemen. With these groups he recorded four albums and toured across Canada, Ireland, England and Australia. Gerry has appeared as a guest musician on a multitude of recordings including that of Irish uillean piper Paddy Keenan. In 2008 he recorded his own CD entitled Velvet in the Wind, which features many of the top traditional players in Newfoundland and Labrador today.
Gloria & Jack Kent
Jack Kent hails from Bell Island, which is irreverent, I mean irrelevant . He has been playing fiddle and guitar since he was knee high to a grasshopper, which is also irrelevant , because he keeps making the same mistakes . But enough of this, come and hear him play and judge for yourself.
Gloria first played on her Grandmother’s piano. She studied piano and voice from the age of eight and taught piano for many years. She’s enjoyed playing piano in many different venues and looks forward to this year’s Trails Tales Tunes.
Jacinda Beals Band
The Jacinda Beals Band is Hal Collishaw, Greg Peach, Daniel Manning, Peter Best and frontwoman, Jacinda Beals. On November 4th, 2016, the band released their 3rd album FLOW in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. Jacinda’s new tunes have a Blues/Rock flair and the lyrics are inspired by her life with the band and her love of Labrador.
“The eight track release, available as a CD or digital download, is full of Labrador pride and the gritty sound of overdriven guitars and keyboards over acoustic guitar. Each song is the result of a true collaboration, with each band member layering their sound onto the framework of Jacinda’s tunes until a fully formed song was created.” —Tobias Romaniuk, Editor “Inside Labrador”
Jacinda is a well-known singer/writer who released her first album in 2003. Since then has been performing throughout the province, country and Dublin, Ireland. The band has been together for almost ten years now and Jacinda says their experience and friendship are a big part of how they perform on stage. “We’ve been playing together for so long now that we are a family. A family that understands and appreciates each other’s individual style of playing. We know each other well and are able to play off each other. Thats why every show is so much fun,” says Jacinda. If you are in Happy Valley-Goose Bay you can find the Jacinda Beals Band performing regularly at Grafter’s Pub. Video Facebook Twitter
Jean Hewson & Christina Smith
For the past 28 years, Jean Hewson and Christina Smith have been ambassadors of Newfoundland culture, bringing the music and songs of their Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador to festival, concert and folk club audiences in North America and Europe. They are the recipients of the Ernie King Tradition Bearer award from the Celtic Roots Festival, Goderich, Ontario. Their music has been broadcast nationally by the Canadian Broadcasting Coorporation, and their CDs Like Ducks! and August Gale (Borealis) have received multiple nominations and awards.
Originally from Corner Brook, Jeff now calls Rocky Harbour home. He has been entertaining the locals and tourists in the Gros Morne area for the past thirteen years since moving there to work as a Lab/Xray Technologist. He sings songs in the folk roots tradition with passion and conviction. With encouragement (and some prodding) from fans, family and friends Jeff finally released his first CD Long Way Home in September 2009. Jeff was also a 2010 MusicNL nominee in the Male Artist of the Year and Folk/Roots Artist of the Year categories.
Jodie has 20 plus years of playing and recording across Canada as a solo act and with various groups including: Past Midnight, Double Play, The Chase, Uncle Harry’s Bar Band, Drake and Rice and The Lamplighters. Recently he has worked as sound tech for The Anchors Aweigh Show. Facebook
Kacie started out as a children’s’ entertainer in a family band, traveling around Newfoundland with her father and little sister. She fronted rock cover band Papa String in her hometown of Grand Falls before branching out into own acoustic solo shows. Now residing on the West Coast of Newfoundland and loving every minute, Kacie writes her own material, as well as performing covers of all genres and decades including anything from Dean Martin, to The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, and beyond.
In recent years, Kyran has most commonly been known for singing and playing the upright bass with the Newfoundland folk group, Tarahan. Kyran has always had an interest and passion in folk music. He used his love for traditional folk music and inspiration from artists such as John Prine, Bill Staines and Gordon Lightfoot to create his first solo album, Nowhere But Up. He gains the audience’s attention with his unique vocal presence and pleasing guitar styles. Facebook
Whenever you hear Les Benoît you’ll always be moved in every sense of the word by the stellar musicianship and wonderful spirit that continues through their music both new or old. Rooted in the traditional music of Newfoundland’s Port au Port area, Les Benoît’s sound is a melange of French, Irish and Scottish influences.
Les Benoît are a tight knitted ensemble that brings Doug Benoît on accordion, fiddle and banjo, his son Devon on percussion and acoustic guitar and Doug’s nephew Shane Blanchard on bass guitar and acoustic guitar.
Newfoundlanders from the Port au Port peninsula are well known for their kitchen parties, and this is where the soul of Les Benoît’s music began. The late Mattis Benoît along with his son Doug is where the group started in the early 1990’s but they played together for many years prior to the beginning of the group, as far back as the early 1970’s when Doug was a young boy. Since the beginning, the group came from playing local talent shows and fundraisers in the Port au Port area to festivals all over Canada, but also even as far as Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, France.
As Mattis’ grandsons grew up submerged in this wonderful music and true passion of this traditional culture, it came natural to them and in 2009 Devon and Shane joined the group. In the summer of 2012 Les Benoît released their debut album that takes you back to the days of old with tracks such as ‘La Farine’ (the title track), a story told by Doug’s grandmother Florence Leprieur about life ‘sur la Cap’ set to a musical backdrop. The album also showcases the band’s contemporary colours with original compositions by another of Mattis’s sons Robert Benoît and a set of tunes written by the members of the band Shane and Devon.
In the summer of 2013 Mattis Benoît passed away leaving his family and friends a strong foundation of traditional roots music . It was at this time that his son, Doug, started to play the accordion that he bought his father before he passed. Since then he hasn’t put it down and the true passion to keep what he and his father started going really showed in his ability to master this instrument in a short few months. Les Benoît strive to pass on their traditional roots as Mattis Benoît passed it on to them so that their culture will live on forever.
Storytelling through song is a fundamental duty of traditional music and one that Matthew Byrne performs brilliantly.
Born into a family of Newfoundland music makers, Matthew’s repertoire is heavily influenced by that unique musical lineage – the weaving of a great story with a beautiful melody – and he supports this tradition with powerful vocals, polished guitar work, and a presence that fills the room. His repertoire transcends time and place and his live performance reminds us how satisfying traditional songs can be when stripped down to their basic elements.
Byrne’s music has traveled well beyond the rugged shores of his Newfoundland home since his 2010 debut, Ballads. Touring as both a solo artist as well as singer with The Dardanelles, he has graced major festival stages worldwide. With his second album, Hearts & Heroes, winning Traditional Recording of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards, Byrne further established himself as one of Canada’s most authentic and vital traditional voices.
Matthew Byrne is currently recording his highly-anticipated third album – a deeper exploration of traditional material from both sides of the Atlantic. It will be released in Fall of 2017. For more info and tour schedule, visit Website Facebook Twitter
Megan Gail Coles
Megan Gail Coles is a graduate of Memorial University, the National Theatre School of Canada and is currently enrolled in the UBC MFA Opt-Res program. She is Co-founder and Artistic Director of Poverty Cove Theatre Company. Megan is presently working on her debut novel (House of Anansi 2018) and The Driftwood Trilogy of plays. Megan’s first fiction collection, Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome (Killick), won the BMO Winterset Award, the ReLit Award and the Margaret & John Savage First Book Award and earned her the one time Writers Trust 5×5 prize. Originally from Savage Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula, Megan now resides in St. John’s where she is the Executive Director of Riddle Fence and the Artist-In-Residence at the Arts and Culture Centre.
Michael is a Music Newfoundland and Labrador award winner (The Catch-1999) and a SOCAN Songwriter of the Year nominee for his hauntingly beautiful ballad, “Whale Bones”. The Left Coast is Mike’s solo debut. It offers a great mix of original songs and classic tunes including a reggae version of Ron Hynes’ famous anthem, Sonny’s Dream. A light, thoughtful acoustic departure from Mike’s drumming work (The Catch, The Fables), The Left Coast is simple and beautiful.
Newfoundland the Band
Newfoundland the band is a six piece traditional / contemporary group of musicians from the south east of Ireland. Mixing the old and the new songs and tunes, the group from the counties of Kilkenny, Waterford and Tipperary, has a wide range of music in their repertoire. They have become known for being a band that could come out with any song, sometimes to the surprise of the band members themselves. Their first trip over the pond will be an exciting one for all!
Mi’kmaw musician and composer Paul Pike from Corner Brook
Newfoundland. Paul is the singer / songwriter for the contemporary First Nations rock band Medicine Dream. This group, based out of Anchorage Alaska, released three recordings internationally with award winning success. Pike lived in Alaska for 25 years, and returned home in 2015 to be close to his family, friends and the land he is so much apart of. Now settled in, new songs are beginning to emerge. Songs about Western Newfoundland, and his Mi’kmaw heritage. Experience the beauty of the Native American flute, acoustic guitars, and traditional First Nation hand drums. Taste the sounds of contemporary Indigenous music from Newfoundland. Video
Norpen Aboriginal Women’s Circle
Norpen Aboriginal Women’s Circle is an aboriginal group that shares Mi’kmaq culture on the Northern Peninsula. They are very happy drumming Mi’kmaq songs at special events and with many different audiences.
Roxanne Ryland, storyteller, PICNIC BASKET STORIES. Roxanne specializes in sharing all kinds of stories with children of all ages (adults are always welcome). She is a retired primary teacher from Deer Lake NL who has a love for stories and enjoys sharing those stories with others. Her story sessions include fairytales, fables, folk tales , legends and many interactive stories using props from my special Picnic Basket. Roxanne has performed at many festivals, schools, libraries, and other events over the past 5 years. This will be her fourth year participating in Tales Trails Tunes for “Celebrate the Sea Day”. Everyone is welcome to come and share in the enjoyment of a good story.
Few traditional Newfoundland bands have risen as quickly in the ranks as Rum Ragged. Formed by singer/guitarist Mark Manning and singer/accordion player Aaron Collis just two years ago, Rum Ragged has garnered respect from a loyal, ever-growing fan base as well as their musical peers. From spirited instrumentals to heartfelt ballads, they pay homage to the greats that came before them while carving out a fresh, unique sound of their own. While their pub shows have transformed into festival headlining gigs in a very short span of time, they are equally comfortable performing in both types of venues.
Rum Ragged released their debut album in the summer of 2016, and already it has received widespread attention and acclaim with two Music NL nominations for Album of the Year and Folk Roots Recording. They are also the grand prize winners of the Lamb’s Rum theme song contest, from hundreds of Canada wide entries.
Manning and Collis have recently expanded to a four-piece, with Anthony Chafe on bodhran and Michael Boone on bass and banjo. They are now able to deliver the full traditional spectrum in a live context, whether it is an intimate pub show or a spirited festival stage. Hailing from four different outports around the island, Rum Ragged now represents the best that this province has to offer in the traditional genre. With an acclaimed new album and award nominations already under their belt this year, 2017 promises to be a busy and successful year for this dedicated, energetic band. Facebook Website Twitter
Russell deCarle & Steve Briggs
Russell deCarle is a founding member, lead vocalist, bassist, and contributing songwriter to the multi-platinum, Juno award winning, country roots group Prairie Oyster.
As a solo artist Russell has appeared on CBC TV’s Songwriters Circle, opened for Merle Haggard on his cross-Canada tour, traveled coast-to-coast with Bluebird North Songwriters’ Tour, and was a featured guest on Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café Christmas Tour, 2008. Russell has also appeared as a guest vocalist on numerous occasions (Bebop Cowboys, Rita Chiarelli, Terra Hazelton) and has won two SOCAN Song of the Year awards.
2010 saw the release of Russell’s long-awaited and much-anticipated solo recording Under the Big Big Sky. deCarle penned nine of the eleven songs and is featured on vocals and rhythm guitar. Website
Steve Briggs has performed, arranged and recorded with a wealth of artists including Sylvia Tyson, Quartette, Russell deCarle, Murray McLauchlan, Leon Redbone, the Brothers Cosmoline and Carroll Baker among many others. His popular western swing orchestra, the Bebop Cowboys, has garnered many glowing reviews and accolades across the country.
Sherman Downey’s music embraces Folk-Roots and Country while flirting with Pop-Rock and at times even Bossa Nova, but one thing is for certain; he just makes you feel good. His highly anticipated second release The Sun in your Eyes recently brought home Newfoundland and Labrador’s ‘Pop/Rock Recording’ award as well as a nod from SOCAN with the province’s ‘SOCAN Songwriter of the Year’ distinction. The album includes CBC’s first Searchlight Competition winning song ‘Thick as Thieves” and other gems like “Annalee” and “The Right Idea”; songs that have found regular rotation across Canada on Campus Radio and the CBC, as well as garnering attention internationally with airplay on stations in LA, Australia and the UK. Sherman continues to find his way into the hearts of listeners with his charming delivery of solid songs and has carved out a spot as one of the most exciting acts to add to your calendar this year. Website Facebook Twitter
SPREE consists of 4 local musicians: Jeff Quilty, vocals and numerous instruments; Paul Barry, vocal, guitar, bass; Shirley Montague, fiddle; Wade Jones, vocal and numerous instruments. The Band is an offshoot of the Shed Band which is still an entity, though a larger ensemble suitable for specific situations and circumstances. SPREE offers toe-tapping traditional tunes and an eclectic mix of songs from near and far.
Country-folk trio The Secrets, comprised of Newfoundland natives Karla Pilgrim, Terri Lynn Eddy and Renée Batten – all three accomplished singers and solo musicians – met in college. They quickly discovered a natural blend to their voices and musical aspirations, traded jigs and reels for whiskey, mandolins and faded jeans, and haven’t looked back.
The Secrets launched their trio opening for country music legend Alan Jackson’s Freight Train Tour in 2010, and since 2012 have been taking their music across the country, including stops at Saskatchewan’s Ness Creek Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Stan Rogers International Folk Festival, the World Pride Festival (Toronto), the Acoustic Maritime Music Festival, Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women and Song, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, and opening three sold out shows for country superstar Tim McGraw at Mile One Centre in St. John’s, NL.
The Secrets headed to Nashville in spring 2014 to record at Beech Creek Studios. Their producer/co-writer, Peter Daniel Newman gathered some of that city’s finest session players – including Pat McGrath, Gordon Mote, Duncan Mullins, JT Corenflos, Steve Brewster, Andy Leftwich and Dan Dugmore – to support The Secrets in bringing their chosen songs to life. This culminated in the (June 2014) release of The Secrets highly anticipated debut album, Break Even, which features a combination of The Secrets own originals, the album title track and lead single “Break Even”, written by fellow east coast musicians Chris Kirby and Tim Chaisson, several co-writes with Peter Daniel Newman (including their second single titled “Big Time”), a tasteful bluegrass cover of the Avicii hit “Hey Brother”, and more, all delivered with the natural harmonies that are The Secrets signature sound. Break Even was subsequently named Country Recording of the Year at the 2014 MusicNL Awards, and nominated in this same category for the 2015 East Coast Music Awards.
Citing influences such as Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and Linda Ronstadt (aka The Trio), as well as Johnny Cash, Tricia Yearwood, Terri Clark and Patty Loveless, to name just a few, The Secrets built their repertoire on a foundation of classic country hits infused with an impressive, and ever-growing catalogue of country-folk originals. With their gift of voice and seemingly effortless, natural harmony coupled with their individual talent and skill as musicians – Karla on guitar and bass, Terri Lynn on guitar, mandolin and harmonica, and Renée, an extraordinary musical talent on guitar, accordion, fiddle, mandolin, bass and more – The Secrets fresh delivery of their chosen work is authentic, exciting and thoroughly entertaining for all who see and hear them. Website Facebook Twitter
Tara Manuel & Michael Rigler
Tara Manuel is a performer, puppeteer, and writer. Tara is the 12th child from a family of 15 children from the west coast of Newfoundland. She is a graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada, and worked as an actor in various Theatre, Film, and TV productions in Canada, the US, and Europe before returning to Western NL in 2000.
Tara has since toured her original shadow puppetry show, “St. George and the Dragon” solo to sixty schools from the coast of Labrador to the west and south coasts of NL, teaching workshops and well as building, performing and handling technical production. She has performed in numerous theatre productions, including her own original puppet cabarets, and has spearheaded multiple experimental puppetry projects involving youth in the west coast region.
Tara is the NL director on the founding board of directors of the Atlantic Canada Puppetry Association – UNIMA ATLANTIQUE, and is currently developing a new puppetry play for young audiences with her very talented and loyal Tomcat, Michael Rigler.
The Ramblin’ Rovers
The Ramblin’ Rovers are a traditional Irish/Newfoundland band. Formed in 2013 and based out of the Humber Valley area, they have been playing their rollicking, foot-stomping shows in various pubs and festivals around the West Coast and Northern Peninsula. Not your typical traditional band, they combine a fun mixture of Irish/Newfoundland/ Folk…and sometimes even a classic rock tune with a very traditional twist….a great kitchen party atmosphere every time! The band members are: Tom Boland – Vocals, guitar; Darren Osmond – Vocals, Leah Vokey-Sing – Fiddle. Facebook
The Roses are Guy, Colleen and Jonathan Rose. They have been living in Norris Point since 2002. They have enjoyed volunteering and sharing their love of traditional Newfoundland music.
Three of a Kind
Three of a Kind is a 3 piece band from Stephenville, Newfoundland. The band began in 1990 and has been playing together ever since. The band is made up of Leon Aucoin (Bass/vocals) Nelson White (Guitar/Vocals) and Kevin Macneil (Drums and Vocals). On some occasions Martin MacNeil will join the group on keyboard. You may even see the band advertised as 4 of a kind. The band plays everything from classic rock, pop, and rhythm and blues. We tend to play what the situation calls for. You can expect to hear anything. The band will be returning to the Cat Stop for the 4th consecutive year with TTT. “We love the atmosphere”. “ Small venues have always been our favorite”.
Tomato Tomato (John and Lisa McLaggan) craft songs in their recording studio; perched in a tiny community on the bend of the Saint John River in New Brunswick. Their trade combines their vast technical knowledge of music with the everyday ebb of life, family and community. Their harmony is air-tight; John’s folk style guitar playing anchoring Lisa’s kick drum syncopation.Through it all winds whimsical strings, washboards, tins, tappers and clackers that flutter about the melody like sandpipers on the Bay of Fundy. Tomato Tomato has proudly entertained prestigious audiences in 2016 at The Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival and Black Sheep Inn in Canada (among others) with dips into various US states. They are past Regional Winners for CBC National Searchlight Competition in 2013, nominated for 6 Music New Brunswick awards and winning 3; they’ve also been nominated for a Roots Trad ECMA in 2014 and 2017 for songwriting. With two acclaimed albums ( So it Goes / I Go Where You Go ) Tomato Tomato are dancing around the kitchen daily and carving out a place for their old tyme rootsy washboard infused folk on a stage near you. Website Facebook Twitter