Ray and I are thrilled to have convinced so many wonderful musicians to dance among the stars with us! Learn more about their remarkable careers here, and how they got involved in the making of this CD.
Dancing Underneath the Stars
Classical pianist David Rogosin has performed across Canada, in the American midwest, and in the Caribbean and France. Praised for the brilliance, clarity and passion of his performances, he is highly regarded as a performer, adjudicator and teacher. As an Associate Professor at Mount Allison University since 2001, he has taught a wide variety of music courses. Apart from classical music he enjoys jazz and world music, holds the rank of shodan in aikido, and is fluently bilingual in French and English.
His first solo CD, Incandescence (2005), featured the music of Messiaen, Brahms, Bartók and Dallapiccola, and garnered much praise and frequent airplay on CBC. A second CD, Evocation (2012), features the music of Scarlatti, Haydn, Albéniz, Mompou, Ravel, Morel and Southam, and was nominated for an ECMA “Classical Recording of the Year” in 2013.
“I met David when he first moved to Sackville to take up his teaching position in the Department of Music at Mount Allison University. He would come into the gallery and we would talk and laugh. Laughing is easy with David.
One day, quite by accident, we started talking about music and I mentioned that I enjoyed singing. He quickly extended an invitation to ‘get together’ and play just for the fun of it. I was thrilled. A few days later I went to his studio and although I was very comfortable with him as a person, I was very nervous to be sharing music with him. I felt like I was at an audition or something. Yikes!
Well, in true David Rogosin fashion, I soon felt very at ease and within a few minutes we settled into a song we both loved – Summertime. He plays like ‘liquid silk’. The colours he creates with his playing are incredibly beautiful. By the end of Summertime I was standing apart from the moment – moved by the emotion and joy of having had the chance to experience such music with such a musician, to be a part of it. Thank you, David.” – Janet Crawford
Originally from Amherst, Nova Scotia, Ray Legere has become one of Canada’s well-respected multi-instrumentalists crossing many genres. He is the winner of an ECMA, a five-time winner of the Eastern Division Bluegrass Awards in the categories of mandolin and fiddle, a Nashville Grand Masters Fiddle Champion, and a mandolin champion in both Canada and the US.
He has played at the Grand Ol’ Opry and Carnegie Hall, and has toured with David Grisman, Jerry Douglas, Doc Watson, Bela Fleck, The Band, the Rankins, Rita McNeil, and Tony Rice, to name a few. Ray was an integral member of the “Bowfire” ensemble for a number of years touring North America and Europe.
Ray worked as musical director for the CBC television series “Fiddlehead Country” and is the house fiddler for the french music show “Pour L’Amour De Country”. He continues to tour and record with many well-respected artists.
“Ray was the back bone of this recording project. He provided outstanding creative musical direction and technical expertise, and his assistance in producing this project cannot be overstated.
For almost an entire year we got together in his basement studio to talk, plan, listen and record each song. Ray was always there to provide gentle nudges, sound judgements and light-hearted encouragement. He and his wonderful wife, Jill, really made me feel welcome in their home. I’d chat with their kids at the end of our sessions – usually with them already at the supper table.
Ray is a quiet guy… soft spoken. A perfect producer – I think. He brought amazing musicians into the project and got the ‘best’ from all the artists we worked with in the studio. For me he was my mentor – my guru. I learned so much working with him. Thank you Ray, for everything.” – Janet Crawford
Born in Moncton, New Brunswick, Georges began playing in the early sixties, influenced by Chet Atkins, Hank Garland, Harold Bradley, Django Reinhardt, Barney Kessel and Charlie Byrd.
He began his musical career playing with the Brunswick Playboys in Moncton and later in Halifax with CBC-TV Music Hop (Frank’s Bandstand) and Sing-along Jubilee.
In the mid seventies, he toured with Anne Murray and later with Ian Tyson’s Great Speckled Bird, returning to Halifax to perform on CBC shows such as Denny’s Show, The Marg Osburne Show, The John Allan Cameron Show, Sunshine Hour and Coming up Country. In 1979 he rejoined The Anne Murray Show until 2008.
Georges has performed with Moe Koffman, Gene MacLellan, Dusty Springfield, Denny Doherty, Bruce Guthro, Vera Lynn, Jonathan Edwards, Shirley Eikhard, Bryan Adams, Jann Arden, and Celine Dion. He has toured all over Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, playing in well-known concert halls such as Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall in New York, The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, Royal Albert Hall, The London Palladium and Victoria Palace in London, England, as well as Centennial Hall in Monte Carlo.
“Here is a perfect example of how beautiful the musical community can be. Because of Ray’s background and experience, he suggested Georges at the beginning of this project. He said he had great respect for Georges’ playing and thought he might be approached to provide some of the guitar tracks. I left Ray to make the contact. Of course, these days, musicians speak to each other by sending tracks back and forth over the internet. Distance doesn’t mean anything anymore.
Well, to my great surprise and joy, within a few weeks Georges had not only replied but had sent back some tracks based on the charts and demos that Ray had provided. I was thrilled. All that talent, experience and knowledge was being poured into these songs of mine. Wow – it was hard to believe.
I’ve emailed Georges to thank him and express my appreciation for not only his willingness to work with me, but for giving his amazing talent to this project. I hope I’ll have a chance to meet Georges face to face some day. Merci beaucoup, Georges.” – Janet Crawford
Toronto-based trumpeter Dylan Rook Maddix is quickly building a reputation as a performer, teacher, and conductor. He was a prize winner at the 2011 & 2014 National Music Festivals, and has been a featured soloist with the Prince Edward Island Symphony, the Greater Moncton Chorale and Orchestra, the Mount Allison University Symphonic Band, and the Strathgartney Chamber Orchestra.
His musicality and professionalism have led him to numerous programs, competitions and ensembles in Canada and the United States including the Scotia Festival of Music, Charlottetown Festival, Festivals of Music in New York City, Indian River Music Festival, and Music Fest Canada. He has worked with performing artists Aaron Hodgson, Jens Lindemann, Jeff Nelsen, Ingrid Jensen, Guy Few and most recently, the Canadian Brass.
“I first met Dylan just before he graduated (BMus) from Mount Allison University here in Sackville. I recognized immediately that this young guy was so talented. Although he is classically trained it was obvious that he enjoyed playing jazz and was very versatile. He made it look so easy! So effortless!
I went out on a limb and just asked if he might be interested in listening to some of my demos in hopes of including him on this project. He was enthusiastic. A week later we were in Ray’s studio. Dylan gave us wonderful tracks. He really ‘got’ the songs and his contributions were thoughtful and exciting. He and Ray worked well together and it was a neat experience for me to just stand back and watch two pros work out all the intricacies. The trumpet can have such a human-like voice and I really loved exploring the play between the vocal lines and the trumpet lines.
Dylan is now in Toronto studying at the University of Toronto working towards his Masters of Music (Trumpet Performance). Dylan – you’re a prize! Thank you so much for everything you gave to this project. All the best to you as you continue to develop your career. I think we’re going to be hearing a lot more from you in the years to come.” – Janet Crawford
Playing the guitar, pedal steel guitar, banjo, bass and drums, Jean-Guy Grenier – a native of Amos in the Abitibi region – is a multi-talented musician who got his first start at the age of 11 in Val-d’Or.
His mastery of the pedal steel makes him one of the most sought-after musicians in the world of country music. He works with many established studios in Montreal and Toronto and has toured with major artists such as Patrick Norman, Roch Voisine, Renée Martel, Édith Butler, Alain Morisod and Bobby Lalonde in Canada, the US and Switzerland.
In 1996 he released his first solo album, Go West. He is an integral “house band” member for several television programs including Viacountry, Country City Centre and For the Love of Country.
“Ray is remarkably good at knowing what is needed for a song and he always had great suggestions for musicians who we should approach to contribute.
Once we realized that we were both excited about introducing a Texas swing style or Hillbilly Jazz influence into some of these songs, Jean Guy Grenier’s name was high on the list of musicians we’d hope to incorporate into the mix.
Ray and Jean Guy have played together on many occasions, and lucky for me, the taping of the TV series, Pour L’Amour du Country was being done in Moncton NB. Ray asked and he agreed and while they were both in Moncton taping the program, Ray was able to set up a mobile session. I was fortunate enough to meet Jean Guy during one of the rehearsals for the program.
Jean Guy plays on three of the songs. The addition of his creative and strong pedal steel tracks certainly adds an authenticity to the overall presentation of the CD. Merci, Jean Guy.” – Janet Crawford
Roger Williams was born to traveling musicians Gerry Lee and Curley Williams, who were on the road performing with Ray Bradley and His Tennessee Champions (Gerry on upright bass and vocals, and Curley on Dobro and vocals) in northern Maine. Gerry realized that being on the road constantly wouldn’t allow her the time to be the mom she wanted to be so she returned to her hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts, where Roger spent his formative years. She passed her passion on to Roger and from an early age he learned to sing the harmony parts to Gerry’s vast repertoire of old country songs.
In his early teens Roger developed an interest playing the Dobro and his father gave him some pointers to get him started. Within a year Roger was sitting in with The Lilly Brothers and Don Stover at the world-famous Hillbilly Ranch in Boston, Mass. Since then he has gone on to perform and record with many well-respected bluegrass and folk acts on the national and international circuit. Career highlights include twelve overseas tours with various artists and teaching workshops. Roger currently performs with Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters, which has a steady presence in Europe, UK, and Canada, as well as the eastern seaboard of the US.
“During one our first meetings to discuss the song selection for the CD, I casually mentioned to Ray that one of my favorite songs was an obscure song, Summer Fly, by an American songwriter Cheryl Wheeler. The version I am familiar with is by an Irish powerhouse vocalist, Maura O’Connell, which I am really drawn to by its use of mandolin and dobro. Ray knew the song well and had performed it with a number of vocalists. I was starting to understand Ray’s vast experience. So much for obscure songs! Ray was very enthusiastic and although I wasn’t confident that I could ‘pull it off’, I agreed to give it a try. The tempo is strong and the vocal phrasing requires the lung power of a Right Whale.
Then Ray told me a story about his friend Roger Williams and the assistance that his generosity played in helping Ray get started. As a young man, Roger invited Ray to come and live with his family to help him get a ‘start’ into the US market. Well, they’ve been good friends ever since and have shared many hours playing together.
Ray said that Roger would be ‘the one’ to play the dobro track to the song Summer Fly and it became obvious to me that to be given the good fortune of having two remarkable musicians – masters in the two instruments that I wanted to work with – was too good to pass up. It is amazing to hear these two friends, who obviously enjoy playing with each other, really bring this song to life. It would be such a gas to play this song ‘live’ and watch Roger and Ray play together again. Then again, we’d need to either clone Ray two more times or find another fiddle and guitar player!” – Janet Crawford
Sackville native Ronnie Sims started playing guitar along-side his father and brothers. His natural talent has developed into a love of both acoustic and electric guitars (which he loves to collect!). He plays many different genres equally well, but has a deep understanding and love of the ‘blues’. Ron has provided lead guitar for a number of Maritime-based bands including The BS Blues Band, Big Daddy Shad and, most recently, the Mark Green Band.
“Ron is a very competent and versatile player. We’ve played in kitchens and living rooms together for years – and almost every genre of music. He brings a creative interpretation to whatever he’s playing and his quick wit and great sense of humour make every occasion fun. Thanks Ron for agreeing to provide the guitar line for Bridge Street – both in its first incarnation and again for this version.” – Janet Crawford
Linda Pearse is recognized as a specialist in the exquisite musical repertoire of early seventeenth-century Italy. Pearse is Lecturer for Baroque trombone at Indiana University Bloomington, and Assistant Professor of Brass at Mount Allison University. She is the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Early Music Summer Baroque Workshop and is the artistic director of the award-winning ensemble ¡Sacabuche! Her critical edition of Seventeenth-Century Italian Motets with Trombone has been published with A-R Editions (April 2014).
I had the good fortune of working with Linda on a recording project with her classical ensemble ¡Sacabuche!. She is a committed musician and an exciting teacher and conductor. She readily agreed to help out on the song, Bridge Street, and I appreciate her encouragement very much. Thanks Linda for your contribution to this project.– Janet Crawford
Lauded by colleagues and students as a “world-class doubler”, James Kalyn has built a career over the past twenty-five years as a soloist and orchestral musician of the highest calibre on both saxophone and clarinet. He is currently a Professor of Single Reeds and Conducting at Mount Allison University and maintains an international career as a performer, conductor, and pedagogue.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know James. He brings a spark to his teaching and certainly to his performing. I was thrilled when James agreed to listen to some of my music and contribute his talent to the horn arrangement written by Jim Code for Bridge Street. Thank you James for everything. It’s been fun working with you. – Janet Crawford
Janet Crawford is a singer-songwriter with a repertoire that includes original tunes, some old-time country and especially standard jazz classics. Besides her performance with small ensembles she is also a vocalist with the Elastic Big Band from Nova Scotia.