Acclaimed Scottish musician Archie Fisher shared that “Allison Lupton’s balance of strong composition and sensitive musicality makes her a fine contemporary songwriter and interpreter of the tradition and the works of her fellow songsmiths.”
Her interest in music began in the rural Ontario community of West Zorra Township where she learned to sing harmony in the church choir. She got her start playing folk music with the band Killiecrankie which was regularly featured on CBC Radio’s legendary Max Ferguson Show. Allison has performed at various festivals and venues including Mariposa, Lunenburg, and CBC’s Vinyl Café. In 2008, Allison was honoured with a nomination in the “Traditional Singer of the Year” category by the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Most recently, Allison’s song “One More Day” was the English overall winning song in the 2015 Folk Music Ontario’s Songs From the Heart competition.
Allison’s band is composed of a stellar group of musicians, including renowned veteran of the Canadian folk scene Ian Bell , acclaimed bass player Denis Rondeau, Grand North American Fiddle Champion Shane Cook, and CCBA’s Mandolin Player of the Year Andrew Collins. Delighting listeners with their beautiful renditions of traditional and original songs and tunes, the group features exquisite, three-part vocal harmonies and captivating arrangements highlighting flute, fiddle, guitar, accordion, mandolin, banjo and acoustic bass.
As a folk musician Ian Bell has performed professionally across Canada and in the United States since the late 1970s. On his own and with a number of different ensembles, he has appeared at numerous folk festivals (Winnipeg, Mariposa, Edmonton, Ottawa, Yellowknife, Owen Sound, Lunenberg, Montmagny, Viljandi and others) and in concerts in every sort of venue including the Lincoln Centre in New York City.
With the group Muddy York, and along with Wade Hemsworth (composer of the Blackfly Song, Log Driver’s Waltz), Ian performed for two weeks in the Folklife Pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver, BC. In 1993 Ian was named “Folk Artist in Residence” for that year at Joseph Schneider Haus Museum, in Kitchener, Ontario. In 1985 Ian served as artistic director of the Mariposa Folk Festival.
As a long-time freelance broadcaster, Ian has worked on many occasions with Stuart McLean on CBC Radio’s Vinyl Café. Ian has co-written and served as musical director for five Vinyl Café national concert broadcasts. For seven years Ian was a regular contributor to the weekend Fresh Air program on CBC radio. Over the years, Ian Bell has been a regular contributor to many CBC programs including Ideas, Gabereau, Crossroads, This Morning, and Radio Noon. He also appeared numerous times on Peter Gzowski’s Morningside. Ian has also contributed to numerous film scores and performed period music for and occasionally appeared in the TV series, The Road to Avonlea.
Ian performs material from a large repertoire that includes both Canadian traditional music and his own songs and instrumental compositions. Ian’s original songs have been performed and recorded by: Anne Lederman, Ian Robb, Bobby Watt, Allison Lupton, Lee Murdock and others.
An accomplished multi-instrumentalist (guitar, button accordion, mandolin, harmonica, fiddle, pipes) Ian appears on dozens of recordings as sideman as well as many under his own name. He currently performs regularly with the Friends of Fiddler’s Green, Muddy York, and the Allison Lupton Band.
Following the release of three CDs of well-received original songs, Ian has returned to his roots with a 2009 CD of traditional songs and tunes – My Pious Friends and Drunken Companions. This album was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award.
Most recently Ian has released Forget Me Not, When Far Away, a collection of traditional songs and chanteys from the age of commercial sail on the Great Lakes. This project was also shortlisted for a 2013 CFMA Award.
Ian is the co-founder of The Crooked Stovepipe, a folk arts resource and learning centre and performance venue located in a 19th century former general store in the hamlet of Villa Nova in Norfolk County, Ontario.
Andrew is a prolific composer, performer, producer, engineer, educator and accomplished multi-instrumentalist. He plays mandolin, mandola, mandocello, guitar, and fiddle, deftly navigating across the bluegrass, old-time, jazz, blues, swing, Celtic and classical traditions.
Andrew’s two longest-standing collaborative projects, the Creaking Tree String Quartet (CTSQ) and the Foggy Hogtown Boys, bring together some of the most talented acoustic musicians in Canada. CTSQ has earned four Juno Award Nominations and received four Canadian Folk Music Awards, while the Foggy Hogtown Boys have earned numerous awards from the Central Canada Bluegrass Association and were nominated as Best Ensemble at the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Andrew’s career as a solo artist is no less impressive. The Central Canada Bluegrass Association nominated him five times as Mandolin Player of the Year, which he secured in 2005.
Over the last seven years, Andrew has added engineering and producing to his list of professional skills. Working out of his Toronto-based studio, Sytesounds, he has recorded albums by The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Creaking Tree String Quartet, Chris Coole, Brad Keller, John Showman, and Tuxedo, and has produced and engineered albums for Annie Lou, The Unseen Strangers, Laura Repo, Kitgut Stringband, Sweet Lowdown, and Lickin’ Good Fried, among many others.
In the newest phase of his performance career, Andrew is now fronting his own trio and touring his music with musicians Mike Mezzatesta and James Mceleney.
Shane Cook is a three-time Canadian Open National fiddle champion and is the only foreigner to win the US Grand National Fiddle Championship. Shane has distinguished himself as a leading exponent of the Canadian old-time fiddle tradition and enjoys playing an array of fiddle styles ranging from Irish and Scottish to French-Canadian, Texan, and Bluegrass. Shane has six solo recordings and leads his own group. He also performs regularly with several other ensembles and has toured extensively in Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, Germany, China and Taiwan. He is a graduate of UWO and resides in London, Ontario. www.shanecook.com
Denis Rondeau is a free-lance bassist who works around the province of Ontario in many genres. He is currently involved with the Brantford Symphony, Symphony on the Bay, the New Burlington Millennium Orchestra, the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera, Grass Tax (bluegrass), Gilpin Singers, and a variety of jazz and blues ensembles. He also leads his own jazz ensemble under the title “Just Friends”.
From 1995-2015 Denis Rondeau played in the house band with drummer Mike Fitzpatrick at Poor Folks Deli and the Liquid Lounge where he played with Jack de Keyzer, David Rotundo, Lance Anderson, Danny Brooks, Chuck Jackson, Johnny Max and many more. While playing in the R&B band Midnite Hour from 1990-2000 he had the chance to back up pop musicians including Peter Noonan and Pete Best.
Denis has a passion for teaching as well. He taught music at the W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind for 33 years. In 2008 he won the Cheryl Barry Award for Leadership in teaching at the Provincial level.