News as of May 2015

Well, The Wee Folk Club that Alex founded with folk legend Enoch Kent is now in hiatus until we find a suitable new venue.

Alex is currently sitting on the board of Folk Music Ontario, returning to a place where he spent a few years as Treasurer and hand behind the curtain of the Songs From the Heart contest. He also sits on the board of the Artscan Circle organization - a marvelous project started by Mike Stevens to bring artists to remote First Nations communities in Labrador and Northern Ontario.

Alex got a commission awhile back to write a song for the website Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History - it's an intriguing way to examine a number of events in Canadian history. Alex' song was for the launch of the Tom Thompson site.

And Tamarack's song Aultsville, about the Lost Villages of the St. Lawrence Seaway, was used (at least the lyrics were used) in a theatre production at Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg. Alex' old Ottawa hit - Nepean, Nepean - is being used on the Nepean Museum website. And the lovely and talented Laura Smith is back touring after a long absence. Her new CD - Everything Is Moving, on Borealis Records, includes a great rendition of Tamarack's Magdalen McGillvery.

And a quirky song called Charles Conrad on the SS Badger that Tamarack wrote in honour of the man who kept the Great Lakes last steam ferry running on Lake Michigan might make its way into a film that is currently being made about the ship. Lee Murdock - a fine singer from Illinois - sang the song on his CD The Lost Lake Sailors, and will do the honours for the film version as well.

Some time ago I was contacted by Karolyn Smardz Frost. She won a Governor-General's award for her book I've Got A Home in Glory Land: The True Story of Two Runaway Slaves Whose Flight to Freedom Changed History. It's a marvellous book - painstakingly researched and very well written. If you're interested in the Underground Railroad, early Toronto history, or just like good books, you should pick up a copy of this one.

A few years ago SGB Productions released Coastline of Our Dreams, a tribute to the songwriting of Ian Tamblyn. Many of you will have noted Tamarack's love of Ian's music - we've recorded Days of Sun and Wind, Campfire Light, and North Vancouver Island Song, and we perform Wind Through the Tuckamore at concerts. Coastline of Our Dreams does not feature Tamarack in any way, but it does have the following line-up of stellar artists and wonderful songs:

Hart Rouge - Bay of Sails
Rodney Brown - Black Spruce
Lynn Miles - One Horse Town
Aengus Finnan - Ballad of Mark Jarareuse
Sugar Sticks - Boy on an Island
Gwen Swick - Days of Sun and Wind
Betty & the Bobs - Take Me Home
Susan Crowe - Angel's Share
Valdy - Long Lost French Café
Brent Titcomb - Dangerous Doorway
Fred Guignion - Chasing the Sun
Fig For A Kiss - Heart of the Run
Sneezy Waters - Moose Tracks
Ken Hamm - A Guitar Man Is a Lot Like a Truck Driving Man
Rita Chiarelli - Hollywood Parade
Ken Whiteley - 25th Hour of Day
Georgette Fry - Boxes

The CD is in our hands, and we're accepting orders. $12.00 will get it to you - all taxes and postage and handling included. The simplest thing to do is e--mail us at - we take cheques and Mastercard.




Seventeen artists including folk legend Valdy, Juno Award winner Lynn Miles, and gospel guru Ken Whiteley, sing their praises and the songs of Canadian songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ian Tamblyn on a new and loving tribute album. Inspired by five friends who set out to celebrate the creative work of a friend, colleague and mentor, "Coastline of Our Dreams" is more than a collection of songs, it is an inspired and affectionate reflection of the quiet but potent legacy of one man's journey as a song-smith, artist, and adventurer.


Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Ian attended Trent University in Peterborough before moving to Ottawa in the early 70's. Co-founder of North Track Records, he was one of the first Canadian songwriters to release an independent recording, and later helped establish Ottawa's Acoustic Waves concert series and the Writer's Bloc songwriting collective. An accomplished lyricist, vocalist and instrumentalist (as well as playwright, environmentalist, explorer, producer, and expedition guide) Ian has 21 albums to his credit including natural sound and instrumental recordings. His most recent, and perhaps most ambitious project, is entitled "Machine Works", and marries industrial sound samples with original musical compositions.


Winner of a Juno, the Jackie Washington Award, the Ottawa Council for the Arts' Victor Tolgesy Award, The Helen Verger Award, and the prestigious Estelle Klein Award from the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, Ian is also the recipient of a Japanese Folk Award and an Honorary Doctorate from Lakehead University, and has received nominations for an additional Juno, a Dora, and a Jessie Award.


When not on stage or in the studio Ian regularly leads adventure travel and scientific expeditions, with trips that range from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Inspiration from these voyages often find their way into song, soundtracks, stage productions, and multi media presentations.


At a time when most record companies and commercial DJ's are striving for maximum sales and listener-ship based on mass appeal and familiarity, 17 artists have come together to truly reflect, explore, and present the work of a maverick, and unsung Canadian artistFunded entirely by the friends, fans, and artists who conceived the project, "Coastline of Our Dreams" provides a dynamic and diverse view of Ian's catalogue of work, spanning over 35 years and 20 albums. Each track is a brave and revealing rendition of his work, presenting intimate interpretations of small town ballads, classic travelling tunes, instrumental musings, affairs of the heart, and high arctic dreamscapes.


All royalty proceeds from this project are being donated to the David Suzuki Foundation ( at the request of Ian Tamblyn. To purchase this CD use SGB Production's Order Form, or E-Mail:


Label: SGB Productions / 123 Walpole Ave. / Toronto ON M4L 2J4

Phone: 416-405-8768 /

Distributed by: Festival Distribution Ltd.


Tamarack has published the definitive songbook of its long and illustrious career, Some 89 songs - almost all of the original songs that we have recorded so far - along with some memoribilia and anecdotes. It's big, it's fat, it's heavy, and it costs more, but it's worth it.

We have also decided to move up one small step in our technology. We're putting our two videos (On the Rideau and The Grand, Story of a River) onto one DVD and getting rid of the VHS tapes. You can have the DVD (one disk, two shows) for $20.

Just Like Blood. Written by Ottawa author Jamie MacKinnon, and illustrated with linocut prints by his daughter Genevieve MacKinnon, Just Like Blood brings a marvellous new voice to the world of Canadian literature. Ask for it at your favourite independent bookstore, or order it direct by e-mail from Take a quick preview of it here.

As with all of our products, we'll sell it to you for $17, but we'd rather you support your local independent bookstore. Ask them to order it for you.

Although Tamarack has not recorded anything recently, Alex Sinclair has recently released Flights of Fancy, a CD of songs about the Welland Canal. The songs were mostly composed to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Canal, which occured in 2004. You can order it by e-mailing us and asking for it; like all of our products, the CD costs $17 Cdn including taxes and shipping.

Click here to check out Flights of Fancy, Songs of the Welland Canal.

Clearcutting in the Tamarack Forest

We are now officially out of Frobisher Bay CDs, T-shirts, Muskoka CDs, 15th Anniversary CDs, and all of our cassettes are gone. However, Folk Era Records in Naperville IL. USA has just acquired a duplicator which will allow them to manufacture short runs of CDs. They will now re-introduce Frobisher Bay to their catalogue, so if you want one, give them a call or e-mail them:

Folk Era Records
705 S. Washington St.
Naperville IL USA 60540-6654

(630)637-2303 fax: (630)416-7213


Re-Planting in the Tamarack Forest

We have now placed a couple of re-release packages on the order page. They cost $17 just like all our other CDs, even though they come with minimal packaging. We've combed through our pile of out-of-print albums and salvaged a collection of traditional songs and tunes that we're calling Au Canada:
1. Long Green Chain - traditional - B.C.; featuring James Gordon, Jeff Bird, Alex Sinclair
2. Un Beau Matin - traditional - Quebec; featuring James, Jeff, Randy Sutherland
3. Bold General Wolfe - traditional - UK; featuring James, Jeff, Randy
4. Ferryland Sealer - traditional - Newfoundland; featuring James, Jeff, Randy
5. Davey Lousdon - traditional - New Zealand; featuring James, Jeff, Alex
6. Lord Franklin - traditional - UK; featuring James, Jeff, Alex
7. The Old Ragadoo - traditional - Newfoundland; featuring James, Jeff, Rand
8. Le Sergent - traditional - Quebec; featuring James, Alex, Molly Kurvink
9. Peter Emberley - traditional - Prince Edward Island; featuring James, Jeff, Randy
10. Hangin' in the Barn - traditional - Alberta; featuring James, Alex, Gwen Swick
11. Sunset - traditional - Alberta; featuring James, Alex, Gwen
12. Far From Home - traditional - B.C.; featuring James, Alex, Gwen
13. Julia Delaney/The Bold Deserter - traditional - UK; featuring James, Jeff, Alex
14. Les Raftsmen - traditional - Quebec; featuring James, Jeff, Alex
15. Tarbolton Reel/The Backwoodsman -traditional - Ontario; featuring James, Jeff, Rand

A second collection, this one of songs about Eastern Ontario and the Rideau Canal, is called Between the Rideau and the St. Lawrence:
1. Loyal She Remains - (Sinclair) - featuring James Gordon, Alex Sinclair, Gwen Swick
2. Shantyman's Life - (traditional)- Ottawa Valley; featuring James, Jeff Bird, Alex
3. Excavating on the Rideau -(Sinclair) - featuring James, Alex, Jeff
4. Swamp Fever - (Gordon) - featuring James, Alex, Jeff
5. Black Rapids Girl -(Gordon) - featuring James, Alex, Jeff
6. The Kitty Friel - (Sinclair) - featuring James, Alex, Jeff
7. Billy Boy - (Sinclair) - featuring James, Alex , Jeff
8. Bait, Bass, and Beer -(Sinclair/Gordon) - featuring James, Alex, Jeff
9. Battle of the Windmill - (traditional - Ontario); featuring James, Jeff, Randy Sutherland
10. The Banks of the Nile - (traditional - Ontario); featuring James, Jeff, Alex
11. Les Raftsmen - (traditional - Ottawa Valley); featuring James, Jeff, Alex
12. The Hangman's Eyes - (Sinclair) - featuring James, Alex, Gwen Swick
13. Aultsville - (Sinclair) - featuring James, Alex, Gwen
14. Saturday Night Up the Gatineau - (Mac Beatty - Ontario); featuring James, Jeff, Randy
15. Lake of the Caogama - (traditional - Ottawa Valley) featuring ; James, Jeff, Alex

Other news

Here's a review of the Tree CD from the Orillia Folk Society

A Tamarack is a Tree (Tree is a Tamarack CD)

For nearly a quarter century, Tamarack have crisscrossed the continent telling Canadians our own stories with a unique blend of traditional and original songs, tight harmonies, and masterful musicianship. Tamarack originals such as Frobisher Bay and Maple Syrup have quietly snuck into the canon of classic Canadian folk songs.

Tamarack's most recent CD ... is a collection of songs about Trees prepared in conjunction with Tree Canada, a charity dedicated to planting trees in urban areas, and caring for the forests within our communities.

The lineup for this album was Alex Sinclair on guitar and vocals, Molly Kurvink on vocals and bass, and Shelley Coopersmith on violin, mandolin, mandola, and vocals. As usual with a Tamarack album, the musicianship is superb with guest appearances by Tamarack founders, James Gordon and Jeff Bird, as well as other Canadian Folk notables such as Steve Briggs, Steve Fruitman and Terry Tufts.

The CD is a collection of original, traditional and cover songs which explore the theme of humanity's relationship to trees - - past present and future. I've long been an admirer of Alex Sinclair's songwriting and he is at his best here. The album opens with an upbeat folk-rock tune, Plant a Tree. Molly Kurvink takes the lead vocals in Made From Trees, a catalogue of all the things we use day-to-day which are made from trees. City Trees laments the hard and short life of city trees. It exclaims, "City trees get old before their time." Alex shows off his humorous side in Keep the Brown Side Down, which answers the question, "How do you plant a tree?"

My Grade Two students' favourite classroom song last year was Maple Syrup. This album contains version of the song in both official languages. Both arrangements are arranged in a traditional folk style, the English version as an English folk song, and en francais in the French Canadian style. Tamarack has a long history of performing and leading workshops at schools (including my own school later this winter) . The album contains the students of Gooderham Elementary School singing The Gooderham Loggers, a collaboration with Tamarack during a songwriting workshop at their school.

The traditional songs on the Tree CD include, The Firewood Song, and The Ash Grove. To round out the album, they have chosen several tunes from respected Canadian singer-songwriters, Ian Tamblyn, and Don Freed. The final song on the CD, The Trees Came Back, was written by Peter Murphy, a long-time forester and technical advisor to Tree Canada. It recounts the ongoing work and success of Tree Canada sung to the tune of The Cat Came Back, a song near and dear to my heart.

The album succeeds in exploring its theme of mankind's dependence upon trees, and of our responsibility to ensure we replenish this vital resource. Kudos to Tamarack for undertaking such an ambitious project to benefit such a worthy charity as Tree Canada.

Sean McGaughey The Orillia Folk Society 2003

Check out our Calendar page for details. Meanwhile, our old pal James is keeping pretty busy himself. Click here to catch up with James Gordon at his website.

Our CD Spirit and Stone features 12 new nuggets of Canadian routes music. A bit of canoeing, some French (with simultaneous translation), a soupcon of entropy, a reference or two to the War of 1812, an old Temptations favourite, and a bunch of songs inspired by our travels in Scotland and England.

Our newest CD, Tree, features 15 songs about trees and how they contribute to our quality of life. All the proceeds go to further the work of the Tree Canada Foundation, which specializes in the renewal of Canada's urban forest.

Canadian customers wherever they live now pay only $17 including postage. Taxes are also included in the price so you don't have to bother figuring how much the various levels of government are actually getting (we'll do all the figuring for you).

American customers can now pay $15 cheque or money order. That'll cover the postage too. Or send us your Mastercard number and we'll charge you $17 Cdn plus postage.

Customers in the UK can use their Mastercard and let us charge $17 Cdn plus postage, or else send us a cheque or money order for £12 and we'll cover the postage. Boy, this global economy is getting awfully confusing.

We've got a nice little order form sitting on our website so you can order at your convenience.

So if you're starting to wonder what you can put in the car CD player to while away the kilometres - check out the New Album, Catalogue and Mail Order Form.

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