about Vince Halfhide
Catch the All Star Blues Jam at Irene's Pub in Ottawa on a Thursday night and you'll hear house band guitarist Vince Halfhide. Many there will know Vince as a long-time fixture on the Ottawa blues and roots scene. Some will be aware of the dozens of artists he's worked with in a number of genres since he started out in 1969, such as the Mighty Popo (recipient of the 2007 "Best Group - World Music" Canadian Folk Music Award for his CD Muhazi, with Vince on board). And a few will know him as an engaging singer-songwriter who draws inspiration from wide-ranging sources.
Now Vince has a new long-awaited CD, produced by Canadian folk/roots legend Ken Whiteley (who also contributes instrumentally). Singer Rebecca Campbell helps out on on three songs, and there are cameo appearances by Rosalyn Dennett (fiddle) and Steve Marriner (harmonica).
Here's a review of the CD from Mike Regenstreif's blog Folk Roots/Folk Branches:
Master guitarist Vince Halfhide is a veteran Ottawa musician. Decades ago, he played with Terry Gillespie in Heaven’s Radio and in more recent years I’ve seen him as an MVP sideman for artists like Sneezy Waters and Missy Burgess. I’ve also seen him on occasion playing solo and quickly came to appreciate that he’s a fine singer-songwriter himself. I’ve long hoped that he’d release a CD that I can enjoy and share on the radio.
With the eponymously named Vince Halfhide, Vince has delivered that CD – a fine collection of 12 well-crafted original songs mostly in folk and acoustic blues veins.
The album open with “Memphis Rounder,” an infectious ragtime blues that hearkens back to the days when legends like Furry Lewis and Gus Cannon were playing for change on Beale Street in Memphis. Other tunes drawing on the blues include “Sonny Boy Said,” a tribute to delta blues legends Sonny Boy Wiliamson and Robert Johnson, and to blues mythology, featuring some hot licks from Vince’s guitar that are matched by Monkeyjunk’s Steve Marriner on harmonica, and “Devil Made Rock & Roll,” a heaven-and-hell tune on which Vince’s guitar and vocals are underpinned by producer Ken Whiteley on the organ and Rebecca Campbell’s haunting harmonies.
One of the most compelling of the folk-styled songs is “Teizo’s Song,” a ballad sung from the perspective of an immigrant who arrived in Canada from Japan in 1910 and worked hard to build a life for himself and his family only to lose his property, rights and freedoms – along with 22,000 other Japanese Canadians placed in internment camps – during the Second World War.
Other highlights include “Sleepy Little Town,” a gentle song that captures the scene in a quiet place far removed from urban life, and “The Junk Man’s Singing,” a character study featuring some nice fiddling by Rosalyn Dennett.
But my very favorite song is “Cobalt Miner’s Daughter,” a beautiful love song set in northern Ontario.
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Mike's "Vince Halfhide" review is at
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