about Vince Halfhide

In 1969 guitarist Vince Halfhide began a decade of playing in Heaven's Radio, the legendary Ottawa blues and reggae band fronted by Terry Gillespie.  Over the years he also became a highly valued sideman with artists like Sneezy Waters, Missy Burgess, the Toasted Westerns and the Mighty Popo (recipient of the 2007 Canadian Folk Music Award for "Best Group - World Music"), as well as performing weekly in the All Star Blues Jam house band at Irene's Pub. 

Recently Vince has devoted more time to writing and performing his own songs.  According to fans, his guitar playing remains quite serviceable.  As for lyrics, though a few listeners remain indifferent  others report being surprised by the familiar, lulled by the unexpected and being forced to smile  while having their hearts broken.


According to Mike Regenstreif, writing in 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 favourite song is “Cobalt Miner’s Daughter,” a beautiful love song set in northern Ontario.


Visit the Folk Roots/Folk Branches blog at https://frfb.blogspot.com/
Mike's "Vince Halfhide" review is at https://frfb.blogspot.com/2018/08/vince-halfhide-vince-halfhide.html
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