Mike Hill, Author of The Mariposa Folk Festival: A History – Mariposa Talks Interview
In this Mariposa Talks Interview, Mike Hill, author of The Mariposa Folk Festival: A History, published by Dundurn Press, regales viewers with interesting anecdotes from what is the definitive book about Mariposa’s storied past. The ‘tell all’ relies on a rich treasure trove of incidents, surprises, ups and downs, and personal recollections of Mariposa Folk Festival. Some interesting nuggets are served-up in this edition of Mariposa Talks.
The idea of forming The Good Family band took root when a pair of musician brothers invited their parents to join them on a musical romp throughout Scotland, England and Wales. At some venues they were described as Canada’s answer to the legendary Carter Family. Since then, the band has blossomed to include even more of this talented lineage.
No strangers to the stage and studio, some members of The Good family hail from two of Canada’s premier acts. Bruce and Larry Good are two-thirds of Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductees and multiple Juno Award recipients The Good Brothers. Travis and Dallas Good are members of Juno and Indie award winning band The Sadies.
Rounding out the family is Margaret Good, wife of Bruce and mother of Travis and Dallas. Margaret is also a veteran performer who appears on several recordings by both The Sadies and The Good Brothers. She also sang on Ronnie Prophets’ “Grand Old Country” which aired on CTV for two seasons, backing such artists as Charlie Pride, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Mel Tillis and Dolly Parton to name just a few.
The Good Family talent pool does not end there, with niece and cousin D’Arcy Good adding yet another dimension with her amazing fiddle and outstanding vocals.
And just when you think it can’t get any better, Sean Dean and Mike Belitsky of The Sadies provide a killer rhythm section.
The Good Family’s debut album consists of country ballads, bluegrass, and folk rock all written and performed by the family. Two of the songs are co-writes with Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo. A guest musician who makes an appearance on the album is their close friend, the late great guitarist Terry Clements of Gordon Lightfoot fame, who recorded his part way back in 1978. How this was achieved is an interesting story in itself. The album was mixed by Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies.
It is said that sibling and family harmonies are unique, and The Good Family drives that point home. They play an eclectic mix of music featuring acoustic and electric guitars along with banjo, autoharp, dobro, fiddle, mandolin and rhythms that will keep you grooving and shouting for more.
Mariposa Young Singer/Songwriter Workshops off to a Strong Start
There are benefits to being one of the oldest and most-respected folk festivals in the world, especially when it comes to giving back. Artists recognize the importance of the Mariposa Folk Foundation, and are often ready and willing to offer support beyond their time spent on the stage. This has proven true with the launch of the Mariposa Young Singer/Songwriter Workshops – an interactive, free opportunity geared towards musicians ages 14-21.
Participants are given insight on the industry from veteran music journalist and Mariposa Board Member, Larry LeBlanc. LeBlanc facilitates the workshops, offering his unique perspective on the music business of which he has been a part for decades. He’s also very persuasive, getting some of Canada’s top musicians to co-facilitate the workshops with him.
In the fall of 2013, Bruce Good of The Good Brothers fame was our inaugural host artist. Good built genuine connections with the participants, offering important advice for the aspiring musicians. He also performed a few tunes himself in a rare private performance. With LeBlanc emphasizing the importance of collaboration, the youth were sent home with some ‘homework’, and the beginnings of a musical peer network were formed.
The second workshop took place on January 14 of this year and, for artistic variety, the host artist was 23-year old Arianna Gillis. Despite her age, Gillis spoke and performed like a veteran that had graced stages all over the world. Having already received numerous awards for singing and songwriting, Gillis was a perfect fit for inspiring and assisting youth in attendance as they continue to work on their craft. Like Good, Gillis performed a number of tunes and discussed her road to success, then the participants had a chance to share the stage with her. On some tunes, Gillis even offered additional guitar and harmonies.
Creative types put tremendous thought and effort into their art. Often, this is a very personal process. The Mariposa Young Singer/Songwriter workshops provide youth with a safe and supportive environment to share their creations – a necessary step of growing as a musician.
Mariposa Folk Foundation plans to continue offering these workshops several times a year, and speculation about who the next big-name artist will be has already begun. Watch for future announcements!