Fred Eaglesmith

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Fred Eaglesmith
Eaglesmith 2006.jpg
Fred Eaglesmith at the Roots of Heaven festival at Patronaat in Haarlem, Netherlands (2006)
Background information
Birth name Frederick John Elgersma
Born (1957-07-09) July 9, 1957 (age 57)
Origin Caistor Centre, Ontario, Canada
Genres Alternative country
Occupations singer/songwriter
Years active 1980–present
Labels A Major Label
Associated acts Willie P. Bennett
Website www.fredeaglesmith.com

Frederick John Elgersma (born July 9, 1957), known by the stage name Fred Eaglesmith, is a Canadian alternative country singer-songwriter, one of nine children raised by a farming family in rural Southern Ontario.[1] As a teenager Eaglesmith hopped a freight train out to Western Canada, and began writing songs and performing. He is known for writing songs about machines or vehicles, including songs about trains, tractors, trucks, cars, and engines. Rural life, dogs, guns, drinking and farming/ranching are other common themes. Many of his songs are about failing farms and small businesses. Down and out characters dealing with loss of love or livelihood, and quirky rural folk also populate his songs. His songwriting uses many of the techniques of short story writing, including unreliable narrators, surprise endings, and plot twists.

Eaglesmith's bands have been known both as The Flying Squirrels or The Flathead Noodlers, switching the name to represent different styles of music. The Flathead Noodlers play bluegrass, while the Flying Squirrels play more folk and rock. An early incarnation of the band was known as The Smokin' Losers. Since 2012, performances have been billed as The Fred Eaglesmith Travelling Steam Show, and include opening songs performed by Bill Poss, the Ginn Sisters, and Tif Ginn.

A typical Fred Eaglesmith show includes his music set between several lengthy between-song comic monologues by Eaglesmith. Topics in the past have included stories about crossing the U.S./Canada border, Newfoundlanders, and some friends from an Indian reserve. His fans are known as "Fredheads", a nod to deadheads, who followed The Grateful Dead. He is known to tour extensively throughout Canada and the U.S.

When Eaglesmith does solo appearances he bills himself as Fred J. Eaglesmith. In addition to his own albums, he frequently collaborated with the late Willie P. Bennett, a former member of Eaglesmith's band who stepped down after a heart attack in early 2007. He appeared in a 2001 television movie titled The Gift.[2] Eaglesmith publishes his own records.


In 2010, Eaglesmith was featured on the Late Show with David Letterman as the musical guest. He performed "Careless" from the album Cha Cha Cha.

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]

  • Fred J. Eaglesmith - guitars, vocals
  • Matt Simpson - guitar, organ, banjo, vocals
  • Kori Heppner - drums
  • Justine Fischer - stand-up bass
  • Tiffani Ginn - vocals, accordion, guitar, melodica

Former members[edit]

  • Willie P. Bennett - mandolin, harmonica, vocals
  • David Essig - mandolin, guitar
  • Kevin Komatsu - drums
  • Roger Marin Jr. - pedal steel, guitar, vocals
  • Ralph Schipper - bass
  • Jude Waldman - drums
  • Dan Walsh - dobro, guitar, vocals
  • Skip Wamsteeker - drums
  • Washboard Hank - washboard, dobro
  • Darcy Yates - bass
  • Luke Stackhouse - bass, vocals
  • Brit Ginn, vocals, flute
  • Mike Zinger - mandolin

Discography[3][edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Fred Eaglesmith (1980)
  • The Boy That Just Went Wrong (1983)
  • Indiana Road (1987)
  • There Ain't No Easy Road (1992)
  • Things Is Changin' (1993)
  • Paradise Motel (1994)
  • Drive-In Movie (1995)
  • Lipstick, Lies and Gasoline (1997)
  • 50 Odd Dollars (1999)
  • Live: Ralph's Last Show (2001)
  • Falling Stars and Broken Hearts (2002)
  • The Official Bootleg Series, Vol. 1' (2002)
  • Balin (2003)
  • The Official Bootleg Series, Vol. 2' (2004)
  • Dusty (2004)
  • Milly's Cafe (2006)
  • Tinderbox (2008)
  • Cha Cha Cha (2010)
  • 6 Volts (2011)
  • Tambourine (2013)

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1998 "105"[4] Steven Goldmann
1999 "Rodeo Boy"
2007 "Thinkin' 'bout You"[5] Michael Salomon
2010 "I Would" Roger Maunder
2013 "Johnny Cash"

References[edit]

External links[edit]