Fred Eaglesmith

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Fred Eaglesmith
Eaglesmith 2006.jpg
Fred Eaglesmith at the Roots of Heaven festival at Patronaat in Haarlem, the Netherlands (2006)
Background information
Birth name Frederick John Elgersma
Born (1957-07-09) July 9, 1957 (age 59)
Origin Caistor Centre, Ontario, Canada
Genres Alternative country
Occupation(s) singer/songwriter
Years active 1980–present
Labels A Major Label
Associated acts Willie P. Bennett

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 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, farming and 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 as both the Flying Squirrels and 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 appears in solo performances, 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. Eaglesmith appeared in a 2001 television movie, 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
  • Bruce Aitken- Drums



  • 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"


External links[edit]