Grievous Angels

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Grievous Angels
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Alternative country
Years active 1986 (1986)–2004, 2008-present
Associated acts L'Étranger
Members Charlie Angus
Peter Jellard
Tim Hadley
Dave Patterson
Past members Rick Conroy
Michelle Rumball
Peter Duffin
Lynn Simmons
Kirsti MacLeod

Grievous Angels are a Canadian alternative country band, active since 1986. The name Grievous Angels is a reference to the Gram Parsons album Grievous Angel. The band's primary leader is singer-songwriter Charlie Angus, who entered electoral politics in 2004 as the New Democratic Party Member of Parliament for Timmins—James Bay.[1]

The group was originally formed in Toronto, Ontario in 1986 by Angus, vocalist Michelle Rumball and fiddler Peter Jellard after Angus left the punk rock band L'Étranger.[2] They began as a collective of street buskers, and eventually began playing Toronto-area bars, specifically the old Cabana Room of the Spadina Hotel. Tim Hadley and drummer Peter Duffin joined the band in 1987. The band quickly became a popular draw at folk festivals across Canada, and released their debut album, Toute la Gang, in 1989.

They followed up with One Job Town in 1990, garnering national radio airplay for the singles "Gordie and My Old Man" and "Crossing the Causeway". The album was nominated for Best Roots or Traditional Album at the Juno Awards of 1991, and the band was nominated for Best Country Group or Duo at the Juno Awards of 1992.

Around this time, Angus moved to Cobalt. Rumball left the band as well, and Angus took over lead vocals for 1993's Watershed.

They were named one of the hottest up-and-coming bands in Canada by Maclean's in 1994. In 1995, Angus also launched HighGrader, a magazine about Northern Ontario life and culture,[1] and joined CBC Radio One as a correspondent and commentator for its Sudbury station CBCS.

In 1996, Grievous Angels released Waiting for the Cage, a concept album about life in Northern Ontario mining towns which also included an interactive CD-ROM feature. The CD-ROM feature won an award from the New York Expo of Short Film and Video.

In 1999, Angus was presented the Jackie Washington Award, for his contributions to Northern Ontario's cultural life, by Sudbury's Northern Lights Festival Boréal.[3] The band also released 22 Trailer Park that year. has been the recipient of several CIUT Porcupine Awards: New Canadian Songwriter Award 1990, The Mac Beattie Award, 1993, Porcupine Book Awards for We Lived A Life and Then Some, 1997, Order of the Porcupines, 1997. The Grievous Angels were also inducted into the Porcupine Hall of Fame (Bands Section) in 1997.

In the summer of 2000, Duffin retired from the band, and Hadley accepted a gig touring with Stompin' Tom Connors. Duffin was replaced by Dave Patterson. Drummer Al Lamore also joined the band. The band released Hanging Songs in 2003. The band returned to recording in 2011 with a single, "Diamonds in the Snow", recorded with Angus' former L'Étranger bandmate Andrew Cash.

In 2013 the band released the album Great Divide. The song "Four Horses" was influenced by the book Clearing the Plains, and was made into a video with the University of Regina Press. Huffington Post called "Four Horses" a "heartrending song that will change how you see Canada." In 2014 the band played at the Vancouver and Calgary Folk Festivals.


  • 1989: Toute la Gang
  • 1990: One Job Town
  • 1993: Watershed
  • 1996: Waiting for the Cage
  • 1999: 22 Trailer Park
  • 2003: Hanging Songs
  • 2013: Great Divide