He began playing the cello at age 4 and by the time he was 9 he was playing the violin, double bass and doing shows with his family in The McDade Family Band on the washtub bass. By the age of sixteen he was already a veteran of the Canadian folk festival circuit and had performed at such events as The Commonwealth Games opening ceremony (1982), The Toronto CNE (1984) and Expo ’86.
Before turning eighteen Solon had toured Canada with blues legend Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson as well as performed with other blues greats Billy Boy Arnold, Wildchild Butler and Michael Coleman. Solon McDade is a graduate of McGill University’s Jazz Performance program, Grant MacEwan College’s Jazz Program and has participated in the Summer Jazz Workshop at the Banff Center for the Arts.
Throughout his time at school Solon continued to maintain a busy work schedule, which included North American and European tours with Bill Bourne and Shannon Johnson, Maria Dunn, Terry McDade and The Susie Arioli Swing Band. Along with his performing career Solon has been recorded on a number of albums, four of which have been nominated for Juno Awards and 9 for Aria Awards. The McDades' release Bloom won the 2007 Juno Award for best roots/traditional album by a group.
- Susie Arioli Swing Band, Pennies From Heaven featuring Ralph Sutton (Juno Award Nomination)
- Bill Bourne, Farmer, Philanthropist and Musician
- Bourne & Johnson, Victory Train (Juno Award Nomination)
- Maria Dunn, For a Song (Juno Award Nomination)
- Maria Dunn, We Were Good People
- Maria Dunn, From Where I Stand
- Maria Dunn, The Pedler
- Bob Jahrig, Treetops
- Terry McDade, Harpe Danse
- Terry McDade with The McDades, Midwinter
- Terry McDade with The McDades, Noel
- The McDades, Bloom ('07 Juno Award Winner)
- The McDades. For Reel
- Jon McCaslin Quintet, McCallum’s Island
- David Wilkie with The McDades, Cowboy Celtic