Tamarack (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
OriginGuelph, Ontario, Canada
Years active1978–present
MembersAlex Sinclair
Molly Kurvink
Duncan Cameron
Past membersJames Gordon
Jeff Bird
Randy Sutherland
Melanie Doane
Duncan Cameron
Gwen Swick
Shelley Coopersmith

Tamarack is a Canadian folk music group, formed in 1978 by James Gordon, Jeff Bird and Randy Sutherland.[1] Tamarack draws heavily on traditional themes. Their début album Music of Canada consists almost entirely of traditional songs.[2] Later albums included a number of songs penned by band members but maintaining the traditional folk / roots style.

The history and geography of Canada are also popular inspirations. Frobisher Bay and its title track Frozen in Frobisher Bay are named after a bay on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Leaving Inverarden starts with two stories taken from the history of the fur-trading North West Company in Canada;[3] the title track Leaving Invergarden based on the story of John MacDonald, and the track Magdalen McGillivray about his sister who married William McGillivray.

The members of the group have changed over the years. By 1986, Alex Sinclair had replaced Randy Sutherland. Melanie Doane was a member for a time, performing with them on their 1989 video On the Rideau.[4] Andrea Barstad joined the group in 1989.[5] When Fields of Rock and Snow was released in 1991, Jeff Bird had left and Gwen Swick has joined.[2][3] Molly Kurvink joined the group for the Leaving Inverarden album released in 1995. James Gordon is no longer part of the group when Spirit & Stone (2000) is recorded, which features Alex Sinclair, Molly Kurvink and Shelley Coopersmith.[6][7] Shelley Coopersmith left the group in 2002, being replaced by Duncan Cameron[8]

Tamarack has often been invited to perform at Canadian folk festivals. They have frequently played the Hillside Festival (1985, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1999),[9][10] in Guelph, Ontario which is home base for several members of the group. Other festivals where they have been featured include the Winnipeg Folk Festival (1984),[11] Ottawa Folk Festival (1997)[12] and The Shelter Valley Folk Festival (2010).[13] In 1997 they were inaugurated into the Order of the Porcupine Music Hall of Fame[14] by Sugar Camp Music, a radio show produced by the University of Toronto campus radio station CIUT-FM.

A number of Tamarack songs have been covered by other artists. "Mining for Gold", written by James Gordon based on a traditional theme, was on the Cowboy Junkies breakthrough album The Trinity Session.[15] (Early Tamarack member Jeff Bird has done instrumental work on many Cowboy Junkies albums). Folk singer Laura Smith included the Leaving Inverarden song Magdalen McGillivray on her 2012 album Everything is Moving[16]


Year Title Label
1980 Music of Canada SGB Productions[4]
1983 A Pleasant Gale SGB Productions[4]
1984 Ontario: 200 Musical Years[17]
1986 The Tamarack Collection[2] SGB Productions[2]
1989 Shave The Bear[2] SGB Productions[2]
1991 Fields of Rock and Snow[2]
1993 Frobisher Bay[2] Wind River[18]
1993 On The Grand[2] Wind River[2]
1993 On the Prairies[2]
1995 Leaving Inverarden[2] Wind River[2]
1995 The Fifteenth Anniversary Concert (live)[2]
1996 Muskoka's Calling[2]
1997 Thirteen[2] Wind River[2]
1995 Leaving Inverarden[2] Wind River[2]
1998 Blankets of Snow[2] SGB Productions[4]
2000 Spirit & Stone Wind River[2]
2001 Tree[2] SGB Productions[4]


  1. ^ "Tamarack, Music of Canada". jeffbird.com. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Sugar Camp - Tamarack". backtothesugarcamp.com. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Tamarack". northernjourney.com. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Tamarack Folk - Catalog". Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  5. ^ Sinclair, Alex. "SGB Productions".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Tamarack - Spirit and Stone". rediscovermusic.com. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Trees Canada - Tree by Tamarack". Tree Canada Foundation.
  8. ^ "- Band". Tamarack Folk. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Hillside Festival - History". hillsidefestival.ca. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  10. ^ "Hillside Festival - Past Performers". hillsidefestival.ca. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Winnipeg Folk Festival - Past Performers". Winnipeg Folk Festival. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  12. ^ "Ottawa Folk Festival History" (PDF). Ottawa Folk Festival. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  13. ^ "Shelter Valley Folk Festival - 2012". Shelter Valley Folk Festival. Archived from the original on 20 July 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  14. ^ "Order of the Porcupine Music Hall of Fame". Sugar Camp Music. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  15. ^ "Cowboy Junkies - The Trinity Session". discogs.com. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Laura Smith - Everything Is Moving". borealis.com. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  17. ^ "James Gordon - Career Hilights". jamesgordon.ca. Archived from the original on 4 January 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  18. ^ "Folk Era - Tamarack". folkera.com. Retrieved 7 May 2013.

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