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Index of Artists

Valdy & Gary Fjellgaard

Biography:

“We are the wind from the west

“Blowing through those Rocky Mountains

“We are leaving the nest, warm Pacific islands

“We are holding the western banner high; the wind keeps on blowing

“We come with guitars blazing

“When we are put to the test you might just love what we’re doing

“In every nook and corner of Canada that wind just keeps on blowing

“Making music, making memories, and making friends from sea to shining sea.”

(Gary Fjellgaard, Valdy – Well Written Songs/Kitchen Table Music)

 

 

Contenders Two: Still in the running:
Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard reunite to

make a second CD of truthful songs

 

Check that song at the top of this page. It opened the first collaboration by Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard, a gentle, modest CD called “Contenders,” released by Stony Plain back in the year 2000.

It was a simple CD; the songs stuck to the inside of our mind, and these two veterans know the rules: The songs have to tell the truth, and they have to be about what the writers know.

Now, seven years on, they’ve made another recording, and Stony Plain is every bit as proud to release it. Valdy and Gary call it “Contenders Two” and the record’s sub-title is “Still in the Running.”

And so they are. The voices are strong, the arrangements sparse and economical, and the songs as honest as ever.

 

Like the first record, there’s so much variety here. There are a couple of well-known country-edged songs, John Prine’s “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” and a gentle version of Willie Nelson’s gunfighter ballad hit “Seven Spanish Angels.” There is one of Gary’s story songs (“Billy Miner,” the tale of a gentleman train robber ”as slippery as a fox”), and two of his signature tunes that open and close the CD: “For the Love of It” and “Still in the Running.” Along the way, there’s Valdy’s tale of the hardy Maritimer who pulled the plug on a video lottery terminal, a couple of classic Mickey Newbury tunes and Ian Tamblyn’s “Bay of Sails.” And, as they say, more.

 

What Valdy knows, after 35 years on the road and 15 albums, is that friendliness, decency, warmth and heart — along with real song-craft —teaches you how to write songs that make people smile, laugh, think, dance a little and sometimes shed a tear.

Valdy’s been a significant part of Canada’s folk scene for as long as most people can remember, and a wider audience still remembers him for “Play Me a Rock and Roll Song,” still a staple of classic rock radio.

His true fans — and you can find them all over Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia and New Zealand — know him for his relaxed, easy-going stage shows.

 

And his friend Gary Fjellgaard (you say it Fell-guard) is the same, except he came up through Canada’s country music scene. Raised on the Prairies, he’s a champion — along with Stony Plain label-mate Ian Tyson — of the vanishing West’s frontier spirit, cattle drives, wagon treks and men and women with ties to the land.

Individually, they’ve won Juno Awards and Canadian Country Music Association honours (Gary’s a member of their Hall of Fame), sold hundreds of thousands of records, and they revel in life on the road, meeting new people, and sharing their songs.

And they have much in common. They both make their homes on the Southern Gulf Islands in British Columbia — Valdy on Saltspring, Gary on Gabriola. They are both at ease, armed only with their trusty guitars, in front of audiences, and it doesn’t matter whether there are thousands of listeners, or a couple of dozen, whether they’re onstage at a major festival, or playing in a friend’s living room.  And both of them have long, strong marriages and families and warm welcoming homes to come back to after weeks on the road.

 

In an era where volume and instrumental virtuosity too often count for more than quiet and calm and meaning and thoughtfulness, a CD like this seems strangely out of fashion. And yet the truth is, well, true. And “Contenders Two” is indeed Still in the Running.

 

 

“Rolling along through the dust and the gravel

“Spinning our wheels every road we travel

“If we can still bring tears with the songs that we’re strumming

“Bring a laugh or a smile, it’s worth every mile

“Because we’re still in the running.”

 

“We’re not running for gold

“That’s not what we’re after

“Just to be in a dance sharing these moments

“Every high every low, it’s all in the show

“’Cause we’re still in the running.”

            (Gary Fjellgaard _ Slim Creek Music/Stony Plain Music)

Contenders Two - Still In The Running

Contenders Two - Still In The Running
SPCD 1321
Genre: Folk
Released: 3 April 2007
  1. For The Love Of It (Listen to mp3 clip) (2:48)
  2. River, Stay 'Way From My Door (2:22)
  3. You Only Live Once In A While (2:59)
  4. VLT (2:33)
  5. The Fever (4:11)
  6. Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness (2:53)
  7. Seven Spanish Angels (3:14)
  8. Billy Miner (3:40)
  9. Them Old Songs (2:32)
  10. Bay Of Sails (2:50)
  11. Still In The Running (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:08)

Reviews:

Yorkton This Week
By Calvin Daniels
"They Are Consummate Performers."

Contenders

Contenders
SPCD 1262
Genre: Folk
  1. The Boys Of Rhythm (2:44)
  2. Wind From The West (3:09)
  3. Contenders (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:49)
  4. Wonderland (2:37)
  5. Heartbroken Hero (2:37)
  6. Can't PullThis Train (3:16)
  7. Goodness Knows (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:19)
  8. Islanders (2:43)
  9. An Islander (2:35)
  10. Tried And True (3:09)
  11. King Of The Road (2:07)