DAVID ESSIG was introduced to Canadian audiences in 1971 as a “talented newcomer” at the legendary Mariposa Folk Festival. Now, over 40 years later, he has an international career as one of Canada’s finest interpreters of original, contemporary folk music. Always paying homage to his roots in Bluegrass and Country Blues, David uses these traditions to create timeless new songs.
David has recorded 20 albums of his own music over the course of his career – the most recent is Moon on Rough Bay, released in October, 2012. He has has also worked as the producer on over 60 albums by fellow artists.
David is highly respected as a thoughtful and intelligent songwriter, with Canadian folk standards like “Albert’s Cove” and “High Ground” to his credit. His work moves from pieces as contemporary as today’s news, to songs that sound as if they were rediscovered from old country blues 78’s. These are songs that tell stories that will start you laughing and leave you crying.
Equally renowned as an instrumentalist and traditional performer, David is a master of the blues and slide guitar. Whether on the lap-style Weissenborn or the electric slide guitar, his spontaneous style crosses all the borders between country, blues and the avant-garde. With his 5/8″ socket and a sound that could peel the petunias off your mother’s porcelain, he is considered one of Canada’s finest slide guitarists.
David’s powerful songwriting is the theme of A Stone in My Pocket, the milestone double CD project released in 2004 by WEA in Canada and by IRD in Europe. For this project, David recorded fresh new versions of 30 of the most popular and moving songs from his 35 years of writing. He was joined by renowned musicians Oliver Schroer on violin and Tobin Frank on bass. A Stone in My Pocket has received critical acclaim as a landmark recording in Canadian roots music.
In 2007, a collective of alt-country Winnipeg musicians, led by Romi Mayes, Jaxon Haldane, and the D-Rangers, recorded the acclaimed CD Beverly Street: an album of their new performances of some of the best of David’s original songs. David joined in as co-producer and performer on the CD and also contributed the title song for the project.
In 2008, David teamed up with fellow roots performer Rick Scott to record and release Double Vision, a duo CD of original songs that has garnered enthusiastic praise across Canada. David and Rick have toured together and performed at festivals across Canada, adding bassist Shelley Brown as a third member of the group.
In 2011, David released Rolling Fork to Gallows Point, a landmark CD of Delta Blues that Roots Music Canada has hailed as “a beautiful, rough and tumble blues record — passionately played and lovingly recorded.” (Penguin Eggs) This CD features the magnificent Chris Whiteley on blues harp and steel guitar, along with Tobin Frank (Spirit of the West) on bass and Alan Cameron on drums.
David was back to touring solo in 2011-12. In the Spring of 2011 he toured in Europe, doing festivals and concerts in Italy and Austria, including a headline performance at the prestigious Acoustic Guitar Meeting in Sarzana. In Fall, 2011, David completed his first Home Routes Tour, with concerts in Northern BC and Alberta. In the summer of 2012, David was a featured performer at both the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and Folk on the Rocks in Yellowknife.
In 2012, David moved his recording studio to Sointula, on Malcolm Island, BC and recorded his new CD of original songs, Moon on Rough Bay - a compelling collection of original songs that highlight his work as one of Canada’s finest roots and blues singer/songwriter/guitarists.
David and his wife Milena now divide their time between homes on Protection Island and Sointula.