And Another Thing
Award-winning roots guitarist Joël Fafard capped off a banner year earning nominations for "Instrumental Album of the Year" at the Junos, Canadian Folk Music Awards and the Western Canadian Music Awards for his sophomore instrumental CD, ...and another thing... Winning the WCMA. Joël Fafard is that rare breed of instrumentalist: the kind who's appeal reaches far beyond the realm of serious guitar enthusiasts. The gifted slide fingerstyle player writes stirring, melodic compositions that paint pictures as vivid as any song with words. He introduces them on-stage with hilarious commentary delivered in a 'hillbilly farm-boy' stage persona that quickly wins his audience over. And when he sinks his chops into a number like 'Face Down in the Rhubarb,' well, let's just say the serious guitar enthusiasts aren't disappointed either. Meanwhile, Fafard's music was featured in the TV shows Alice I Think and Road Trip Nation, and Fafard co-scored the Middle of Somewhere TV series with Jason Plumb. Many of Fafard's tunes have cryptic titles that figure heavily into his live show. Not content to simply show off his wizardry, Fafard proves himself the consummate entertainer, setting up the pieces with short stories that indicate the source of the title. 'It's not that men aren't romantic,' mutters Fafard, playing something of a redneck caricature of himself, 'it's just that we are romantic about all the wrong things. ...like hockey...pick up trucks...and barbeque.' A few songs later, he intros 'Mesquite Morning' by concluding that, seeing as he's such a romantic guy, it stands to reason that he'd write a love song to 'a big hunk of red meat.' Joël Fafard grew up in Pense, Saskatchewan in an artistic but not musical family. He picked up the guitar at 15 and took a few lessons from celebrated prairie musician, Jack Semple. He went on to study for two years at the well-respected Capilano College music program in North Vancouver, but ultimately left over 'artistic differences.' He is mostly self-taught and counts Bruce Cockburn as the biggest inspiration behind his current style. The number of successful Canadian roots instrumentalists can probably be counted on one hand, but Joël Fafard is living proof of the old saying that if you do what you love, success will follow.