Canada’s pre-eminent Roots, Folk, Country, and Blues label just celebrated its 30th anniversary and marked the festive occasion with a comprehensive retrospective via a 2-CD set---plus a free bonus DVD. Stony Plain under the guiding stewardship of Holger Petersen has provided an enduring record of essential roots music in this period, while also uncovering treasures from earlier years. They’ve released an astounding 300 releases giving them a worldwide footprint and a well-established reputation as one of the premier labels.
It’s been the major launching pad for elite Canadian roots musicians while simultaneously welcoming established international acts to its roster like Duke Robillard, Rosco Gordon, Ronnie Earl, Jimmy Witherspoon, Jay McShann, Sonny Rhodes, and Jeff Healey. All these fine artists are featured on this impressive anniversary collection.
CD #1 contains 21 tracks and sports a theme of "singers, songwriters, and more". The talent practically leaps off the turntable. The Canadian contingent alone is awesome, with such gifted names as Ray Bonneville, Ian Tyson, Corb Lund, Valdy, Gary Fjellgaard, and Amos Garrett. You can even include the illustrious Doug Sahm: He was an honorary Canadian by dint of the several years he spent living in the Great White North as a crucial member of the amazing Formerly Brothers. Other notables on CD#1 include Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Duke Robillard, Jay Geils, Eric Bibb.
CD #2 focuses on Blues, R&B, Swing, and Jazz, with at least 6 bona fide legends being represented: Rosco Gordon, Robert Nighthawk, Jimmy Witherspoon, Long John Baldry, Billy Boy Arnold, and Jay McShann. Many top contemporary blues/roots artists have gravitated to Stony Plain over the years. They obviously like the special care Stony Plain devotes to distributing and publicizing their wide ranging catologue of high-quality releases.
Wonderful artists such as Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Maria Muldaur, and Big Dave McLean have found a foothold with Stony Plain for several years now. Besides the aforementioned, there are tracks by Sonny Rhodes, Ellen McIlwaine, Downchild Blues Band, and Taj Mahal. Let's not forget 3 previously un-issued tracks by Robert Nighthawk, King Biscuit Boy, and Jeff Healey & the Jazz Wizards.
This alone speaks to the tremendous value inherent in this 30th Anniversary special, but when you figure in the bonus DVD with over a dozen various videos and documentaries featuring Spirit Of The West, Gillian Welch, New Guitar Summit (Duke Robillard, Gerry Beaudoin, Jay Geils) among many, many others, it's incumbent to rate "30 Years Of Stony Plain" as possibly the most generous and comprehensive retrospective ever put together by any label under one cover.