Mod May Promotions

The Gruff ~

May 20th, 2000 . by Mod May

The Gruff ~
The Gruff filter folk traditions through the sieve of modern experience to create a truly unique sound, aptly described as a ‘coastal country’ style. From old-time folk and country to bluegrass to classic rock ‘n roll, these young songwriters sing with astounding energy and passion. They are known for their beautiful harmonies, touching and whimsical lyrics, and entertaining stage presence which displays their obvious delight in performance. Every song has a story behind it, be it love, heartache, travel, or hard work, and the show is interspersed with traditional tunes picked up over their various journeys. The Gruff’s genuine chemistry is apparent and engaging.
Phaedra Kemp accompanies her edgy vocals on the standing snare drum and bass drum and plays a melancholy harmonica as well. Jenny Ritter hammers her guitar like John Henry himself, and sings with all her heart. On the double bass is Terri Upton; the big bull fiddle may rival her in size, but she is in charge of the behemoth, keeping the reliable beat and groove steady. The women’s three-part harmonies are rich and sweet, but The Gruff’s instrumental prowess is quite apparent as well. The three women are often joined on stage by well known fiddler and banjo player Adam Iredale-Gray, who shreds solos and adds lovely textures to an already complex sound. The Gruff have also allotted their 25% boy ratio to fantastic Canadian players Adrian Dolan (fiddle), Adam Dobres (Electric Guitar), Tim Tweedale (Weissenborn) and Christopher Herbst (Dobro/lap slide), many of which also played on their recent critically acclaimed album, A Trail of Missing Thoughts. The Gruff have also amazed audiences at the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Ottawa Folk Festival, Hillside Festival in Guelph, Victoria’s (now defunct) Rootsfest and Ness Creek Music Festival in Big River, SK.

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