The music of the late Rick Fielding (1944-2004) spans country, blues, bluegrass, traditional ballads, contemporary folk, and more. Fielding was an accomplished musician who played guitar, banjo, dobro, mandolin, and autoharp, and who truly loved performing, teaching, and talking about music – whether on stage, in a classroom, or over a kitchen table.

Growing up in Montreal in the 1960s, Fielding was influenced by the likes of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Rev. Gary Davis, Pete Seeger, Josh White, and The Weavers. After moving to Toronto in 1969, he quickly established himself as a fixture on the Toronto folk festival and club scene, where he met and worked with musicians like Gordon Lightfoot, Ian and Sylvia, Tom Paxton, Arlene Mantle, and dozens of others. He was a founding member of one Toronto’s first bluegrass groups, the infamous Gangreen Boys, with David Wilcox and Tony Quarrington.

Fielding could pick with the best of them, but he was also known as a sensitive interpreter whose tasteful arrangements let the songs shine through. He was an award-winning songwriter who had his songs sung by the Jura Ceilidh Band, Guy and Candy Carawan, and dozens of other artists. He toured extensively throughout Canada and the U.S. as a solo performer, establishing himself as a favourite on the folk scene. His music had taken him from intimate folk clubs to major festivals across North America where he delighted audiences with his eclectic repertoire, tasteful accompaniment, and expressive singing style. In addition, he was well known on Toronto’s airwaves as the host of the folk show Acoustic Workshop on CIUT Radio 89.5 in Toronto.

In 1995 Fielding recorded Lifeline for the Folk Legacy label in the U.S. The album was widely praised in the press for its excellent songwriting and fine musicianship, and brought him to a wider audience in America. His next album, This One’s The Dreamer, was his first for Borealis Records, and continued to showcase his trademark virtuosity on a wide range of folk music. Fielding’s last album, Acoustic Workshop, was completed just two months before his untimely passing, and features a number of his favourite picking pals, including Tony Trishka, the late Oliver Schroer, Don Reed, Grit Laskin, Chris Coole and Paul Mills. The result is a rich mixture of great folk picking and inspired singing that maintained the high standards all had come to expect from this consummate musician.

Fielding remains greatly missed by all who knew him.

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