Superb singer, writer and guitarist. www.terrytufts.com
1997 regional winner of Standard Radio’s National Songwriting Competition and one of the three winners of the 1998 Ontario Council of Folk Festival’s Songs From The Heart Awards
Superb singer, writer and guitarist: those are words frequently used to describe Ottawa-based performer Terry Tufts. All of those attributes – and more – are on display in his new album, The Better Fight, which is scheduled for release this fall.
Terry’s songwriting contemporaries refer to him as a musical triple threat. He’s also an avid environmentalist, dedicated dad and loving husband, all elements that colour his striking original material. Terry’s lyrics speak straight from the heart – and from a charged social conscience. His stirring melodies are supported by sophisticated finger-style guitar orchestrations. The result: songs that are often anthemic, and always profoundly affecting.
Born on the shores of Lake Erie the son of a Canadian diplomat, Terry grew up in Denver, Rome, South Africa and Ottawa. He has been playing music since he was nine, starting with the mandolin and later moving on to guitar. He cites influences ranging from Gordon Lightfoot and Red Shea through Keats, Byron and Shelley to Lenny Breau and Tommy Smothers.
Always the brilliant guitarist, Terry spent much of his early career working with other singers. However in the mid-1990s, he released two albums of original material: Walk On and Two Nights Solo. Both were greeted with critical acclaim, and his songwriting was recognized when he was named a winner in Standard Radio’s National Songwriting Competition in 1997. He is also the only two-time winner of the Ontario Council of Folk Festival’s Songs From the Heart competition, taking that honour in 1998 and 2001.
Terry’s latest recording, The Better Fight, reflects his continuing growth as songwriter and musician. In it, he explores the pop, jazz and folk idioms, moving seamlessly through all three in the company of some of the best musicians in Eastern Canada. Apart from the sheer musicality of the new recording, The Better Fight is, as one writer noted “the culmination of Terry Tufts’ career as a gifted and passionate songwriter. Whether he’s tackling the dilemma posed by an unjust war or savouring moments in time, Tufts displays a boxer’s heart wrapped inside a troubadour’s spirit.”
“Call me an American chauvinist, but “country” has always called to mind “Nashville” or “Austin” – not “Ottawa.” Now Walk On from Terry tufts has changed by mind. In a dreamy ramble through 10 originals and covers, Tufts proves that his roots go as deep as those of all the Hanks and Dollys on this side of the U.S./Canadian border. He displays a wry, Nashville-ready wit with lyrics like “You got a habit of bein’ so sweet…the kind of woman any man could wanna meet…hope nobody knows this but me.” Canada’s national treasure Willie P. Bennett wails away on mouth harp and joins Peter von Althen on drums, Ken Kanwisher on bass, and a cast of seemingly thousands to keep the uptempo “Look to Yourself for Heaven” chugging and “Swing Her About” swinging. Every so often, Tufts and company dip into the deeper pool from which all good country music is made, with mediations on death and eternity like the haunting “In the Eleventh Hour” and the homage to his father, Floyd, on “My Father Would Say.” The covers include John Martyn’s “Sweet Little Mystery” and a suitably corny “Deep Purple.”