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- Professional Musician
- Vocal, Guitar, Harmonica, Fiddle
- 30 Years Stage Experience
- Award Winning Recording Artist
- Record Producer
- International Touring Artist
- Horseback Rider Since Age 5
- Class 1 License with Air Brake Certification
- Class 6 License Motorcycle
- Licensed Diesel Mechanic
- Recording Engineer
- Handled Guns since age 14
- Fly Fisherman
- Visual Artist
- Musical Collaborator
- Social Activist
- Guitar Teacher
- 1988 Dodge Van
- 1968 Lincoln Continental
- 1969 Gibson Hummingbird
- 1981 Martin D28
- 2001 Fender Stratocaster
- Violin of unknown origin
- various percussion instruments
- the love of many beautiful friends, both old and new
Bill Bourne and Cassius Khan - photo source Second Storey Records
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Here we have a very personal, gritty blues crossing the border from Canada. Upon first encounter with Bill Bourne, Juno Awards winner and seven time nominee, you might think Tom Waits, then as his particular blend of ravaged poetry, Cajun and Celtic traditional entwines both heart and imagination, you'll hear Bourne for what he truly is: his own man.
There's a resurgent spirit journeying the bits and bytes of Voodoo King. On his eighth disc, Bourne's fringe romantics - or as he atmospherically rhapsodizes "those bound for glory or bound to disappear" - make their way through this world anyway they can. Throughout, Bourne infuses this journey with an imaginative and intuitive blend of world roots music and an anthemic spirituality.
Bourne's taken many a long road less traveled from his affiliation with Scotland's acclaimed Tannahill Weavers nearly two decades ago. On mesmerizing tracks like the gutsy Portland, the African high-life inspired Holy Holy, the title track, and the emotional, scat-charged closer Grace, you'll be grateful for every mile he's crossed.
* Hilfiger Heaven (Intro)
* Hilfiger Heaven
* Holy Holy
* Voodoo King
* The Ballad of Moses Jane
* Which Way
* Whadiddy Do?
* Freeway Babe
* Burnin' Candles
* Little Flowers
Produced by Bill Bourne & Lester Lester Quitzau
Second Storey Records
502 Oak St.
Springbrook, AB T4S 1V2 Canada
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Michael Jurkovic
Metronome Magazine - Bill Bourne - Voodoo King
Canadian roots rocker Bill Bourne has the voice of a soul that's lived life at its toughest and survived to tell about it. With the same bent as Tom Waits under the influence of a strong bourbon, Bill Bourne's delivery is as much performance art as it is musical. His vocals are expressive and resonant as he accompanies himself with sparse, raw, in-your-face acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric slide guitar, walking bass and percussive drumming.
Bourne is seemingly comfortable with any genre he attacks. Whether it be gutbucket blues like 'Hilfiger Heaven' or 'Which Way?', the African rhythms of 'Holy Holy', the storytelling of 'The Ballad of Moses Jane', the Celtic strut of 'Whadiddydo', or the Cat Stevens infected 'Burning Candles', Bourne wraps it up tight and sells it in convincing style.
He's a veteran storyteller and his new album Voodoo King is proof positive that he's got some tales he'd like to share in his own inimitable way.
- Douglas Sloan
Acoustic Guitar Magazine - Bill Bourne - Voodoo King
Veteran Canadian folk artist Bill Bourne has the whiskey soaked, smoke cured voice of a barroom poet who has been around the block more times than he can remember. He opens Voodoo King with a loping, spoken-word introduction to 'Hilfiger Heaven', then his lonesome strummed acoustic guitar is joined by a plaintive saxophone before he begins to sing, 'Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, where's the water all gone down'. This powerful CD's 11 masterful songs are full of broken hearts and reflective regrets balanced by a streetwise philosophy of acceptance. 'Portland', for example, reminds one of Tom Waits crying over a warm beer. Bourne's backing crew includes vocalists and instrumentalists on electric and slide guitars, cello, saxophones, percussion and bass, adding to the bittersweet moods that draw you back again and again. (Second Storey, secondstorey.com)
- Gary Joyner
Dirty Linen - Bill Bourne - Voodoo King (Second Storey SSR #2002)
Bill Bourne, who is practically a household name in Western Canada, has had a long and varied career. Most of his albums with piper Alan MacLeod, with fiddler Shannon Johnson, and as part of the Tri-Continental blues trio are well worth checking out. He is known for having a very distinct and soulful voice and for being a deft guitarist. Just as importantly, he's also an intelligent songwriter, one who imbues his songs with a sense of rhythm that draws from blues, swing, and Celtic. 'Holy Holy', which features the Be Good Tanyas on harmony, is given an African Highlife beat. 'Portland' could almost pass for a Tom Waits track. 'The Ballad of Moses Jane' is a powerful song. 'Grace', the last track, mixes aboriginal chanting with scat jazz to dazzling effect. Bill Bourne can generally be depended upon to make compelling music, and Voodoo King is no exception.
2005 - the year begins with the creation of a new song, 'Higher Ground', in collaboration with Gary Koliger, Edmonton studio
champ. 'Higher Ground' is about the Tsunami disaster in southeast Asia. On February 4, it is performed in Edmonton's
Winspear Centre for Music as part of the Tsunami Children's Concert. Bill sings lead & plays guitar along with
flautist/vocalist Aysha Wills,
a ten year old native of Hong Kong, who convinced 56 symphony players and an 88 piece choir to join them. The result
is a concert that raises more than $650,000.00 to benefit Tsunami child victims.
Bill and Eivør Palsdottir meet up in Montreal in February, then head west for some very special concerts. Word about Eivør & Bill travels like lightning through the music community. Summer sees the pair performing at major festivals together, in Canada and in Europe.
Bill is asked to perform for HM Queen Elizabeth II.
bill bourne - photo by Anne Gillespie
2004 - a deep musical connection with Faroese soprano, Eivor Palsdottir
(Faroe Isl.) is a surprise development of the May Icelandic excursion. In September, Bill
produces Eivor's new CD, 'eivor'. He plays lead guitar and sings harmonies and some lead. The album features 2 of Bill's songs;
'Only a Friend of Mine' and 'Where Are the Angels?'. The CD is released in Scandinavia on November 23, and
almost immediately is nominated 'Best Pop Album of 2004' in Iceland, alongside Bjork and others.
Production of legendary Manitoba song-writer Dan Frechette's debut LP, Lucky Day, receives positive previews.
Feb and March see the seeds of a new band with Dublin born, award winning film composer Paul Carroll on drums and percussion, and Ghanian Highlife & smooth jazz guitar master, Pa Joe. Tours Europe in April with Tri-Continental and the group records a new 'live' CD, 'Drifting', featuring Madras native Ramesh Shotham on percussion.
Bravo Television airs the video of 'Portland' from the Voodoo King CD on November 24. Film work interest increases.
2003 - Voodoo King, released in Canada in August/02, is nominated for a Juno Award. It is Bill's eighth Juno nomination. Voodoo King is released in U.S. and U.K. in the spring of 2003. Highlight of Voodoo King International Tour is California teacher Tracy Rauschcolb delegating her students to do essays on Bill's songs and attend his concert at The Palms Playhouse in Winters California, for credits in their English course. Tri-Continental releases their 3rd recording, 'Let's Play', done in-studio in Bremen, Germany, with Indian percussionist Ramesh Shotham.
2002 - January - Tri-Continental 'Live', recorded live in Bremen, Germany, is released in Canada. February, Bourne & MacLeod - Bootleg, a collection of various B & M recordings & demos, is released in Canada. Bourne & MacLeod tour western Canada and plan a new recording. Tri-Continental tours Europe for July & August, covering many festivals from northern Germany through Italy & Spain. Bill's new solo recording, Voodoo King, is released in August and receives critical acclaim.
2001 - Tri-Continental receives Juno Award for best roots recording in Canada. Bill straddles Tri-Continental tours with solo tours throughout the year.
2000 - early January Bill begins recording his next solo CD, Voodoo King. Starts touring in late January in L.A. & then crosses the Pacific to perform at The Port Fairy Festival in Australia. Bill Bourne, Lester Quitzau & Madagascar Slim release Tri-Continental to critical acclaim. Touring increases as Bill crosses Canada and the U.S. with his friends, The Be Good Tanyas, from Vancouver, B.C. Tri-Continental makes initial foray into the European market by performing at Switzerland's prestigious In Guitar Festival in August. A second club tour of Germany follows in the fall.
1999 - Sally's Dream receives a Juno nomination for best roots recording. Bill tours from L.A. to New York to support Sally's Dream. Catches the Voodoo vibe on the west coast. Does a few gigs in the west with Lester Quitzau & Madagascar Slim, an idea put forward by their booking agent, Hugo Rampen. In November they go into the studio and record an album called Tri-Continental.
1998 - Records acoustic solo CD Sally's Dream with Nashville engineer, Miles Wilkinson & producer Rick Fenton. Tours from New York to L.A. in his '68 Lincoln Continental. Historic Yukon River 5 day flotilla in conjunction with the Dawson City Music Fest the highlight of his busy '98 festival tour.
1997 - Victory Train receives a Juno nomination. Releases solo disc, Bill Bourne - Farmer, Philanthropist & Musician, a 75% reissue compilation. Releases acoustic traditional blues CD No Special Rider with Vancouver's Hans Stamer & Andreas Schuld. No Special Rider receives a Juno nomination for best blues CD in November.
1996 - Bill Bourne & Shannon Johnson release Victory Train to critical acclaim.
1994 - releases Dear Madonna with fiddler Shannon Johnson of Edmonton.
1992 - records Bourne & MacLeod's second album, Moonlight Dancers. Macleod contributes some pipe melodies and Bill writes the songs and sings. Stan Rogers bass player, Jim Morison provides the bottom end with MacLeod's younger brother Todd on drums - as well as numerous guests. Moonlight Dancers is nominated for a Juno Award.
1991 - Dance & Celebrate receives a Juno Award for best roots recording.
1988 - imports ex Tannahill Weavers piper, Alan MacLeod, forms Bourne & MacLeod and records Dance & Celebrate CD, a collection of Bill's songs, accented by MacLeod's stellar pipes.
1981/85 - joins Scottish traditional superband The Tannahill Weavers and tours North America & Europe playing bouzouki, fiddle and bass pedals. Records Tannahill album 'Passage'.
1980 - records solo album with Radio Canada International with jazz masters Tom Dorin & George Koller.
1978 - forms old time band Sweetgrass with second cousin Jim Morison (later as Stan Rogers bass player) and mandolin/guitar master Dave Richards, and plays to standing-room-only taverns around the Alberta bar circuit.
1975 - begins professional music career as a renegade solo lounge singer. Fired several times for not using a drum machine and playing top 40 music.
1970 - quits school and runs away from home to the big city to become a famous musician. Sees Woodstock movie and takes acid at Strawberry Fields. 'Nuff said.
1968 - hears Oscar Brands' TV show 'Let's Sing Out!' and finds his calling. Learn guitar on Mom's Lone Ranger.
1965 - learns Stranger on the Shore by Acker Bilk on his unlcle's borrowed clarinet. Takes lesson for one winter. Clarinet proves too uncool for Stones & Dylan stuff - drops out.
1954/60 - soaks up old time, gospel, blues and celtic music as performed by his parents band at house parties and dances. Favourite sleeping place - behind the piano.
1959 - being the great grandson of reknowned Icelandic poet Stefan G. Stefansson, the young Bill has his photo taken with the President of Iceland and his wife at his pioneer ancestor's farm near Markerville, Alberta.
1954 - born William Sigurd Bourne, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.
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The traditional image of a spiritual seeker does not usually conjure top hat, boots, shades and a '68 Lincoln Continental, let alone a Gibson flat-top to go with, but like any living tradition, it's open to change.
Born into a musical family with deep poetic roots*, Bill Bourne is a gifted and creative musician. An activist for social justice and an 8 time Juno Award nominee and winner, this one man tour de force has been critically acclaimed across the western hemisphere for his recordings and live performances. Voodoo King, his most recent recording, was dubbed "...as much performance art as it is musical. Stellar." by the respected Doug Sloan of Metronome Magazine. Gary Joyner of the San Diego based magazine Acoustic Guitar adds - "This powerful CD's 11 masterful songs are full of broken hearts and reflective regrets balanced by a street wise philosophy of acceptance." Phrases such as 'an intelligent songwriter'; 'exquisite'; 'raw'; 'inimitable'; 'eerily beautiful'; 'significant and compelling performances'; 'a true mystic'; are used to describe Bill Bourne's music.
Long highway miles between moments of communion and magic have given his music and his vision a kind of breadth and depth that is rare.
The road, both paved and metaphysical, runs through all his music. He has seen more of this country and several others than most of us ever will. You can hear it in his music, steeped in Cajun, Celtic, World Beat, Flamenco, funk - and a lot of blues.
There is also a perspective that is not the world-weariness one could reasonably expect, but rather a deep connection with both a river of song and an energy that is distinctly spiritual. It is a generous, sensual kind of spirit, in the way his fingers stroke the strings on that flat-top, the intimate tremor in his voice and the way the music itself dances.
Small town Alberta might also go some distance to explaining Bill's comfort with space; with the kind of wide shot perspective in both his music and his words. He grew up in a farming family and learned the value of hard work early on.
Bill has been an important part of roots music for a long time. He was a member of Scotland's Tannahill Weavers for several years, with world renowned piper Alan MacLeod for a time, then with fiddler Shannon Johnson, blues greats Hans Staymer & Andreas Schuld, and most recently with Tri-Continental. His work with Madagascar Slim and Lester Quitzau (Tri-Continental) has been very well received on both sides of the Atlantic. Bill's current collaboration with Eivør Palsdottir of the Faroe Islands is a deep, and powerful musical union that is undeniable in it's shine and relevance. There are 12 recordings of this musical journey and an armful of awards and nominations.
*Deep poetic roots include Bill's great grandfather, Icelandic poet Stephan G. Stephansson.
- file - Free Radio Music Inc.
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In Bill's own words: "From my perspective, people everywhere are an unstoppable energy, exerting and expanding a natural state of goodwill. This energy of goodwill gently eradicates the existence of fear and leads us into harmony (harmony - New Miriam-Webster Dict. 1 : musical agreement of sounds; esp : the combination of tones into chords and progressions of chords. 2 : a pleasing arrangement of parts; also : ACCORD 3 : internal calm). A community in harmony is creative and healthy and a good place to live and a great place to celebrate.
In all people - we see the harmony of billions; beautiful heroes; gentle, truth loving people who want their children to know sustainable justice, to know the power of their own gift of creativity. No matter where I am, I love the people I meet They are all precious and vital; believably amazing. Always. I hope I never ever miss a gig. The music people bring into the gigs in their presence, in their energy, is beautiful and exhilarating. Thank you beautiful people for your creative energy, for your harmonic presence, for your dance..."