the creaking tree string quartet

the creaking tree string quartet

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN

Instrumental music like you've never heard - blending styles into something unique. Based in Toronto, Ontario. Visit


3-time Canadian Folk Music Award Winners
4-time JUNO Award Nominees
International Acoustic Music Award Winners
Indie Acoustic Project Award Winners

"The playing is just superb, these guys are fantastic."
- CBC Radio One

"As tight and polished as it is improvisational and exuberant."
- Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"The Creaking Tree String Quartet are a ridiculously talented Canadian four-piece who take the string band sound that is the root of bluegrass and proceed to shatter one's preconceptions. The Soundtrack, their third album, is a technically brilliant and often stunning collection that sees the quartet bringing jazz, classical and avant garde styles to the table and blending them seamlessly into their own irreverent but extremely listenable style. With mandolin, violin, bass and guitar all able to perform their own little flights of fancy, in the hands of lesser mortals it may easily have ended up as a musical dog's dinner; that it doesn't is testament to the skills and ingenuity of all concerned."
- Rock 'N' Reel (UK)

"There’s a great deal of depth and variety—not to mention dexterity—in the quartet’s organic instrumental music." - Relix Magazine

"Listen to this album at the first snow fall from a warm indoor place by a window, with a hot sweet drink at hand and a sketchbook at the ready. Let the images burble up from the music, and let yourself be carried away."
- The Live Music Report

"It’s a beautiful album full of virtuosity and emotion, a lovely balance for a moment when the only activity is listening." - Umbrella Music

The Creaking Tree String Quartet

String-band music has long been a staple of Americana. While the four members of the Creaking Tree String Quartet pay homage to that tradition, they refuse to be bound by it.

Instead, the technically dazzling outfit uses fingerboards to leap stylistic boundaries and fuse intricate styles. The result is a smartly intellectual and yet deeply moving sound that's a true Canadian original: jazz forms sliding over a rootsy bluegrass base, with flashes of chamber music, reverence and avant-garde experimentation.

It’s the product of four adept and accomplished musicians, dedicated to performing unique and exciting material that raises the bar for instrumental acoustic music.

Mandolinist Andrew Collins, guitarist Brad Keller, bassist Brian Kobayakawa, and violinist John Showman earned a Juno Award nomination for their 2003 debut CD. Their 2005 follow-up “Side Two” won the Pushing The Boundaries trophy at the 2005 Canadian Folk Music Awards, was named Instrumental Album of the Year at the Indie Acoustic Project Awards, and “Old Crow” won Song of the Year at the International Acoustic Music Awards. The band's third album, "The Soundtrack" was produced, recorded and mixed by Grammy Award winner Bil VornDick. It won two awards at The Canadian Folk Music Awards for Pushing The Boundaries and Best Instrumentalists, and was nominated for the 2009 JUNO Award for Instrumental Album of the Year.

The band's fourth album, "Sundogs", is its finest and most ambitious to date. Recently nominated for two 2011 JUNO Awards - for Instrumental Album of the Year and Roots and Traditional Album Of The Year - "Sundogs" features the quartet in expanded instrumentation with guests that include some of Canada's finest on drums, piano and pedal steel.


Ours Truly

Written By: Brian Kobayakawa



The Creaking Tree String Quartet - released March 2003

Side Two - released November 2004

The Soundtrack - released October 2007

Sundogs - released September 2010

Distributed by Festival Distribution

Set List


The Real Rapscallion
Phthalo Blues
Zig Zag
Spare Parts
Sixth Sense
Green In The Face
Scotland Yard
Old Crow
The Road To California
Merlin's Gate
The Ghetto Rag
Twin Maples
Jimmy Ain't So Fancy
The Battle for Alveolar Ridge
Tooth and Tail
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Old Crow
Dynamic Duo
Harvest King
Oliver's Lament
3/4 In the Morning
The Hamlet of Killbuck
John and Edna
A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama
Spider Cat
Lithograph Lizard
Miles of Skye
Get Your Good Dress Alice
Brady Jenkins
Phoenix Fried Pork

The band's repetoire of covers and traditional material is extremely vast, featuring works by Edgar Meyer, Bill Frisell, Bill Evans, Bill Monroe and many others.