David Essig
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David Essig


Band Blues Singer/Songwriter




"David Essig's Rolling Fork to Gallows Point"

If you’ve ever pigeonholed David Essig as a tired old folkie, you’d be wrong. In the business for 40 years with 10 recordings (sic) to his credit, the Nanaimo native has blown the soot out of the ol’ smokehouse with this one. Don’t let the gentle beginning fool you as a group spiritual, Waitin’ On You, is delivered a cappella by Essig and players Chris Whiteley, longtime bassist Tobin Frank and drummer Alan Cameron. A recreation of a long-out-of-print ’85 release, Whose Muddy Shoes, Essig has created, with the help of expert, like-minded players, a rough’n’tumble blues record.
The revival-esque If I Had Possession (a harp and slide showcase) joins Candyman, a pure , Steve Goodman-like folk tune with a warm, sit-around-the-house feel. However, Cypress Grove is a slow, slippery ride with gently blazing electric guitars and a dark blues attitude. Casey Jones ups the folk/storyteller ante while If You Got a Good Friend presents a great harp and guitar workout – Essig delivers an exceptional lead guitar solo and a dead-perfect vocals. The laidback, rough edges this album presents supplies its significant charm, from the extra-greasy vibe of Come On In My Kitchen, (with great harp from Whiteley) to the slippery splendor of Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning. Essig’s songwriting prowess is on full display with the intimate Jackie’s Blues, an old-time marriage of piano and electric guitar in loving tribute to a dear friend. Keep ‘em coming, David, and take this show on the road!
- By Eric Thom
- Penguin Eggs - Winter, 2011

"David Essig's Great New CD"

Essig has always been an intense performer – even his love songs go off in unexpected directions. Although he hasn’t mellowed with age, he’s softer around the edges – except when he kicks his celebrated finger-picking and slide work into overdrive. Then it’s pedal to the metal, surrender no ground and take no prisoners. Essig possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of American roots music, spanning bluegrass, old-time country, delta blues and rural gospel. Essig mines these rich traditions, but in terms of lyrical content, it’s protest music that influences him most – whether it’s poverty (Charity Begins at Home), racism (Walk Back Into Town), the arms race (Quiet Money) or sexual harassment (Tampa).

David Essig took a stone out of his pocket, tossed it into an appreciative audience pool and sent out ever-widening circles of superb music.

- The (Kitchener-Waterloo) Record

"David Essig's A Stone in My Pocket CD"

(These are) 30 tracks that encompass David’s 35-year career in the wonderful world of folk music. Was it worth the effort, this musing on his musical life? Definitely! 28 of Essig’s old songs get new, sparse, and tasty treatments…but it’s not all resting on laurels and looking back. Two new songs prove that he is still adding to his amazing canon. Walk Back Into Town is a stunning song. It should be used in songwriting classes.

A Stone in My Pocket is a wonderful recording and serves as a reminder of what a treasure David Essig is as a songwriter and how lucky we are to have him.

- Penguin Eggs

"One of the finest blues guitarists and songwriters in the world"

Essig brilliantly reshapes a canon of deep, finely-drawn songs…an inspired collection of revealing narratives performed with the kind of austere, unpretentious honesty that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck and takes your breath away.

Essig makes smoky, subtle music that marries Delta blues and bluegrass. Essig is a masterful guitarist and vocalist, and his singular, soulful sound brings an indelible cast of characters and tall tales to like. It’s the essence of roots music. Highest recommendation.
- Victoria Times-Colonist


Rolling Fork to Gallows Point - 2011 (CD)

Double Vision (with Rick Scott) – 2008 (CD)

Presbyterian Guitar – 2007 (CD)

Beverly Street – 2007 (CD)

A Stone in My Pocket – 2004 (double CD)

Declaration Day – 2002 (CD)

Into the Lowering Sky -1998 (CD)

Tremble and Weep - 1996 (CD)

State of Origin - 1993 (CD)

Small Guitar Departs - 1992 (CS)

Rebel Flag - 1990 (CD,CS)

Morning Calm - 1988 (CD)

Running Light - 1987 (CS)

Two Kayagum Solos - 1986 (CS)

Whose Muddy Shoes - 1986 (LP)

While Living in the Good Years - 1984 (LP,CS)

In the Tradition - 1981 (LP, CD)

Sequence - 1978 (LP)

Stewart Crossing - 1976 (LP)

High Ground - 1975 (LP,CD)

Redbird Country - 1974 (LP,CD)




DAVID ESSIG was introduced to Canadian audiences in 1971 as a “talented newcomer” at the legendary Mariposa Folk Festival. Now, nearly 40 years later, he has an international career as one of Canada’s finest interpreters of original, contemporary folk music. Always paying homage to his roots in Bluegrass and Country Blues, David uses these traditions to create timeless new songs.

David is highly respected as a thoughtful and intelligent songwriter, with Canadian folk standards like “Albert’s Cove” and “High Ground” to his credit. His work moves from pieces as contemporary as today’s news, to songs that sound as if they were rediscovered from old country blues 78’s. These are songs that tell stories that will start you laughing and leave you crying.

Equally renowned as an instrumentalist and traditional performer, David is a master of the blues and slide guitar. Whether on the lap-style Weissenborn or the electric slide guitar, his spontaneous style crosses all the borders between country, blues and the avant-garde. With his 5/8” socket and a sound that could peel the petunias off your mother’s porcelain, he is considered one of Canada’s finest slide guitarists.

David’s masterful songwriting is the theme of A Stone in My Pocket, the milestone double CD project released in 2004 by WEA in Canada and by IRD in Europe. For this project, David recorded fresh new versions of 30 of the most popular and moving songs from his 35 years of writing. He was joined by renowned musicians Oliver Schroer on violin and Tobin Frank on bass. A Stone in My Pocket has received critical acclaim as a landmark recording in Canadian roots music.

In 2007, a collective of alt-country Winnipeg musicians, led by Romi Mayes, Jaxon Haldane, and the D-Rangers, recorded the acclaimed CD Beverly Street: an album of their new performances of some of the best of David’s original songs. David joined in for cameo appearances on the CD and contributed the title song for the project.

In 2008, David teamed up with fellow roots performer Rick Scott to record and release Double Vision, a duo CD of original songs that has garnered enthusiastic praise across Canada. David and Rick have toured together and performed at festivals across Canada, adding bassist Shelley Brown as a third member of the group.

Since the release of his acclaimed Delta Blues CD, "Rolling Fork to Gallows Point," in July, 2011, David has been concentrating on solo career, touring in Canada and Europe.

He will be releasing a new solo singer-songwriter CD, "One More Song," in June, 2012 followed by performances at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and Folk on the Rocks in Yellowknife, NWT.


David has had a parallel career in music as a producer of some of the finest recordings in the history of Canadian roots music. He was the producer on the late Willie P. Bennett’s first three LP’s, including the legendary Hobo’s Taunt and Blackie and the Rodeo King. David has worked as the producer on over 75 album projects with a wide variety of artists including Fred Eaglesmith, Chris and Ken Whiteley, Cathy Fink, Walter Michael, Trapezoid, and the late Jackie Washington.

For the past 8 years, David has owned and operated Watershed Studio – an independent production facility specializing in recording Canadian singer-songwriters and roots musicians. At Watershed, David has produced and recorded album projects with over 20 artists including Allison Brown, Doug Cox, Steve Dawson, Trish Clair, Jane Eamon, Hal Brolund and Raghu Lokanathan.