JP Cormier
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JP Cormier


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JP Cormier @ Point Rock Concerts

Fall River, Nova Scotia, Canada

Fall River, Nova Scotia, Canada

JP Cormier @ Point Rock Concerts

Fall River, Nova Scotia, Canada

Fall River, Nova Scotia, Canada

JP Cormier @ Point Rock Concerts

Fall River, Nova Scotia, Canada

Fall River, Nova Scotia, Canada

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



J.P.’s blazing fingers propel Pops concert into high orbit


CAPE BRETON’S GENTLE giant J. P. Cormier must have bluegrass in his veins. A superb guitarist with an ear-boggling finger technique, almost every song Cormier touches explodes into life with that blood-boiling bluegrass energy that sent Bill Monroe to the top of the bluegrass world for more than 50 years before his death in 1996.

No one can resist this music. Certainly not the fans who roared into life after every one of Cormier’s solos on Symphony NovaScotia’s Maritime Pops Concert in the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on Friday night.

But "JP", as everybody calls him, propels the already irresistible twitchiness of the bluegrass style into high orbit by playing it on guitar, fiddle and banjo as well as mandolin. Monroe was also a multi-instrumentalist, but was especially adept at playing the mandolin, a small instrument with eight strings tuned in pairs to the same tuning as the violin. Monroe picked like a whiz bang as did many of the bluegrass artists that appeared with him after he joined the Grand Ol Opry in 1939.

But the guitar is bigger. It has six single strings and a neck which is both wider and longer than the mandolin. How JP can negotiate this at breakneck speeds is one of the wonders of our world here in Nova Scotia. And his music, much of it original, goes far beyond Monroe, because JP knows all the Cape Breton fiddle tunes, too.

He is also one of our most justly admired songwriters. Fans know his music well. Only a measure into his first tune, his touching song called Another Morning, about aging and going home, they hollered with pleasure as they did for Kelly’s Mountain, the second last song on the show.

Both songs, as is his style, JP backed up with fast intros and breaks though the melodies soared in a sweetly melancholic arc as light as air above.

He sang or played five more originals, paid homage to his favourite songwriter with Gordon Lightfoot’s Song for a Winter’s Night and The Railroad Trilogy, added a set of Irish and Scottish jigs in duet with Scott Macmillan and paid tribute to Chet Atkins (Blue Angel).

Macmillan conducted the orchestra, arranged most of the music, and stepped off the podium to play his New Century Hornpipe with JP, letting the orchestra, who know many of Macmillan’s tunes after years of working with him on Maritime Pops concerts, play their stuff on their own — which they did, flawlessly for all I could tell.

That piece with its unexpected twists and turns, both melodically and structurally, is a challenge. Just as it gets to seem familiar, it spacewarps with an unexpected lurch in a different direction. It’s a barnburner in which the guitars are flame-throwers.

JP’s own band included the ever-reliable Hilda Chiasson-Cormier on keyboard and finger-whiz Darren McMullen on rhythm guitar, bouzouki and electric bass.

Macmillan began each half with his own compositions — the Cheticamp Overture at the top of the show, and his Mi Careme Soiree — also inspired by Cheticamp festivals — at the top of the second half.

The overture blazes away with an exciting brass fanfare in an extended intro. The soirée is full of orchestral dexterity in the way of colour and dynamics.

The orchestra played extremely well but didn’t sound that good. The problem was the amplification. Every two players in the strings and every player in the winds and brass had separate microphones. Such amplification boosts the sound level beyond what is really necessary to back up amplified guitars.

But even more important, it has a huge downside. It robs the orchestra of their sound. Symphony Nova Scotia is our most pristine acoustic ensemble. Every player knows how to balance and blend and project their unamplified sound, as well as how to play with the kind of intonation and tone colour that makes their sound bloom.

Microphones get in the way of this essential ingredient to their tone, leaving everything to the sound techs at the back of the hall. And good as they are, and they are very good indeed, they have a very different model of what a back-up band should sound like.

The audience, perhaps fortunately, don’t generally hear the orchestra play with the kind of radiant resonance they produce on baroque, classical and contemporary concerts. But it’s a shame they don’t get the chance to hear how sweet and sassy they can sound without amplification when they play behind the artists, like JP, whose sound they know so well.

JP announced from the stage that he and his band will be travelling to Afghanistan in May, joining other Canadian artists as part of a large entertainment tour for The Canadian Forces stationed there.

- The Chronicle Herald

J.P. Cormier wows Valley Ex crowd

Hundreds turn out for first night of entertainment at Riverside Stage
by Larry Powell/Spectator

Cape Breton's J.P. Cormier packed the hill at Riverside Stage at the Annapolis Valley Exhibition in Lawrencetown Thursday evening and wowed the hundreds there with guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and banjo. His mix of instrumentals and his own heart-felt lyrics appealed to all ages and in the end had the crowd roaring for more.

Twice Cormier and his bass player teamed up to play the same mandolin at the same time -- and fans went wild.

Friday night at the Valley Ex it's Aaron Pritchett and on Saturday is Gordie Sampson. Shows take place at 8:30 p.m. and are included in the price of admittance at the gate.
- Larry Powell/Spectator


The Messenger (2008)
Looking Back - Volume 1: The Instrumentals (2005)
Looking Back - Volume 2: The Songs (2005)
Primary Color: The Owner's Manual (2005)
The Long River: A Personal Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot (2005)
X8… a mandolin collection (2004)
Velvet Arm Golden Hand (2002)
Primary Color (2002)
Now That The Work Is Done (2001)
Heart & Soul (1999)
Another Morning (1997)
Return to the Cape (1995)

Past Works:
Lord of the Dance *
When January Comes *
The Gift *
Tales of the Cavalry and Other Great Stories (with the Mobile Symphony) **
The Fiddle Album *
Northwind **
Out of the Blue *



Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, sideman, innovator, recording artist, award winner. His names are many, but underlying that is a young man with an ancient soul who has traveled the world for the past 25 years bringing his unique brand of joy to audiences wherever he goes. J.P. Cormier began playing guitar, self taught, at the age of 5 and quickly became immersed in the rich musical heritage of his Cape Breton roots. By the age of 9, he was considered a genuine prodigy and won his first guitar competition against 30 other players three times his age. By his mid-teens, it became obvious J.P. could play almost any stringed instrument he picked up. However it was his guitar playing which shone with his flawless executions of tunes he learned from records of giants like Chet Atkins and Doc Watson.

At 16, Cormier recorded his first album, a collection of bluegrass instrumentals. With the project in hand, he worked his way across the U.S. festival circuit - performing for anyone who might take notice. These appearances led to a move to the U.S., and 10 years of session work, live appearances, and many memorable nights at the Grand Ole Opry with such notable artists as Waylon Jennings, Marty Stuart, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Charlie Louvin, and Vince Gill.

Since his return to Canada over decade ago, Cormier has released eleven award winning recordings (12 & 13 on the way). The foundation for his highly anticipated fourth song collection has already been laid, and is slated for release in early 2008.

Fans of the writing traditions of Stan Rogers and Gordon Lightfoot tend to equate the name J.P. Cormier with "songwriter", even before multi-instrumentalist. As a performer, J.P. is known for his flawless delivery of original 'story songs', most often basing his lyrics on true events. Inspiration comes when he least expects it and, in his words, "I just hold the pen." The title track from J.P.’s Juno nominated Another Morning, among others, has been covered by countless artists across North America and overseas.

J.P.’s impressive body of work has earned him a vast and loyal fan base, and multiple award nominations and wins, including, 12 East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Award, 5 Music Nova Scotia Awards, Juno nomination, Commendations from the Govenor General of Canada and Premier of Nova Scotia.

Just recently the combination of JP, Mike and Bill has been an amazing.


Roberta Head
902 862 8878