Marshall Veal
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Marshall Veal


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Canadian Journey: A Songwriter's Sketchbook - Saudara Music, 1999



Marshall Veal is a Canadian singer-songwriter whose roots run deep and wide across North America, and across the Atlantic to Europe. Perhaps not since Lightfoot has a Canadian songwriter expressed such coast-to-coast perspective. Marshall's writing evokes a sense of history, place and time, and the struggle to overcome the obstacles of the day. In songs such as "Eagles," "In Canada," "Eastern Shoes," "Normandy," "Saskatchewan," "Oregon Trail," "Red River Plains," "Ottawa Valley," "Yellowhead Highway," and "Plains of Abraham," Marshall explores these cultural roots, and many common hopes and concerns for the future.

Marshall was born and raised in Ottawa Valley, and also spent a few early years in Manitoba's Red River country, both regions with strong folk and country music traditions. It could have been the water, but somewhere out there, a songwriter's imagination took root...not surprisingly perhaps, given his family history. One of his grandfathers was a logging foreman, while the other pioneered on the great plains of Saskatchewan back in the 1880's. Some of the family then settled in the USA, linking up with American families from Iowa to Florida! Somehow, Marshall may have become the unofficial poet laureate of this scattered clan!

In his song "Great Plains of Heaven," Marshall expresses a sense of awe in knowing that the great Sioux Chief Sitting Bull led his people into Canada in the 1870's, seeking refuge for a while only miles from where Marshall's great grandfather homesteaded around that time. In a new song called "Song of Joseph," Marshall reflects upon the timeless wisdom of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce. Although not of First Nations descent, it's apparent in between the lines that Marshall would have stood with Joseph and Sitting Bull against the short sighted and narrow minded power brokers of the time. Marshall evokes this epic period of western history in his songs "Great Plains of Heaven," "Sitting Bull," "Song of Joseph," "The Cypress Hills," "Oregon Trail," and "Saskatchewan."

With roots like these, little wonder that in his teens Marshall taught himself to play guitar, and began to write and sing. Early public forays included a folk duo with his sister Marianna in Ontario, and later a rag-tag country-folk-whatever band in BC's Fraser Valley. In recent years Marshall has been collaborating with brilliant American guitarist and composer Dave Ander, who played extensively with John Denver, Glenn Yarbrough, and the Skymonters; and Laurie Riley, reknowned Celtic harpist, teacher, and multi-instrumental recording artist.

If life experience sharpens the songwriter's pencil, then Marshall Veal's life and work surely reflect that maxim. Marshall has travelled through North America, Europe, and Asia. He holds a graduate degree, and has worked in a variety of occupations. His songs encompass the personal stories and universal themes which reflect that breadth of life experience. He entertains people of all ages with his songs which span the genres of folk, roots, country, Celtic...and his songs just for kids. He is a songwriter who explores the shifting sands between fantasy and reality. He is also able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound!

Marshall's CD: "Canadian Journey: A Songwriter's Sketchbook" is receiving radio airplay and review in Canada and Europe. Logical enough, given the CD is in many ways a potrait of Canadian heritage. More than that, however, Marshall's songs invite people everywhere to explore their own myths, traditions, and heartfelt longings. Marshall Veal is a compelling live performer who touches hearts young and old.