Richard Garvey
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Richard Garvey

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Folk Acoustic


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



"Richard Garvey - Remembering Whats Important"

"If you want to change society then you must tell an alternative story" — Ivan Illich

Folk music troubadour Richard Garvey says his latest CD "Where Fools Gather" was inspired by the late Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich.

"The Rivers North of the Future" is about the life of Illich, an incredible teacher, spiritual leader and revolutionary thinker," says Garvey admitting the book was a "challenging" read.

"The song came out of this story that was written about him. Illich was teaching at Harvard and every term he would write off a case of wine as an expense. He would invite over students and people in the community that he admired having conversations with, to build community through having food and wine together," he adds.

"I thought that was a really interesting place to be in the last 15 or 20 years of your life. It's something that others would think of as foolish or a waste of time; all of these academic people who are always go, go, go," he notes.

"A lot of great ideas, stories and research came out of the conversations that they had, more so than the classroom work. So that was a reminder to me of things that are really important and meaningful," says Garvey who is known for venerable music series Folk Roots Brew/Stew and homegrown folk music festival At The Root.

Garvey, who also plays guitar, ukulele, and banjo, says he began to think of a new direction for his music while writing the CD's title song.

"I want to take my life toward trying to live with intention, hoping to embrace connection, and vulnerability, through people and friendship, even though you screw up and fall short of your own goals," he notes.

Garvey writes with honest pen in composer's hand, wrapping each track in Mother Nature's arms be it love (the Leonard-Cohen-like "Abigail," "I Know a Forest," "All My Life," "I Will Meet You Where You Are") or self discovery ("I Deserve It"). The dark hymn "Right or Wrong" is his scathing comment on recent simultaneous acts of terrorism in Ottawa, and Syria — "there's an emptiness we've been trying just to fill. We're full of bullet holes like the people we pay to kill."

His soft crystal voice flows through this kitchen party style singalong album featuring many "dear friends" including longtime performing partner Dan Henshall, mandolin; Julia Narveson, bass, fiddle, cello; Dan Belgue, banjo; plus Marina Marina and Laura Ashfield on vocals. He met musicians Jess Spencer, trumpet; and Eric Johnson-Scherger, viola; though fellow music connector/pianist Evan Pointner of local bands Onion House and Acoustic Dirt.

Special guests for Garvey's CD release party include "Fools" family Dan Belgue, and Julia Narveson, plus Halifax fun-time folk-gypsy-jazz duo Kate and Rich, and a string quartet. For the summer, Garvey's exploring new venues around Ontario from house concerts, to art galleries, and cafés galore before he heads West continuing his alternative story of building community through music.

Richard Garvey & Friends

"Where Fools Gather" CD release party

Queen Street Commons, 43 Queen St. S., Kitchener

Sunday, June 7, 7 p.m. $10 advance, $15 door - The Waterloo Record

"Richard Garvey building community through music"

Singer/songwriter Richard Garvey is dedicated to building community through music.

At Kitchener's Cafe Pyrus, the soft spoken arts Garvey spearheads many events for social, political and environmental change, hosts the café's music series and is the founder of the popular winter sing-along Folk Roots Stew.

Garvey champions the work of new and established musicians and enjoys playing backup guitar, banjo or ukelele with many musical friends.

His love of writing, singing and sharing songs began in his last year at Wilfrid Laurier University when Garvey discovered a like-minded group of people who sang peace and antiwar songs. This included musicians Janice Lee (Janice Lee and The Free Radicals) and Dan Belgue (The Blackwood Two), who also played the Laurier coffeehouse and open mic circuit.

"That was the launch pad for my own work," says Garvey, adding that his first recordings were sold as a fundraiser so he could continue his work with youth at Grassy Narrows First Nations Reserve in Kenora.

He says his political and radical viewpoint was greatly influenced by working for social change and living with the reserve's youth who were "awesome," despite their poverty-stricken conditions.

Garvey, who has opened for folk artists Craig Cardiff and Ole Man Luedecke, possesses smooth and melodic vocals as well as a refreshing mix of humour, honesty and grit. He writes about two sides of the everyman's life-story through upbeat old-time a capella music. His impassioned lyrics defend struggling farmers, rail against police brutality, and speak out for society's downtrodden.

Garvey has released six recordings including his latest folk commentary Happy Go Lucky. Recorded live off the floor at Waterloo's Duke of Erb recording studios, backup vocalists include sing-along pals Janice Lee, Dan Belgue, The Ever Lovin' Jug Band, and Laura Ashfield, plus an instrumental who's who from the local roots/folk music scene.

The EP features "reality bites" ballads, barflies, fiddle love song Mine is Yours and its deliciously sardonic title track.

A song close to Garvey's heart is Starving Artist from his album To Create: "I will eat in the soup kitchen or I will stand in the welfare line ..." he quotes.

"It's sad but artists have to be very creative. And if you want to do what you are really passionate about, you have to make those sacrifices."

That's why Garvey is launching his inaugural At The Root Festival from Aug. 15 to 17, introducing his At The Root Musicians Cooperative.

"I think it is going to make a difference in that infrastructure that we need on a grassroots level with the community and with the musicians. We will actually make this happen." he says adding he will "start small" building the festival up from the bottom, hoping the City of Kitchener will eventually "come and collaborate."

Because Richard Garvey is always willing to raise his voice, grab some attention, and make some noise. - The Waterloo Record

"Radio Laurier reviews Rich's New Album - Where Fools Gather"

Making a wave in Canadian music with his new album ‘Where Fools Gather’ released on June7th, Richard Garvey is one to look out for. Originally from Kitchener, Ontario Garvey is giving Canada someone to root for, offering musical serenity with his soulful voice.

His latest collection of work, is an easy listen, something to play with your windows down driving as the summer breeze ripples in time with the soulful smooth sound of his voice and eclectic use of instruments. At times his voice slips into an almost whisper, as if he is singing these lyrics directly to you, unleashing his deepest thoughts in an almost dream like manner. In particular the track titled, ‘Abagail’ does just this, the variety of instruments in unison with voices provides an almost lackadaisical listening experience.

A specific standout on the album is ‘ Right or Wrong’, whether your directly connect to what he is singing in the song or not, his deliverance make you feel as though you have. His gentle voice and careful articulation of lyrics, provide the song with a haunting feeling of the regrets we make in life that many can connect to. This song is undoubtedly one of the best on the album.

Although, Garvey does not limit his range to be just that of songs to close your eyes to but also ones to tap your feet to. With specific tracks like ‘Wagon Wheel’, and ‘Run the River’ he provides listeners with a satisfying variety of sound. His sound is similar to the likes of Mumford and sons and Ben Howard, and has even been compared to Pete Seegar and David Francey.

‘Where Fools Gather’ successfully accomplishes everything it sets out to deliver with its 14 track list. Richard Garvey proves Canadian music is full of depth, and worthy of recognition. If you haven’t already, check out his stuff and any tour dates he has coming up on his Canadian tour! - Radio Laurier

"Fresh Air Folk From Garvey"

Mara Bender

Independent artist Richard Garvey has a long history of making his own way. He’s finished two tours exclusively on his bike, independently produced seven albums and focuses his creative energy on issues surrounding the environment, social change and community building. Musically, he provides a breath of folk-based fresh air, following the likes of Pete Seeger and David Francey.

Garvey’s new album, Where Fools Gather, is no disappointment. His time as one of Kitchener’s hardest working folk/roots musicians has paid off, Where Fools Gather is as refreshing as a cool glass of sweet tea on a hot summer day.

Although the album itself works very well as a whole, there are a few stand-out tracks.

The title track, “Where Fools Gather” is a beautiful blend of Jack Johnson and the local Mike Erb Band; it has a whimsical sense of youth and love for the surrounding world. “Where Fools Gather” can be held as a metaphor for much of the album, Garvey’s music seems to have bottled up liquid sunshine from days off and injected it into his album.

Beyond the summertime happiness captured though his music, Garvey manages to find a broader purpose. Much of his music focuses around community and appreciating everything around us, from people to places and the natural world. His love for the world and everything on it is apparent in several tracks, such as “California,” “Speaks To Me,” and “I Deserve It.”

Garvey’s development from his past album is quite interesting. Although he still picks up on folk and roots influences, Where Fools Gather has lost some of the folk-like intensity. It’s lighter on the violin and banjo, with more choral and cello layers involved in production, especially in comparison to his 2012 album To Grow.

All in all, Garvey’s album is fresh, even when released in a community where most have encountered his tracks in their favourite watering hole. His focus on community and appreciating existence at large is energizing on its own. When mixed with his summery guitar and banjo combination, Where Fools Gather is a great summer release, made for backyard barbecue parties, warm weather exploring and appreciating those around us.

- See more at: - Community Edition

"Richard Garvey and his bicycle tour!"

ichard Garvey and His Bicycle Tour

by: Tessa Jennison

I like Richard Garvey, as a human and as a musician. He’s honest and genuine. He writes environmentally-driven, feel-good, organic folk tunes. And he tours on his bicycle. That’s right…on his bicycle.

Most musicians pack a van with gear and people before they hit the road. With all of those amps, instruments, hardware, and merch, (not to mention all of the other general stuff like clothing, food, and beer), it’s hard to imagine going on tour in anything smaller than a mini-van. But Richard Garvey likes to keep things simple, stating, “I’m not trying to prove a point or anything with the bicycle tour; it’s just the way I prefer to travel.”

Two years ago, Richard took his first bicycle tour all the way to Tobermory, pulling a small bike trailer behind him to hold his guitar and equipment. He typically goes by himself, pedaling 30-60 km a day to his various gig destinations, making new connections and meeting new friends at each stop.

“Last time when I went up to Tobermory I met a really nice guy who’s a retired musician. He’s a farmer now, and that’s kind of the life dream, I guess, so I like to go hang out with him. Tobermory is a good town if you’re a busker.”

This summer, Richard is heading out on the road again, promoting his album To Grow. This tour will take him to Ontario’s west coast, including a stop at Goderich’s historic East Street Station.

“It’s probably one of the most beautiful venues I’ve played in Canada. It’s an old train station, and they do a coffee house like, once a month or so. It’s a really beautiful space. They do yoga classes and workshops all week. It’s very health-oriented. The owners and founders of the space are very, like, on the same page as me. They’re very passionate about well-being and community-building.”

To Grow, Richard’s second full-length album, is a true realization of his collaborative artistic nature and sense of community.

“I recorded it at my house. I hired my friend Jeremy Bernard to be the engineer, to mix and master it. We had a house show. About 15 people came and it’s just a sing-along recording session. I recorded a CD in 2009 called To Become. It’s more of a spiritual journey towards well-being.”

Richard has big dreams for the future, including a full cross-Canada bicycle tour, and a European tour.

“I’m hoping to go to Europe in 2013. When I was in university I met a lot of people who were exchange students. I’d really like to go and visit them. A lot of them were from Germany and France and Austria. So I think that’s a pretty do-able path.”

Richard’s Bicycle Tour kicks off at Kitchener’s Cafe Pyrus on June 2.

For a full list of tour dates, songs, and other neat stuff, please visit:
- Velvet Rope - Tessa Jennison

"Adam d. sees Richard Garvey off on his bike tour!"

Richard Garvey has been spreading his soulful cadence and a soft nature throughout the KW area and far beyond for many years now as one of the pillars of the folk scene. After just finishing a fundraiser to help produce and manufacture his next album out this September To Create, Rich, like last year, ventured upon another tour with only his bike gear to many towns, reaching up to Central Ontario. There needed to be a kick off show to the excursion however, and Cafe Pyrus entertained it early in June, with many of the close musicians Rich has worked with and befriended over the years, and continues to, as you will notice in the new record, where the likes of Dan Henshall, The Blackwood Two, Amy Carson Hunter, Dan Soehner and Joey Bell. Pyrus was packed with fans able and willing to see Rich off on another unique bike ride. - Velvet Rope - Adam Dee

"Richard Garvey"

Page 14. A two page write up about Richard Garvey.
Hi-lighting his two albums "To Grow" and "To Become"
An interview about his June 2012 bicycle tour. - Fuss Magazine - Mark Gillis


Where Fools Gather* - 2015
Happy Go Lucky (EP) - 2014
Listen (EP) - 2013
To Create* - 2012
To Grow - 2011
A Bicycle Built For You - 2010
To Become - 2010

* Made with support from The Region of Waterloo Arts Fund



Richard Garvey’s voice will melt you deep into your seat with a sigh of relief. Then he’ll wake you up with his positive upbeat acoustic folk music and inspire you to sing-along with all your heart in the chorus! Richard Garvey is Kitchener’s hardest working folk/roots musician dedicated to building community through music. His down-to-earth and genuine voice echoes a generation of youth that longs for environmental justice and social change.  He has shared songs and stories at rallies, markets, festivals, bars, and soft-seated venues. Comparisons to Pete Seeger and David Francey are frequently made, and he has opened for Juno Award nominee Craig Cardiff and Juno Award Winning Old Man Luedecke. He is working on his seventh self-produced album and booking upcoming tours across Canada.

Band Members