Spencer Scharf
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Spencer Scharf

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Folk Blues




"Local acts to shine alongside international stars during Ottawa Folk Fest"

Event organizers anticipate another spike in attendance

Local acts to shine alongside international stars during Ottawa Folk Fest
Ottawa South News
By Erin McCracken
When Spencer Scharf steps on stage during one of Ottawa’s largest music festivals in less than a week, his audience will witness a transformation of sorts.

The 20-year-old Findlay Creek resident and musician is anticipating once again bringing his blend of folk rock, blues and roots to crowds that gather at Hog’s Back Park for the 20th anniversary of the Ottawa Folk Festival.

“I certainly get really into when I’m playing, and, in fact, some people have told me it’s like I’m 20 years older when I’m performing on stage,” said Scharf, who first played a Yamaha keyboard at age two, picked up a guitar for the first time at age nine and began performing for the public when he was just 13.

“It’s my demeanor, my poise and my attitude up there.”

The outdoor musical extravaganza kicks off Sept. 10 and will feature free and paid programming of almost 70 acts over the course of five days on several stages, including Lorde, Serena Ryder, Blues Traveler, Foster the People, Joss Stone, We are Monroe and children’s entertainers The Wiggles, among others.

Scharf will perform a free one-hour set at the Craft Beer House stage on Sept. 14 at 5 p.m., but earlier that day at 1 p.m. he will join children’s entertainer Fred Penner in a Pete Seeger tribute show on the Slackwater stage.

Audiences can expect to see Scharf to perform on numerous instruments, including several guitars – an electric, as well as 12, eight and six strings, a slide and a bass – and a ukulele, banjo, mandolin, harmonica and the keyboard.

Many of these are featured on his third and brand new CD, I Can’t Hide, which features blues, bluegrass and pop.

As well as being a one-man band, Scharf, who is studying music performance at Carleton University, is known for his ability to play by ear and for have perfect pitch. He first played Bluesfest when he was 16.

Performing for the public is an experience that keeps Scharf pushing himself musically.

“I feel great because the audience is enjoying it, I’m enjoying it,” he said of the experience. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s also fun to be diverse in terms of my song selection.”

While offering a diverse range of music to appeal to a variety of tastes at the Ottawa Folk Festival is important, part of the event`s mandate is to offer outstanding folk music and support the local music scene.

Of the local performers, including Scarf, that are booked to play, organizers were drawn to their talents as artists rather than to their hometown addresses.

“We booked Spencer Scharf not because he’s an Ottawa guy or a local band – and it’s the same as other local acts – we book them on the merits of their talent, and they happen to be local and that’s just great,” said festival spokesman A.J. Sauve.

Scharf first came on the radar when he took part in the Ottawa Bluesfest’s inaugural Be in the Band program, through which aspiring musicians are mentored.

“That’s when we looked at each other and went, ‘This kid is like a prodigy,’” Sauve said. “He’s an absolute genius. So he definitely merits being booked at any festival.”

Spencer and several more emergency Canadian artists have also been chosen to compete in the Galaxie Rising Star Supernova competition as part of the festival for a chance to win financial support. Online fan votes will count for 50 per cent of the results, and the rest will come from a jury.

Folk music remains a highlight of the festival, though the Ottawa Bluesfest team has worked hard since taking over the event in 2011 to expand the genres offered.

As a result, the Folk Fest has grown, attracting 20,000 in 2011, about 30,000 in 2012 and approximately 50,000 last year.

“It’s very good thing for a folk festival,” Sauve said. “The programming is what spoke to people.”

Organizers are already forecasting an even bigger crowd during the musical showcase which launches in a matter of days.

“This year we’re already ahead of last year’s (advance ticket) sales by 20 per cent,” said Sauve. “So we’re forecasting an even better crowd.”

The Ottawa Folk Festival takes place at Hog’s Back Park, located at 601 Hog’s Back Rd.

For a full schedule of acts and to cast a vote in the Supernova contest, visit ottawafolk.com. To learn more about Spencer Scharf and to vote for him in the competition, visit spencerscharf.com. - Metroland Media

"Findlay Creek Artist Excited to Perform at the Bluesfest"

EMC news - Findlay Creek artist Spencer Scharf said he is excited to perform again at this year's Bluesfest.

His last gig at the annual summer music festival was in 2010, when he performed for the first time at the age of 16.

A Grade 11 student at Ridgemont High School, Scharf is one of more than 200 acts expected to perform at the festival which will span 12 days, from July 4 to 15.

Scharf plays a variety of instruments, including guitar, piano, banjo, harmonica, ukulele and the mandolin, and his music contains elements of folk, rock, roots and blues.

Scharf will perform on stage at the Barney Danson Theatre on July 14.

"I was lost for words, when I received an email confirming I had a spot," said Scharf.

"I could barely sleep. I was very excited when I found out. It is nice to be back at Bluesfest."

Bluesfest's 2012 lineup was announced at a launch party held at the Canadian War Museum on April 24.

Big names included in the Bluesfest lineup this year are John Mellencamp, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Seal, Nickelback, Blue Rodeo and Norah Jones.

Scharf's first performed in public when he was 13.

"My dad and I were dropping by the Alta Vista Retirement Home to visit my grandmother and there happened to be a piano in the lounge area and I asked if I can play it," he said. "And as soon as I played, about 50 residents entered the room to listen."

His music potential was first spotted when he enrolled for the Bluesfest's 'Be in the Band'/initiative - a three-month pilot project that puts young musicians (ages 11 to 17) who want to be in a band together with other potential band mates.

Bluesfest executive director Mark Monahan spotted him and invited him to perform at the 2010 Bluesfest.

"It was too cool when Mark asked me, 'Spencer (would) you like doing a 45 minute set at the Bluesfest,'" Scharf recalled.

Scharf's said he's always dreamed of playing at big venues like the House of the Blues, the National Arts Centre, and at the main stage of festivals, and the Ottawa musician said he thinks he's slowly reaching his goal.

He attributes his achievements to the support he gets from his family and coaches.

Scharf said his repertoire is huge and that you'll find him fresh and exciting at every performance.

Scharf said he plans to perform some of Woody Guthrie's songs since his performance is scheduled on the same day Guthrie's would have been 100 years old.

Guthrie is best known as an American singer-songwriter and folk musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs.

Scharf has previously performed at the Ottawa Folk Festival, a Governor General's event, city events, and school events.

Scharf said he is happy he can juggle his music and school life

"I just find a good balance to do these things," said Scharf.

For more information on performers and times, visit Bluesfest's website at ottawabluesfest.ca.
- EMC Ottawa South

"Bluesfest, Musician Spencer Scharf - Live performance on the show"

CTV Morning Live Host Kurt Stoodley interviews Ottawa musician Spencer Scharf about his two upcoming gigs at Ottawa Bluesfest, and Spencer performs live - Ramblin' on My Mind on his resonator guitar. - CTV Morning Live

"Bluesfest, Musician Spencer Scharf - Interview"

CTV Morning Live Host Kurt Stoodley interviews Ottawa musician Spencer Scharf about his two upcoming gigs at Ottawa Bluesfest, and his latest guitar addition - a cigar box guitar. - CTV Morning Live

"Young Folkie to Play"

EMC events - If you missed Spencer Scharf at Exciters Saturday, he'll be back performing in Arnprior Saturday, Sept. 1 at Our Place in the 'Prior.

The blues and folk performer, who is only 18, received positive reviews for two Ottawa Bluesfest performances this summer and is seen as an up-and-coming star on the local musical circuit.

The versatile Scharf plays several instruments, including the guitar, banjo, mandolin, uke, harmonica and keyboards.

He will play at Our Place in the 'Prior from 6 to 9 p.m. Reservations are recommended.

It's an exciting week for the Arnprior restaurant, which is hosting its annual Ribs and Rims car show on Elgin Street on Thursday, Aug. 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. Proceeds go to the Arnprior District Memorial Hospital's Partners in Caring Foundation. - EMC Arnprior


Spencer Scharf - I Can't Hide CD, 2014

Spencer Scharf - Instrumental Guitar II CD, 2013

Spencer Scharf - Instrumental Guitar CD, 2012



Spencer Scharf, multi-instrumentalist, folk rock / blues one-man band – his signature sound is flat-picking, finger-style guitar precision, sizzling slide & driving harmonica.

AJ Sauvé, Communications Director for RBC Ottawa Bluesfest said in a recent article about Scharf: “He's an absolute genius. So he definitely merits being booked at any festival." He’s had three solo performances at Ottawa Bluesfest, two at Ottawa Folk Fest, including 2014 Folk Fest where he performed solo & led a Pete Seeger tribute with Fred Penner, and shared the stage with US folk / roots bands The Carper Family, Elephant Revival and Parsonosfield.

Scharf’s instrument skills always catch a crowd’s attention – an award-winning guitarist who plays many types of guitars – including 8-string baritone, 12-string, dobro / slide, & fretless cigar box - harmonica, banjo, uke, keyboard & mandolin.

Scharf was featured in the inaugural 2014 Bluesfest Bluesprint Series that showcased rising talent. A busy musician at ease in a variety of venues, he’s played festivals, pubs, restaurants, visual arts events, civic & private events. He performed every Friday evening at Oyster Bay restaurant in Ottawa from May 2014 to January 2015 when the restaurant was sold. He’s been interviewed and performed live on CTV Morning Live, Rogers Daytime TV, CBC, CKCU and CHIN-FM radio.

His latest CD – I Can’t Hide - released in 2014, receives regular airplay on CKCU FM radio. It shows the influence of the likes of Neil Young, Robert Johnson & Pete Huttlinger.

Band Members