Steve Fisher
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Steve Fisher

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"Steve Fisher - River"

It’s been a long time coming, but what a treat to finally hear a solo project from Steve Fisher, one of the most tasteful and talented acoustic performers in western Canada. From the opening notes, it’s evident this is the typical quality we’ve almost taken for granted from Fisher for two decades in his various bluegrass and acoustic ensembles. It could be a contender as one of the best independent Canadian roots music albums of the year.

Fisher has surrounded himself with impressive talent including Sally Van Meter on resophonic guitar, John Reischman on mandolin and Chris and Sally Jones on harmony vocals. Fisher has always been as smooth as fine scotch, both vocally and instrumentally, so only the best would do for this compendium of styles that has influenced him throughout his musical career, from fingerstyle guitar to bluegrass and Mississippi blues.

The sound quality is superb. Produced by Dave Clarke, the guitarist for the country-folk trio Steel Rail and former sideman to David Francey, engineered by Calgary’s Rob Smith and mastered by Calgary’s Richard Harrow, the CD has pro touches throughout. The interesting mix of songs includes John Hurt’s Stack O’ Lee, Mel Tillis’ Walk on Boy, traditional selections like Florida Blues and the often neglected Streets of Calgary.

Inside Fisher is a little Doc Watson, a pinch of Bill Monroe, a dash of John Hurt and a whole lot of passion and honesty for the musical styles he has embraced. This CD does justice to all.

– Bob Remington, Penguin Eggs, Summer Edition No. 34, July, 2007 - Penguin Eggs


Alberta-based guitarist/vocalist Steve Fisher has been as busy as a beaver lately.

Only a year and a half after his acoustic quartet, Restless Lester, thrilled us with their debut “Endless Skies” album, Steve has assembled some top-flight American and Canadian musicians for an interesting and memorable solo project. Bandmate Bruce Blair fiddles in his characteristically lyrical style, and more of his presence (such as on Guy Clark/Richard Leigh’s “I’m All Through Throwin’ Good Love After Bad” and John Hurt’s “Stack O’Lee”) would have been welcome. Other western Canadians joining Fisher include Jim McLennan (guitar), Cedric Blary (clarinet), Paul Bergman (acoustic bass) and Robin Tufts (percussion). Unpretentious harmony vocals are laid into the mix by Ron Spears, Chris Jones and Sally Jones. Vancouver-based bandleader John Reischman adds precise mandolin playing that is just as tricky as it needs to be without sacrificing tone and Sally Van Meter, one of John’s bandmates from the Good Ol’ Persons, taps the slow, bittersweet notes of her resophonic guitar.

Because Fisher covers many moods in his repertoire, he’s done a splendid job lining up a supporting cast with similarly adventurous tastes. They share his eclectic folk, blues, country, bluegrass and traditional roots sensibilities whether covering material from Mel Tillis, Kate Wolf, W.C. Thompson, Dick Weissman, Fred Carter Jr., Jim McLennan or even recalling a day from yesteryear when southern string bands picked high-stepping tunes like “Florida Blues.”

While the set begins with a snappy original fiddle tune opener, Steve’s own “Riding the Reservoir,” the end of this enjoyable program has clarinet, percussion and guitar leisurely propelling “Horizontal” to a new musical plane. Steve Fisher’s own musical horizon indicates a broad range of musical knowledge, experience, interest and skill. As a solo project, “River” is a fitting presentation of his unique acoustic flair and personality. Of course, there’s a whole other side of Fisher as a well-known bluegrasser who has built a reputation with the Sheep River Rounders, the Hot House Bluegrass Band, and Restless Lester. That’s a story for other albums to tell. And then there is Fisher’s work with various charities including the Eco Village of Hope Society formed by his wife and a number of her friends with the goal of creating an environmentally sustainable orphanage in the village of Nam On, China. Social consciousness is just one more of this consummate musician’s goals and vision.

- Joe Ross, staff writer Bluegrass Now magazine

- Joe Ross


By Donald Teplyske
Sep 07 2007

As one of the mainstays of the Alberta acoustic community, Steve Fisher is well known as an outstanding flatpicker with a mellowed, golden voice. His debut recording was recently released, and 40 minutes spent with its 12 songs is a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Fisher contributes an original instrumental, but is comfortable interpreting meaningful songs from his listening experience including Kate Wolf’s Streets of Calgary, Guy Clark’s I’m All Through Throwin’ Good Love After Bad, and John Hurt’s Stack O’ Lee.

While many of the tunes have a bluegrass feel, and the sidemen and ladies — including John Reischman, Sally Van Meter, and Chris and Sally Jones — have deep bluegrass pedigrees, the music is closer to CKUA-friendly, middle ground folk.

With beautifully composed packaging, The River puts most do-it-yourself projects to shame: the playing is impeccable and the production quality is crystal clear.

Probably my most-played disc this past summer; one hopes Fisher will bring these sounds to a live venue near us soon.

Copyright © 2007
Red Deer Advocate
A Division of

Black Press Group Ltd.

- Red Deer Advocate


In April of 2007 I released an full length CD called 'River' that features the playing and singing of all of the members of the band as well as a number of other fine musicians.

Cuts from that album that have received extensive Canadian and international airplay are River Keep A Rollin', Lost Dog Blues, Riding the Reservoir, Stack O'Lee and Horizontal.



"Magic ... you guys were just magic." So said member of the audience at a recent show. That's a common reaction for us and we think it's because of the high level of musicianship we bring to to the music we play. Some bands are funnier, some tell better stories, some are louder, but few, we think, play the range of music heard in our show with more skill or imagination.

Our influences include a lot of traditional string band music such as bluegrass and old-time as well as classic swing and jazz. Collectively, we've spent a lot of time listening to artists like Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, Bill Monroe, Tony Rice, Mark O'Connor, Bob Wills, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Bennie Goodman.

As a band or as individuals in other groups, we've played most of the folk and bluegrass festivals in western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest, we've performed on live on CBC and other radio and television stations many times, we've played on numerous recordings of our own or those of other artists and we're well known as teachers and instructors at music camps in Alberta, B.C. and elsewhere.