Terry Tufts

Terry Tufts


Terry Tufts is a musical triple threat; an award-winning songwriter, a brilliant singer and a dazzling musician. "Tufts displays a boxer's heart wrapped inside a troubadour's spirit."


Superb singer, writer and guitarist: those are words frequently used to describe Ottawa-area performer Terry Tufts. All of those attributes — and more — are on display in his new album, The Better Fight.

Terry’s songwriting contemporaries refer to him as a musical triple threat. He’s also an avid environmentalist, dedicated dad and loving husband, all elements that colour his striking original material. Terry’s lyrics speak straight from the heart — and from a charged social conscience. His stirring melodies are supported by sophisticated finger-style guitar orchestrations. The result: songs that are often anthemic, and always profoundly affecting.

Born on the shores of Lake Erie the son of a Canadian diplomat, Terry grew up in Denver, Rome, and Ottawa. He has been playing music since he was nine, starting off with the mandolin and later moving on to guitar. He cites influences ranging from Gordon Lightfoot and Red Shea through Keats, Byron and Shelley to Lenny Breau and Tommy Smothers.

Having released three independently self-produced albums, Terry spent much of his early career working with other singers as a guitarist. However in the mid-1990s, he released two albums of original material on Borealis records: Walk On and Two Nights Solo. Both were greeted with critical acclaim, and his songwriting was recognized when he was a winner in Standard Radio’s National Songwriting Competition in 1997. He is also the only two-time winner of the Ontario Council of Folk Festival’s Songs From the Heart competition, taking that honour in 1998 and 2001.

Terry’s latest recording, The Better Fight, reflects his continuing growth as songwriter and musician. In it, he explores the pop, jazz and folk idioms, moving seamlessly through all three in the company of some of the best musicians in Eastern Canada. Apart from the sheer musicality of the new recording, The Better Fight is, as one writer noted “the culmination of Terry Tufts’ career as a gifted and passionate songwriter. Whether he's tackling the dilemma posed by an unjust war or savouring moments in time, Tufts displays a boxer's heart wrapped inside a troubadour's spirit.”

The Better Fight was released in early October 2005.


Marylou In Burgundy

Written By: W. T. Tufts


I never will forget your way the first time that I met ya. Hey
The style on you sure took me by surprise.
In your eyes there was a spark and you was chasin' out the darkness from the room
Just like the moon upon the rise
And yer hair hung in dark tresses to yer shoulders at the neck as
You was checkin' out the room for just to see
And around yer arms and back so meticulously wrapped
You wore a shawl of Royal Burgundy.

I believe the month was may and the weather was still grey.
I believe I played another new guitar.
I was workin' for the money and the music and the fun I had
Just learnin' how to play the local bars.
Just another av'rage ev'nin'. No one list'nin', no one leavin'
No one payin' much attention, even me.
Then I looked up and got an eyeful of Black Irish, so delightful
In a shawl of Royal Burgundy


I've felt the sun on my face
And the rain's cool embrace,
Seen more places anyone could ever see
But I've never in my life
Seen anything that's half as nice
As seein' Marylou in Burgundy.

If you've ever lost the lyric to the melody you're playin' Well you really get a sense of where you are. And you gave me such a glare when you saw that I was star'n' at ya Then turned around and sat down at the bar. So I ducked back in my song but I looked up before too long And shortly after turned about three shades of green 'Cause then he walks in from the cold and throws an arm about the shoulder Of the Irish in the shawl of burgundy


I got to travel quite a bit. I got to work a wee bit more.
One day I fin'ly got to get out of the bars.
It was life and love and laughter, dreams of happy ever after.
It was wanderlust and too many guitars.
Now it's a warm chair by the fire and a slow pull on the briar
And the charm of an inspirin' memory.
See I've still never in my life seen anything that's half as nice
As Marylou in burgundy.


The Better Fight

Written By: Terry Tufts


With some fines skills in my pocket and a small sense of adventure
I will build myself a rocket, leave my self-imposed indenture
Do my very best to hasten and make ready my departure
Sail across a sea of stars with the true aim of an archer

Won’t look back in want or worry, just ahead to peace of mind
Watch the hassles and the hurry and the bad times fade behind
Venture out and find my fortune, watch my futures all unfold
Live life to its full proportion with my heart and with my soul.


And if I live to be a hundred
I may never get it right
But there’ll be no small consolation
Having fought the better fight

Well I have lived too long in anger and run too long in despair
I would now prefer to linger as my pathway becomes clear
Trace my purpose with one finger; give myself an equal share
I’d no sooner be a pris’ner than fall victim to my fear


And if I live to be a hundred
I may never get it right
But there’ll be no small consolation
Having fought the better fight



How many days will fly?
How many years go by?
Why would I wait so long?
For the moment only lasts until it’s gone

There’s so many miles before me with so little time to spare
There’s a grace here that implores me and redemption if I dare
You can’t let fear or worry slow you down along the way
There is only life before me; there are only better days.


And if I live to be a hundred
I may never get it right
But there’ll be no small consolation
Having fought the better fight
But there’ll be no small consolation
Having fought the better fight

Black Velvet Elvis

Written By: Kathryn Briggs, David Francey, Terry Tufts


I won’t pass this way again
So I won’t try to pretend
That all will be forgiven in the end
You gotta live right

Right or wrong won’t matter now
Never did much anyhow
And regret is something time cannot allow
You gotta live right


Toss up a coin. What’ll it be
Black Velvet Elvis or Georgia O’Keefe?
You gotta live right

There is no one keeping score
It’s perception, nothing more
Red poppy painted on a weathered door
You gotta live right

I believe a change will come
I can hear a different drum
We must send these lying thieves on the run
You gotta live right


Toss up a coin. What’ll it be
Black Velvet Elvis or Georgia O’Keefe?
You gotta live right


2005 - THE BETTER FIGHT (Borealis Records)

2003 – BEAUTIFUL: A TRIBUTE TO GORDON LIGHTFOOT (Borealis Records) Terry records a version of FOR LOVIN’ ME, playing all the instruments but the upright bass.

2002 – SIX STRINGS NORTH OF THE BORDER (Borealis Records) Terry’s slide guitar piece DORVAL’S DESCENT opens the CD.

2002 – TWO NIGHTS SOLO: TERRY TUFTS LIVE (Borealis Records) Re-release.

2001 – WALK ON (Independent)


1995 - DOWN THE EIGHTH AND GONE (Independent) Terry's third album features the single LITTLE MISS DEMEANOR as his first radio release.

1993 - CHRISTMAS IN THE VALLEY (vol. 7) COLLAGE: A COLLECTION OF GOOD SONGS WELL PLAYED (CKBY) Terry's Christmas song BIG SIX was one of the highlights of this recording. Terry has 4 cuts on this compilation disc of Ottawa area artists, sponsored by adult-contemporary radio station MAJIC 100. One of Terry's songs, FLAG STATION FIREBALL, went to number 5 on an indie chart in France. Another, HARDER THAN DIAMONDS TO HOLD, became a playlist favourite in Germany.

1990 - TRANSPARENT BLUE (Snowy River Records) CD version of Terry's second album is released, with additional cuts HANGING ROSES FROM HER DOOR and STAND 'NEATH MY WINDOW. Both appeared on Canadian Country charts.

1989 - TRANSPARENT BLUE (Independent) Cassette version released.

1987 - TERRY TUFTS (Snowy River Records) First solo release.

Set List

H'ai d'Nor h'Aire
Marylou In Burgundy
Awake Ye Drowsie Sleeper
Hey Jerusha
Fly Away
The Better Fight
You Said
Pursuant To My Nature
Dirty Little War

Black Velvet Elvis
That Was You, This Was Me
Slow And Easy
Look To Yourself For Your Heaven
Deep Purple
Embracing The Addiction

Encore: Open Letter To The Earth

Terry's performance is available in solo, duo (bass), trio (add keyboards), quartet (add percussionist) or quintet (add drummer) format. The additional musicians he often works with are:
Bass: John Geggie
Drums: Miche Pouliot
Keys: Mark Ferguson
Percusion: Rob Graves