David Essig was introduced to Canadian audiences in 1971 as a “talented newcomer” at the legendary Mariposa Folk Festival. Now, 40 years later, he enjoys an international career as one of Canada’s finest interpreters of original, contemporary folk music. Always paying homage to his roots in Bluegrass and Country Blues, David uses these traditions to create timeless new songs. He has released 20 albums over the course of his career.
David is highly respected as a thoughtful and intelligent songwriter, with Canadian folk standards like “Albert’s Cove” and “High Ground” to his credit. His work moves from pieces as contemporary as today’s news, to songs that sound as if they were rediscovered from old country blues 78’s. These are songs that tell stories that will start you laughing and leave you crying.
Equally renowned as an instrumentalist and traditional performer, David is a master of the blues and slide guitar. Whether on the lap-style Weissenborn or the electric slide guitar, his spontaneous style crosses all the borders between country, blues and the avant-garde. With his 5/8″ socket and a sound that could peel the petunias off your mother’s porcelain, he is considered one of Canada’s finest slide guitarists.
David’s masterful songwriting is the theme of A Stone in My Pocket, the milestone double CD project released in 2004 by WEA in Canada and by IRD in Europe. For this project, David recorded fresh new versions of 30 of the most popular and moving songs from his 35 years of writing. He was joined by renowned musicians Oliver Schroer on violin and Tobin Frank on bass. A Stone in My Pocket has received critical acclaim as a landmark recording in Canadian roots music.
In 2007, a collective of alt-country Winnipeg musicians, led by Romi Mayes, Jaxon Haldane, and the D-Rangers, recorded the revered CD Beverly Street: an album of their new performances of some of the best of David’s original songs. David joined in for cameo appearances on the CD and contributed the title song for the project.
In 2008, David teamed up with fellow roots performer Rick Scott to record and release Double Vision, a duo CD of original songs that has garnered enthusiastic praise across Canada. David and Rick have toured together and performed at festivals in Canada, adding bassist Shelley Brown as a third member of the group.
Since 2009, David’s primary focus has been on his international career as a solo performer.
In 2011, David toured extensively in Canada and Europe and released a new CD of traditional Delta Blues, Rolling Fork to Gallows Point, that is being distributed internationally by IRD in Milan. Roots Music Canada has proclaimed this new CD as “A beautiful, rough and tumble blues record passionately played and lovingly recorded.”
David’s most recent album is Moon on Rough Bay, released in October, 2012. For his 20th album in a career spanning four decades, David Essig has brought together a compelling collection of original songs that highlight his work as one of Canada’s finest roots and blues singer/songwriter/guitarists.
Recorded in his home in Sointula on Malcolm Island, BC, the CD opens with the title song, Moon on Rough Bay – David’s stunning new song, written in the summer of 2012, about life BC’s remote coastal communities, followed by musical portraits of two of David’s earliest and closest colleagues: Willie P Bennett and Colleen Peterson.
In reviewing Moon on Rough Bay, Penguin Eggs magazine said, “David Essig is one of our most cherished touchstones for the Canadian way of life.”
In 2013, David’s career took a new turn with the publication of his first novel, Dancing Hand. The book is available in trade softcover and as an e-book and has been well-received by the reading public in North America.
Here is a sampling of readers’ reviews:
“What a beautiful story, wonderfully crafted and simply a pleasure to read. One of those stories that filters down and sits inside, lingering there. Thank you so much for it.”
“Loved it. A very good read that intrigued me with all the characters and their interconnections. Now what will I read when a good book comes to an end?”
“It reads like a ballad. Beautifully done.”
“Touched all the sensesand made me want to head back to Italy.”
In 2013 David was a featured participant at the Festival of the Written Word in Sechelt, BC.
In 2014, he read and performed at the Word On the Lake Festival in Salmon Arm, BC. David also was a featured performer at the Islands Folk Festival in Duncan, BC and on several concert/reading tours across Canada.
David will be on tour in 2015 and is scheduled to perform in the summer at several Canadian folk/roots festivals, including the Vancouver Island Musicfest.