MusicFest Concert Series


The Cumberland Hotel

This concert has already happened. You might want to check out our upcoming shows.

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Two of Canada’s finest

Both now live in Nashville

They’ve played together before and at this concert, will perform solo and as a duo…

A rare treat in an intimate setting for the Comox Valley.

Linda McRae

Though perhaps best-known for her eight-year tenure as a member of the platinum-selling band Spirit of the West, Linda McRae had already raised a daughter and performed for more than ten years with west coast punk and roots outfits before joining Spirit.

Performing on banjo, guitar and accordion her warm and world-weary voice, unforgettable melodies and thought-provoking lyrics, make McRae a captivating and sought-after artist. Promoter Fernando Pinto says “One song breaks your heart, the next one puts it back together”.

In 2006, McRae found love and much more with James Whitmire, a retired American rancher who had recently discovered his voice as a poet. Whitmire – who she pays tribute to on the album with the song “My Man” – became her manager, collaborator, and constant source of moral support while she’s out on the road. A recovered addict, who’s been clean for more than 28 years, Whitmire has life experience that many incarcerated individuals and at-risk youth relate to, and that has helped the couple build trusting connections through their therapeutic Express Yourself Writing Workshops currently being presented in detox centres, alternative schools, and youth and adult correctional facilities across North America.

That work, in turn, has inspired McRae, whose new album is chalk-full of raw, honest reflections on hardship delivered with a rough-hewn authenticity.

Steve Dawson

Over the past two decades, Steve Dawson has become such an indelible fixture on the Canadian musical landscape that it’s tempting to take him for granted. The music that flows out of him is so natural and authentic that it’s possible to forget all of the toil that went into producing it.

Behind the seemingly endless stream of award winning musical output (he has produced and/or played on more than 80 albums since the turn of the millennium, 7 of which have won Juno Awards), is one of the hardest working musicians this country has ever produced. Whether he’s turning heads on the concert circuit with his incendiary playing, or pulling the best possible performances out of the many artists that he works with in the studio, Dawson is always striving to take things to the next level.

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A native of Vancouver, Canada, but currently residing in Nashville, where he works as a solo artist, sideman, and record producer, Steve has forged an impressive career full of highlights and awards, including:

  • 7 Juno Awards as artist/producer, 18 times nominated
  • 3 times named “Producer Of The Year” at Western Canadian Music Awards
  • 3 times named “Producer Of The Year” at Canadian Folk Music Awards

Recipient of many other awards including Maple Blues Awards, Grand Prix De Jazz De Montreal, Blues Blast Awards, and many Western Canadian Music Awards and Canadian Folk Awards as an artist and producer.
Steve’s multi-faceted career has brought him to countless international festivals, working on the stage and in the studio with an extensive cast of musicians, including John Hammond, Sonny Landreth, Van Dyke Parks, Colin James, Jim Byrnes, Jill Barber, Dave Alvin, Bob Brozman, Tim O’Brien, Fats Kaplin, Colin James, Colleen Rennison,The McCrary Sisters, Matt Chamberlain, Del Rey, Long John Baldry, Bruce Cockburn, Kelly Joe Phelps, Linda McRae, CR Avery, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Geoff Muldaur, Scott Amendola, Danny Barnes, The Deep Dark Woods, Colin Linden, and many others.

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