Aside from being a singer-songwriter and guitar player, one of my loves is programming live music. Last year, my friends Rob & Candice Wigan purchased the iconic Stratford fine dining restaurant, The Church Restaurant and rechristened it REVIVAL HOUSE. Their vision for a contemporary music room was what I have been waiting for in Stratford since I moved here in 1999. This venue is simply perfect, with a large beautiful sanctuary for shows that can hold 140 seated, an upstairs bar called The Chapel, which is nicely separated and an outdoor patio for those hot and warm summer days and nights.

Musically speaking, I like finding artists that excite me, move me to tears, bring me to laugh and who's stories are filled with heart, hope and honesty. This year I have called on artists I have been following for several years and some I have just come across.

I hope you will join me in music and in song and welcome these fabulous artists to Stratford. Each show, while very different, will blow you away, I guarantee it!

Come join us at one of Ontario's newest, coolest, most intimate concert experiences anywhere!

I truly look forward to welcoming you!

Barry James Payne
Artistic Director
String Bone Presents!

October 14, 2016 - Gregory Hoskins

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Gregory Hoskins' career has spanned 26 years, 14 albums, and recording contracts in Canada, the U.S., Germany, and Asia.  Critically lauded since the 1991 release of Moon Come Up (True North/Sony), he has flown faithfully and agilely under the radar, touring nationally and internationally.   He has appeared on stage or in studio with Kevin Breit, Hawksley Workman, The Henrys, Rickie Lee Jones, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Serena Ryder, The Art of Time Ensemble, Bruce Cockburn, Sarah McLachlan, and The Neville Brothers, to name a few.

He brings to Revival House songs from his brand new recording, Vain + Alone.  He writes and sings with a certain muscular sorrow, songs for battle weary people who don't pretend to have all the answers...or any answers.  Soaring vocals over dark, vibey guitar work and churning rhythms lead audiences in and out of the shadows.  Don't worry— he's funny, too.

"...lyrics are real and bittersweet, arrangements are nimble, and the overall effect evokes a rum-based half dream involving Paul Simon, Joe Henry and truth.” (Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail).

October 28, 2016 - Steve Poltz

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Steve Poltz is obsessed with the challenge of knowing and understanding the thoughts of each and every person in his audience. He is a lover of life; fascinated by all things large and small. As a road-tested troubadour armed with whimsy, curiosity and a healthy respect for the absurdities of existence, he is unafraid of saying yes, unafraid of letting his relentless, giddy energy fill a room and he is unafraid of letting his streams-of-consciousness take him where he needs to go.

His songs are guileless snapshots filtered through the windshield of his brain. He opens his mouth and lets it fall out - a SONG - and it's as shameless and intriguing and profound and wondrous as he is. A mix of high octane performance, singular wit and endlessly entertaining storytelling, Steve is legendary for his improvisational songwriting and timeless, original classics, like Jewel's 'You Were Meant For Me' - yes he co-wrote that one! Oh, and he's a pretty good guitarist too.

November 5, 2016 - Séan McCann

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Sober, Survivor & Great Big Singer. Séan McCann, widely known as a member of internationally renowned band, Great Big Sea, has spent the last 20 years sailing around the world enamouring audiences from Copenhagen to California. Today his mantra is ‘help your self’, breaking the silence on his past addiction, abuse and using Music to change lives for the better.

Séan’s love for Newfoundland and Labrador folk songs shot him to international fame as a founding member of the renowned group Great Big Sea. After millions of albums sold, countless hit songs, and record breaking tours around the world, Séan realized that his 20 years with the band had to stop. Music is meant to connect, heal, and bring happiness. While Séan was giving that to thousands of people a night he was slowly losing his own way. Instead of seeking truth he was hiding behind his music. This was unfair to both himself and his fans so he left the band and started over.

November 18, 2016 - Fred Eaglesmith

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Fred Eaglesmith, a songwriter’s songwriter, has a depth that is informed by miles of experience as a true road dog. Fred is not only the star of show but also the bus driver and chief mechanic while on tour, keeping him and his band on the road. Unlike many of today’s artists, touring is not something he does some of the time or only in support of a new record. Touring is his life. His busy itinerary added up to more than 270 days on the road last year and saw Fred only returning home long enough to play a handful of local shows and to go into the studio to record the new album. This is a rare duo show with his partner Tif Ginn. Their chemistry is second to none and they have been making waves south of the border now for about two years to rave reviews any time they perform as a duo. It will be intimate, hilarious and engaging. And those iconic Fred songs. You'll hear lots of them. It'll be one of those shows you'll remember for a long time. Don't miss it!

January 27, 2017 - Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar

Bubbling up from the cauldron of roots Americana music, Samantha Martin is an artist of extraordinary power, gravitas and deep-seated emotion. On first listen, one is immediately struck by the awesome presence and sheer magnitude of her other worldly voice. Cigarette-ravaged and whiskey-soaked in the extreme, Martin’s pipes are capable of conveying an infinite range of emotions, bringing one to tears in one instance and in the next uplifting one’s soul with an empowered declaration of hope, faith and desire. As a vocalist her roots lie squarely within the wellspring of powerful, strong woman’s voices embodied by such forbears as Marion Williams, Mavis Staples, Etta James, Tina Turner, Bettye LaVette, Lucinda Williams and, perhaps most closely, Bonnie Bramlett. As a songwriter, she draws on black gospel and southern soul with a hint of roots country and sixties pop while her lyrics suggest an old soul with wisdom beyond her years.

February 24, 2017 - Alysha Brilla

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2014 & 2015 Juno Nominee and U.K Songwriting Contest winner Alysha Brilla is a critically acclaimed singer, songwriter and producer. She is Tanzanian-Canadian of the Indian diaspora. Her second full length album “Womyn” was released Sept 2014 and the title track was CBC Radio Song Of The Week. She plays guitar, piano and djembe, creating a unique original soul-folk sound which has been featured on stages internationally. WOMYN is the follow up to her Juno Nominated debut album, “In My Head“. The music video for her Swahili-infused song, “Nobody”, won the 2013 Ibiza Music Video Festival Fan Choice Award. Brilla’s music has been featured on major network television shows such as “King” and “Degrassi; the Next Generation”.

No stranger to touring, Alysha has played across Canada and the United States under her own name and within various bands and ensembles. These opportunities have provided her with opening for Juno award winner K-OS and include performances at The Montreal International Jazz Festival, The Mariposa Folk Festival, The L.A. Angel City Music Festival, The Kitchener Blues Festival
, Stratford Blues Festival, Oakville Jazz Festival, Summerfolk Festival, Stewart Park Festival, CBC Metro Morning Live, TEDxYouth Waterloo, The KW Multi-Cultural Festival and Dalhousie University.

March 24, 2017 - The Small Glories

Folk powerhouse pair The Small Glories are Cara Luft & JD Edwards, a dynamic new duo planted on the Canadian Prairies. They are a study in contrasts; Cara, all earth mother on her 21-speed bike, helmet and backpack, environmentally friendly and wholesome, ebullient and engaging; and burly JD, looking like a cross between a biker and long-haul trucker in scruffy beard, ball cap, t-shirt and jean jacket, slightly intimidating (until you meet him). At first glance few would peg them for a highly creative musical partnership. Yet these two veteran singer/songwriters have teamed up and are building a buzz around their tight harmonies, authenticity and visceral performances.

Luft is a Juno award winner, co-founder of folk trio The Wailin’ Jennys, and a touring road warrior. She has earned a solid reputation as an exciting live performer, accomplished guitarist, clawhammer banjo player and insightfully honest songwriter. Edwards has a voice that defies categorization, one that easily ranges from gentle and melodic to fierce and powerful, leaving listeners begging for more. He is truly one of the finest singers of his time. Together as The Small Glories, Luft and Edwards are a tour de force, a case of 1 + 1 = 3. 

April 7, 2017 - Craig Cardiff

For the past two and a half years, Craig Cardiff has been passing around a Book of Truths during his shows and asking his fans to share something truthful in it — a story, a confession, a hope, a secret.  The book gives fans a chance to write down something they might be too afraid to say out loud, and it gives Cardiff an opportunity to connect with the people who come to his shows.

Armed with an extensive catalogue of songs, his Book of Truths, sharp wit and soft voice, Cardiff is considered a pioneer in alternate venue touring, often appearing in churches, camps, prisons, basements, festivals, kitchens and even taking to the streets, bringing his fans with him. Over the years, he has played with and opened for artists such as Lucy Kaplansky, Dan Bern, Sarah Harmer, Kathleen Edwards, Blue Rodeo, Gord Downie (Tragically Hip), Hawksley Workman, Sarah Slean, Skydiggers, 54-40 and more.

“What I’ve found to be the essential key in his songs is versatility between the tracks. It’s Craig’s soft demure in vocals that tells the story; the melody that keeps you hooked. When you finish listening to a track or one of his albums as a whole, listeners realize that they and Craig speak the same language. It’s that truth that keeps Craig’s fans hungry for his next release.” Care Humphries, Velvet Rope

April 28, 2017 - Joe Crookson + The Young Novelists

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From Ithaca, NY. An artist, guitarist, painter, fiddler, and believer in all things possible.  Born to a songwriting mother, Joe is a musician/magician who embodies hope, cynicism, darkness, and beauty.  Live, he is fierce, creative and funny as hell.  With his ‘48 Gibson, slide guitar, fiddle, and an unwavering commitment to his art, Joe connects with his audience every time.  Always growing, he loves what he does.

Featured in the documentary film, “Blue Tattoo” and the 2016 Artist in Residence at the Folk Alliance International Conference, Joe is a Rockefeller grant recipient, whose songs are included in the new Rise Again songbook, and the upcoming film, “Brooklyn in July.”

Best quote~  “I hate folk music, but I absolutely LOVE Joe Crookston’s music.!”

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The Young Novelists are a Toronto-based husband and wife duo who trade witty stories and bittersweet songs with harmonies reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel and The Civil Wars. Their brand of "beautiful, soaring, rootsy Canadiana" has been connecting with audiences across Canada, the US, and Europe.

Their sophomore album 'made us strangers' earned the band the New/Emerging Artist award at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards as well as the Ontario Arts Council's Colleen Peterson Songwriting award.

The band is currently hard at work on their next album, which started with songs inspired by small towns across Ontario and the stories they might tell.

May 19, 2017 - Digging Roots

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This is the RETURN of the amazing Digging Roots. Their show this past May blew the roof off of Revival House. This is the first artist String Bone has presented that has received a standing ovation in the middle of their set. It is powerful stuff.

"The best way I can describe this duo (and 7 piece band) is electrifying. They are at once exotic, erotic, and hypnotic, topical, political and spiritual. I've never seen anoother act wake up a room quite like I did when I experienced Digging Roots". Glen Dias

With the release of their latest album project, For The Light, multi-award and JUNO winning alternative roots duo, Digging Roots, bring their nomadic wanderlust to sonic terrain. Featuring 12 original tracks that reflect a maturing sense of storytelling, husband and wife team Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish trade lead vocals, continuing to fluidly compliment each other’s strengths while going from whispery intimacies, to smokey wails.

Firmly inhabiting roots and blues, the album is an eclectic tapestry of light and dark sound with sweet harmonies and melodic accompaniments of ukulele, banjo, mellotron and of course Raven’s bombastic resonator guitar.