If getting countrified on a Friday night sounds good to you, then you best make your way to Trout Creek this Friday September 23rd, because Canadian fiddle legend Calvin Vollrath is putting the bow to the strings once the 7:30 bell rings.
It all takes place at the Trout Creek Community Centre at 181 Main Street West. Tickets are $25 and can be picked up at the Municipal Office at 250 Clark Street in Powassan or you can buy them from Vollrath’s website at www.calvinvollrath.com/tickets. Tickets will also be available at the door.
A couple of years have passed since Vollrath has taken the stage, as Covid derailed his touring plans. “This is the first tour since February 2020,” he said, and he’s glad to be back on the road, his favourite Roth made fiddle by his side. “We’re loving it,” he said, and he’s looking forward to taking the stage at Trout Creek again.
He was in town “just a few years ago,” he said, around 2019, “and it was wonderful. I’ve got some fiddling friends around there, and they have a long fiddle history in the area,” so naturally, he feels right at home.
His stop at Trout Creek marks the end of his Ontario tour, and before that, he was playing through Quebec. Once the curtain closes in Trout Creek, he’s heading back home to Alberta, to begin a Western tour. His long-time friend and musical accompanist, Jeremy Rusu, has joined him for all the stops, and he’ll be in Trout Creek as well, backing up Vollrath on either piano, accordion or guitar.
Together the two put on a country show to be remembered, and it’s this live energy that has helped develop Vollrath’s reputation as one of the best fiddlers to rosin a bow. He learned all the classics and before long took to writing his own songs—over 800 tunes—and “some of those have become standards” with other players throughout North America and Europe “which I’m so honoured by.”
When organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver wanted fiddle songs for the opening ceremonies that “represented Canada,” they called on Vollrath to pen five songs for the occasion. He’s toured with Willy Nelson, played with Vince Gil, Dolly Parton, and Anne Murray and the list goes on.
The man is a country legend, and when not on the road, he lives with his wife in St.Paul, Alberta. He has a home studio there he calls the “Astromonical Studio,” which he uses to record albums during the winter months.
Spring to fall is for touring, and once the snow flies it’s time to settle into making albums. He’s recorded and produced many artists and bands, and also works on his own material. His first album, Old Time Fiddle, was released in January 1982, and to date, Vollrath has 72 studio albums, some of which will be on sale at the show.
On stage, Vollrath plays everything from Don Messer to Bob Wills to instrumental versions of Elvis songs. Ray Price country shuffles will be heard, and all manner of old school country swing. “We play a little bit of everything,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing everybody up there again,” Vollrath said, “and playing the tunes they love. It’s an old country fiddle crowd,” in Trout Creek, he said, and come Friday, he’s going to give the people exactly what they want—some old-time country fiddlin’.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.