J.P. Cormier & Dave Gunning

J.P. Cormier & Dave Gunning

Back by popular demand, the supremely talented Canadian J.P. Cormier returns to the Shetland Folk Festival but this time with master craftsman Dave Gunning who is making his debut Shetland appearance.

Two of Canada's greatest roots singer-songwriters are bringing their musical genius to Shetland Folk Festival’s 40th event! Great friends, frequent collaborators, co-writers and touring partners, the pair have performed together for over 25 years after Cormier stepped in for a fiddle player who had dropped out of a Gunning show.  "We were totally blown away by J.P.’s playing,” recalls Gunning.

Hailing from Cape Breton J.P. Cormier is a first-class bluegrass/Folk/Celtic singer, song-writer, multi-instrumentalist and multi award winner. He has previously performed at four Shetland Folk Festivals (in 1997, 2004, 2012 and 2019). J.P. is an amazing individual who has been bringing his dazzling compositions and finger work to many theatres and festivals across the world for over 30 years. He began playing guitar at the age of 5 and quickly became immersed in the rich musical heritage of his Cape Breton roots. He moved to the USA for 10 years and performed many memorable nights at the Grand Ole Opry with notable artists such as Waylon Jennings, Marty Stuart and Earl Scruggs. Since winning his first guitar contest at age 9, he has claimed thirteen East Coast Music Award trophies, 5 Music Nova Scotia Awards and a Canadian Folk Music Award, as well as Juno Award nominations. As well as guitar, J.P. has played a vast list of other instruments on his albums including fiddle, upright bass, banjo, mandolin, drums, percussion, cello and piano. J.P. is much-loved performer at the Shetland Folk Festival, and it would appear that the feeling is mutual – he even had the festival’s logo tattooed on his arm in 2020!

Dave Gunning is best defined as a master craftsman. Over the course of 23 years and 11 earlier albums, the Nova Scotian folk singer/song-writer has diligently sharpened his skills, developing into a poetic storyteller and emotionally convincing singer with few equals. Along with richly deserved peer respect, Dave Gunning has earned a shelf full of music industry honours. That tally currently stands at eight East Coast Music Awards and two Canadian Folk Music Awards, plus a 2012 Juno Award nomination in the Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year category. His song-writing skill has also been internationally recognised, with tunes scoring victories and high placings in major international song-writing competitions.

In 2018, Dave Gunning and J.P. Cormier released a duo album, Two, which won an East Coast Music Award.

Says Gunning "We love singing together, we love playing guitar together, it just works."

Of the partnership Cormier says “when we sing together, we have a sibling harmony, we blend like brothers" and I'm sure Shetland Folk Festival audiences will absolutely agree.  

Great to have you back JP and a very warm welcome to Dave!