Spirit Of The West Biography

Formed in Vancouver, Canada, nouveau roots band Spirit Of The West comprise songwriters Geoffrey Kelly (flute, tin whistle, bodhrán) and John Mann (guitar/vocals), as well as Vince Dietrich (drums), Linda McRae (bass/guitar/accordion) and Hugh McMillan (bass/mandolin). They have been mainstays of the Canadian folk and rock scenes since making their debut in 1984 with a self-titled collection released on their own Triniti Records. Two further studio albums and a compilation emerged before the group signed with Warner Brothers Records, Canada in 1989. Each of their major label albums have enjoyed significant domestic success, with 1993’s Faithlift reaching gold status in Canada. However, the group’s impact elsewhere has been lessened by their shifting alliances with US record companies. Their material has been licensed to labels including Rounder, Flying Fish, Discovery and Elektra Records in that territory. Their most notable release of the 90s was Open Heart Symphony, a collaboration with the 81-member Vancouver Symphony Orchestra which took place in 1995. In preparation for the sessions, they appeared with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in Alberta in May 1995 - the same orchestra which had worked with Procol Harum in 1971 and with contemporary artists including Roberta Flack and Tom Jones. The ensuing shows with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra were also the subject of a one-hour documentary aired on the Canadian arts network, Bravo. The entire collaboration was based on original material written specifically for the event by Mann and Kelly, including the attendant single, ‘Williamson’s Garage’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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