Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, sideman, innovator, recording artist, award winner. His names are many, but underlying that is a young man with an old soul who has traveled the world for the past 23 years bringing a unique brand of joy to audiences wherever he goes.
J.P. Cormier began playing guitar, self taught, at the age of 5 and quickly became immersed in the rich musical heritage of his Cape Breton roots. His ability to play the guitar self-taught, and almost any music he heard by ear
astounded everyone who heard him. By the age of 9, he was considered a genuine prodigy and won his first guitar competition against 30 other players three times his age. Between the ages of 11 and 16, J.P. began displaying another unique talent - it seemed he could play almost any stringed instrument he picked up! However it was his guitar playing which shone with his flawless executions of tunes he learned from records of giants like Chet Atkins and Doc Watson.
By the age of 16 he had released his first album, a collection of bluegrass guitar instrumentals, and began touring as a sideman on the U.S. festival circuit. These appearances led to 10 years of television spots, tours, recording sessions, and many memorable evenings at the Grand Ole Opry with such notable artists as Waylon Jennings, Marty Stuart, Earl Scruggs, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt and Kitty Wells. Crowning his U.S. achievements was an appearance on CBSís televised extravaganza reopening of the Ryman Auditorium, the original Grand Ole Opry
building in 1994.
J.P.ís solo career didnít really begin until meeting Hilda Chiasson at a Louisiana festival in 1994. He and Hilda, herself a world renowned Cape Breton pianist, were in the studio not three months later cutting the album "Return to the Cape". During the recording production, they decided to be married and settled in Alabama while J.P. fulfilled his remaining contracts in Nashville and abroad.
During this time, Hilda began sifting through his immense catalogue of
original songs and convinced him he should return home and try singing them for the maritime audiences. Although terrified at the thought of becoming Ďthe front maní, in the summer of 1995, J.P. Cormier & Co. was born. Almost instantly, J.P.ís incredible stage presence combined with his nervous humility and razor sharp wit was a success with every crowd.
To date, his eight albums and relentless touring have earned him a Juno nomination, and multiple ECMA nominations and wins including, most recently, the 2005 awards for Instrumental Album of the Year and Bluegrass Album of the Year for "X8Öa mandolin collection".
With the release of "X8" and his usual busy touring schedule, 2004 proved to be another jam packed year for J.P.Cormier.
Festival appearances brought him to Scotland, Denmark, Kentucky, New York, and home to Nova Scotia, while tour dates took J.P. into the U.S., and across Canada including three night runs as guest performer with the
Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Symphony New Brunswick.
In August, J.P. began working with artist manager Andre Bourgeois. Many exciting plans are underway.
January 2005 saw the release of J.P.ís highly anticipated Gordon Lightfoot tribute album titled "The Long River: A Personal Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot". Six years in the making, the album includes eighteen Lightfoot classics and an added track penned by J.P. The project is truly a labour of love with Cormier being the lone instrumentalist and vocalist. From 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars, electric guitars, drums, percussion, strings, keyboards, fiddle, banjo, bass, mandolin and piano, Cormier stays true to the albumís claim of being a "personal tribute". The release
coincided with the Gordon Lightfoot tribute tour of Ontario where J.P. joined other talented artists from across Canada in concerts celebrating the work of Gordon Lightfoot.
Dates later this year will bring J.P. back to the U.S. and to some of Canadaís premiere festivals including the Calgary, Canmore and Edmonton Folk Festivals.
Finally, it was just announced that J.P. is among the winners in the International Songwriting Competition (ISC). The ISC reviewed 11,000 submissions from over 70 countries to arrive at the list of 48 winners. J.P. placed third in the Instrumental category for his original guitar piece "Rollo Boys Reel" (Primary Color... a guitar collection.)
J.P. tours 250 days a year with his wife Hilda Chiasson-Cormier on piano and harmony vocals, and multiinstrumentalist Darren McMullen. No matter the combination, J.P.ís performances are simply electrifying.
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