Friday 9 December 2016
Wolfgang's Vault

40yearsofstonyplaincover40 Years of Stony Plain
Various Artists
Label: Stony Plain
Release Date: June 3, 2016

Stony Plain Records, Canada’s premier roots music label, has released a special 3-CD set, 40 Years of Stony Plain, which includes cuts from its illustrious history of albums, as well as a complete disc of rarities and previously unreleased tracks.

“Celebrating Stony Plain’s 40th Anniversary by putting together this specially priced three CD set has been a joy,” writes label founder/president Holger Petersen in the album package. “Not only going back over those years and selecting some of our favorite tracks, but to also dig deeper to find rare and previously unreleased material by old friends Eric Bibb, Duke Robillard, Maria Muldaur, David Wilcox, the late Bob Carpenter, Walter ‘Shakey’ Horton and the legendary Sam Chatmon and His Barbeque Boys from 1979. With extensive notes and packaging, this stunning collection of 47 songs will be a joyful surprise for true music fans everywhere.”

Long-time label friend and celebrated Canadian publicist Richard Flohil contributes an insightful timeline to Stony Plain’s history and contributions to the music industry in his liner notes.

“As I write, I realize that this is the seventh time that I’ve written this opening sleeve note for a collection of music tracks for a Stony Plain Records compilation,” states Flohil. “What’s ‘new’ in the history of this unique Canadian roots music label? Answer: Not much — except, amazingly, that Stony Plain’s still here, still releasing new music. And that it’s the oldest independent record company (in Canada) that’s persevered for four decades with the same ownership.

“Every five years, starting with the label’s 10th anniversary, Stony Plain has released a compilation of new and old material from the vaults. And every five years, an opening sleeve note introduces (or re-introduces) the Stony Plain story to the people who are listening to the music.”

Recognized worldwide for its consistent quality roots and blues releases, one of Stony Plains early fans was legendary Atlantic Records music producer and label executive Jerry Wexler, who singled out the independent label for praise.

“The Independent Label is the soul of the record biz; on one hand the fount and nurturer of the new and untested, the eschewer of the Commercial Compromise,” said Wexler. “On the other, it is the Enunciator of the Gospel of Low Overhead. Behold the Stony Plain catalogue, not large but lapidary, and wonder how (Holger Petersen) has done it with such small staff. And he always returns my phone calls. He has a wonderful label, he presents wonderful music, and I congratulate him.”

Stony Plain Records has earned 6 Grammy nominations and a shelf full of Canadian accolades, including 11 Juno Awards, some 20 Maple Blues Awards, and Canadian Country Music Association awards as well. The Blues Foundation named Stony Plain as the 2014 label of the year, and Holger Petersen as broadcaster of the year in 2008. This year, he marks his 30th year as the host of Saturday Night Blues, nationally broadcast every week on CBC Radio; he also continues to host Natch’l Blues each week on CKUA after 47 years.

“Since 1976, Stony Plain has reflected its owners’ eclectic tastes, survived, and continues to release vibrant, substantive music,” Richard Flohil writes. “The label’s genesis goes back a little further than that — Petersen has been a music addict since he was a little kid, and his enthusiasms have led him (often simultaneously) in a variety of different directions.

“Petersen’s also earned two honorary doctorate degrees from Athabasca University and the University of Alberta, and — most important of all — was inducted into the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civil honor, for his services to Canadian culture in 2003.

“Having released more than 400 albums since the label began at the kitchen table of a suburban Edmonton house, Stony Plain continues to flourish. Amid dire predictions of recorded music’s demise over the years, Stony Plain is still here, thanks to the determination and enthusiasm of the people that founded the label and those who work there. And Holger Petersen, at 66, is still having fun and still finding artists and music and songs that turn him on and which he thinks will appeal to people who care about the roots of popular music.”

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