JUNO-nominated artist Gary Rasberry’s musical journey calls for a map and an imagination willing to colour outside the lines. Consulting the map’s legend provides clues: singer-songwriter, imagination consultant, acoustic entrepreneur, “interior decorator,” journeyman wordsmith.
One constant is his desire to live in the place where words become music. For the most part, this involves scratching out songs and poems and, more often than not, an acoustic guitar to bang them into shape and bring them into the world.
Rasberry’s songwriting offers a path to travel, one that winds its way through the astonishing worlds of children in classrooms and at campfires, as well as the lives of those who come to evening coffeehouses and intimate acoustic venues. His songs belong equally in both worlds although they draw from seemingly disparate sources. Catch a show on a children’s stage and you might detect echoes of Pete Seeger and a splash of Fred Penner. Later the same day, with children tucked in safely, Rasberry’s artistry aspires to and imagines a conversation, however brief and improbable, between Neil Young and Bruce Cockburn. He regularly criss-crosses the country as VIA Rail Artist on Board from Halifax to Vancouver, with stops along the way to honour his ‘day job’ as artist-in-residence at schools and libraries, and to work the night shift as an acoustically-driven songwriter and performer.
In addition to his solo work, Gary Rasberry is one-third of the acoustic trio Fireweed (A little like CSN—a lot less famous). Now ‘semi-retired,’ Fireweed was a staple on the festival circuit for almost 20 years. He also performs with Sedan Delivery, a Neil Young tribute band that charts an adventurous sonic path through the Crazy Horse catalogue.
Off the record but of note: Favourite font—Garamond. Dark chocolate embraced as a food group. Ditto with espresso (genius doesn’t happen on decaf). No performance venue too big or too small.
Gary Rasberry’s latest release, Polishing Stone, offers a path to travel for those who love to live in the place where words become music. It’s a collection of songs fueled by love. Love for children. Love for family. Love for friends. Love for this one beautiful life we’ve been gifted. Rasberry’s artistry aspires to, and imagines a conversation, however brief and improbable, between Neil Young & Bruce Cockburn.
"Songs of gratitude and tenderness. Songs of innocence and insight. Spun through with both sun and moon. Let yourself be swept away by its joy and grace."
—David Penberg, Woodstock Independent School