The Sound Cafe
Rick Fines Is Solar Powered Too On New Release
Steeped in roots music, Rick Fines crafts a unique blend of warm-hearted blues, juke joint folk, and dockside soul that both embraces and defies the genres that influence him. As a veteran of the North American blues and folk circuits, he engages audiences with captivating songs, diverse guitar styling and his signature vocal growl.
Rick’s storied career has seen him working in stellar collaboration and as a successful solo act. First gaining attention as part of the legendary Jackson Delta, he’s since released four solo albums, another with his own Rick Fines trio, and a critically acclaimed disc with fellow troubadour, Suzie Vinnick. Along the way he has racked up both awards and accolades. His 15-year stint with Jackson Delta received both Juno and Handy award nominations. His partnership with Suzie garnered a Maple Blues Songwriter of the Year Award. On his own, he’s pulled in two more Maple Blues Awards (for Solo Act of the Year), as well as an astonishing eight other nominations. While his songwriting chops won him a 2003 International Songwriting Competition, he’s equally proficient on guitar – having played for legendary blues piano player Pinetop Perkins, songstress Colleen Peterson, folk icon Penny Lang, and many others.
Equally at home alone at the microphone or leading a stage of fellow players, Rick has performed everywhere from the National Gallery and Governor General’s Garden Party to Montreal Jazz, Ottawa BluesFest, the Edmonton Folk Festival, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. International tour highlights include visits to France, Italy, Scotland, Newfoundland, BC’s Gulf Islands, and the Northern Arctic.
Rick believes in the transformative power of music. When not performing, he can be found teaching and sharing with students across Canada – including work with the Blues In The Schools programs in Ottawa, Saskatoon, Toronto, and Yellowknife. He’s also participated in the Ontario Arts Council’s Artists in Education program.
On his newest album, Solar Powered Too, the bulk of the songs were recorded in a little gazebo in the North Kawartha woods, with solar power. You can hear the crickets and cicadas if you listen carefully.
“After spending a lot of my time playing on my National Steel, I knew I wanted to make another album for guitar and voice, only this time it would be mostly slide guitar on a steel bodied guitar”, says Fines. “I decided I wanted to return to my little cabin in the Kawartha Highlands and record again with the modest solar powered setup there - two panels and 4 golf cart batteries.”The seclusion of the recording process has paid off immensely – bringing to life the honesty of his lyrics and accessibility of his music.
With 11 originals and co-writes, and one cover of a Jesse Winchester song (That’s What Makes You Strong), Solar Powered Too is a powerful release, ripe with vivid images of sorrow, optimism, and the complexities of life. Featuring appearances from other respected Canadian artists such as Alec Fraser, Gary Craig, Roly Platt, Melissa Payne, Jimmy Bowskill, Rob Phillips, Suzie Vinnick, Stacie Tabb, Sherie Marshall and Samantha Martin, Solar Powered Too is Rick Fines’ most accomplished album to date. “Releasing an album during a pandemic, when all my gigs are cancelled is a little strange“, he says. “But this album was made with the help of my friends and it carries that strength on its journey.”