Over the last year or so, Grant Simpson has made his living as a musician on planes, trains, tours and festivals —
In August 2013, he performed at the Blue Skies Music Festival in Ontario. From there he winged his five-piece band (The Grant Simpson Quintet) to the Nanjing Jazz and World Music Festival in China for six performances in and around Nanjing, China. Back in Ottawa he played a series of concerts with Kate Weekes that started at MacDonald’s Corner in Ontario. He boarded the VIA Rail train and performed from Montreal to Halifax where he began a series of 12 shows taking him to Three Fathom Harbour NS Charlos Covec NS, St. Peters in Cape Breton, NS, Moncton, NB, Charlottetown PEI, Summerside PEI, Shediac Bridge NB, LaHave NS, Halifax NS, and West Chezzetcook NS.
All aboard the train once more, Grant performed from Halifax back to Ottawa where he disembarked to perform in Kemptville and Perth, Ontario, then head south to New York to soak up some of the 1920’s jazz vibes from his heroes past and present.
In January 2014 he flew back to his home base, Whitehorse, Yukon to work on several projects including a series of youth jazz workshops for Jazz Yukon. He released a new CD with Annie Avery called “Two Piano Tornado” and toured it around the Yukon.
In February he accompanied the outstanding British Music Hall star Gillian Campbell for a series of performances for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, He accompanied Maria Bridge for a series of concerts in the Yukon, was featured performer in a Jazz Yukon concert called “The Singer-Songwriters of Jazz” and performed several times with local songstress Fawn Fritzen around Whitehorse.
In March he wrote 14 miniatures for an education “app” that has since been released for Apple and Blackberry and finished an original musical he has been working on with Roy Ness called “Dog Town” which is scheduled for full production in Spring 2016.
In May Grant launched the 45th season of the world famous “Frantic Follies Vaudeville Show”, a production he has been involved with for the past 35 years. During the regular run of the Frantic Follies (May through September), Grant took a few days off to fly to Iqaluit to perform in the “The Alianait Arts Festival” then to Yellowknife and Ottawa for concerts with Fawn Fritzen.
In September Grant recorded a new CD with Yukon fiddler Keitha Clark to be released in Februrary 2015. He recorded on Kate Weekes new CD “Frost on Black Fur” and performed the subsequent CD Release Concert in Whitehorse.
In October he began a tour of BC with “Two Piano Tornado” which included: Stage House Theatre in Kamloops, the Minstrel Café in Kelowna, and House Concerts in Quesnel, Prince George, Dawson Creek, Manning Alberta, Fairview, Alberta, Ft. St. John, Hudson Hope, MacKenzie, Fraser Lake, New Hazelton, Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers, Quesnel and Enderby.
He climbed back on board the VIA Rail train to perform from Vancouver to Toronto where he began a series of concerts with Kate Weekes, performing in: Ganonoque, Perth, Ottawa, Kingston, Kemptville, Montreal, Stitsville, Peterborough, Toronto, London, Kingsville and Guelph. One last train ride saw him perform his way back from Toronto to Vancouver and embark on a series of shows including Malcolm Island, Courtenay, Port Alberni, Duncan and Thetis Island.
Add a couple dozen radio and TV appearances in China and across Canada and you have a glimpse of what life is like for this Nanaimo-born musician who calls the Yukon home — travelling and performing music is what Grant Simpson does.
CD/Recordings featuring Grant Simpson:
2000 Seaulo Piano (recorded in Seaul Korea)
2003 Stride and True (solo recording)
2006 Born 40 Years Too Late (with New Orleans North)
2010 Beneath the Yukon Moon (with Kate Weekes)
2013 Two Piano Tornado (with Annie Avery)
2014 Memories for Harold (with Keitha Clarke and Rob Bergman)
Grant has appeared on dozens of recordings as a pianist, banjoist, musical saw player and guitarist. A new music video done with puppets is being released this December by Nicole Edwards which features a song co-written by Grant and Nicole.