Paul Reddick is no stranger to the Juno Awards dance. He had been invited to the party as a nominee in the Blues Album of the Year category four previous times, once with his earlier band The Sidemen, and three times as a solo artist.
Perseverance paid off for the Toronto-based singer/songwriter this weekend in Ottawa, for he took home the trophy for his much-praised album Ride The One.
The honour “feels great and I am thankful," says Reddick. "I had a great band, a great producer in Colin Cripps, and a great record label, Stony Plain. It is a lovely thing certainly.”
To earn the Juno, Reddick beat out stiff competition, in the form of fellow veterans Colin James and Colin Linden, plus Whitehorse and Sean Pinchin. “It is sweet to be associated with all the people nominated, very much so,” says Reddick.
He adds that “I do hope it helps to broaden and increase the audience, though things are sparse these days. “
Ride The One is Reddick’s first record to be put out on noted Edmonton-based roots label Stony Plain. The disc was self-financed, then licensed to the label.
FYI contacted Stony Plain head Holger Petersen on Monday as he was flying home from the Junos. Clearly thrilled at Reddick’s win, he notes that “this is Stony Plain’s 12th Juno. This one is especially important since Paul is a true original who deserves much more attention.
It's a thrill for all of us. Ride The One is an adventurous album of original songs and sounds with contributions from amazing, inspired players. Colin Cripps produced and deserves huge credit.”
Petersen knows from experience that a Juno win does have positive career benefits. “I think because Paul is a veteran it means more to his career. It affirms the high quality of his work and writing. Blues and roots music is very much about building a long career and catalogue and continuing to grow.
“It certainly helps Paul's media profile in Canada and the Juno win info will be picked up by the blues and roots media around the world. It gives us a chance to reintroduce Ride The One to media who may have been on the fence when it was originally released. It's available through our network of international distributors.
The album has something of a history, Petersen explains. “Paul and I spoke about working together for a couple of years after many years of friendship. A full album was actually recorded but ultimately rejected by Paul. Paul and Colin Cripps redid it from scratch over just a few days with a great band that included Steve Marriner from MonkeyJunk. I had a smaĺl bit of input along the way but they had a strong vision.“
Aside from Marriner, the notable group assembled for Ride The One comprises Colin Cripps and Greg Cockerill on guitars, Anna Ruddick on bass, and Derek Downham on drums.
Look for the creative partnership with Stony Plain to continue. “Paul has been writing and we're looking forward to the next one,” says Petersen. “Paul is a true poet so it all stems from that. He's touring with his own band and with MonkeyJunk so it gives him a chance to write with Steve Marriner on the road. No timelines for it yet.“
MonkeyJunk frontman Marriner has become a close comrade and collaborator, Reddick reports. "I am self-managed and Steve helps with my bookings these days."
Toronto roots music authority/impresario Richard Flohil has long been a Paul Reddick fan. “I’ve known Paul for almost a decade, going back to when he used to have a band called The Sidemen (which recently did a reunion with the original members at the Dakota and packed the place).
"He’s something of an enigma; he supported his music career for a long time by walking dogs — he’s a keen birdwatcher, knows everything there is to know about butterflies and is a student of poetry, from William Blake to Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
"I’ve always been struck and impressed by the way he always SOUNDS like a blues artist, but the songs have lyrics and structures which push the blues envelope in a way no other artist in this idiom has done.
"He financed the Cobalt Prize, an award made in conjunction with the Toronto Blues Society and awarded to a blues song/artist who extends the genre. The opening spoken intro on his website articulates his philosophy of the blues…people should check it out!”
2017 marks Reddick’s 25th year as a recording artist, as The Sidemen’s self-titled debut came out in 1992. Their fourth and final album, 2001’s Rattlebag, won three Maple Blues Awards, including Album of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year, and earned a Juno nomination. Ride The One is his fourth solo record.
The Juno win will also help fuel interest in Reddick's upcoming Canadian touring. After shows in Toronto and Kitchener, Reddick heads out on a western tour, beginning in Calgary at the Ironwood on April 20 and concluding in Peace River, AB on April 29. Summer shows in PEI, Ontario and Alberta are also set. Check the full itinerary here
Reddick remains committed to his craft, stressing that "I am confident that my love of music will never falter. That is what sustains and inspires me."