"...sings with a soaring
voice of unparalleled sincerity."
Ed McCurdy, author of LAST NIGHT I HAD THE
"Expect the same unequaled
musicianship and sharp lyrics which have characterized Tufts's
career to date."
Derek Raymaker, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN
"Tufts has the perfect
Rick Overall, THE OTTAWA SUN
"...in high demand...well-respected
for his instrumental talents as well as his warm, natural
Lynn Saxberg, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN
"...a triple threat:
songwriter, singer, and talented multi-instrumentalist..."
Mike Regenstreif, THE GAZETTE, MONTREAL
“His mastery of a variety
of stringed instruments...has led him to be revered as one of Canada’s
Stephen Flood, OTTAWA X-PRESS
…"a musician's musician,
a virtuoso finger-style guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and a fine songwriter…"
Ontario Council Of Folk Festivals FOOTPRINTS
Tufts is one of the finest finger-style guitarists in Canada."
Star THE BETTER FIGHT
review by Greg Quill
Ottawa songwriter and guitarist Terry Tufts is a gifted musician with a strong
sense of melody and structure, and sensibilities rooted in the golden age
of the big-voiced folk-pop troubadour, circa 1975. This collection of 13
originals, produced by Borealis boss Bill Garrett, is as good as or better
than anything those guys ever did. Always eminently listenable, and notwithstanding
the anachronistic overtones, Tufts takes a big step out of the folk realm
that has been his home for the past few years and onto a musical stage that
embraces elegant, almost symphonic arrangements, world music, jazz and progressive
pop elements, as well as traditional forms. Melodies are breathtakingly beautiful,
as is Tufts' pure and steely tenor, and his stunning guitar work is allowed
to anchor every piece, though he's surrounded in these songs of warning and
diminishing hope for a better world by some exceptionally fine players, among
whom pianist Mark Ferguson, drummer Ross Murray and back-up singer Jesse
Winchester are outstanding.
SING OUT! MAGAZINE
REVIEW OF THE BETTER FIGHT BY RICH WARREN
Terry Tufts is the type of songwriter who takes no prisoners.
His straight-ahead, carefully crafted songs leap off the disc. He includes
a baker’s dozen of original and co-written songs, covers, a traditional song
and a pair of instrumentals. The songs alternate between topical songs
of social conscience and pop love songs. In the foldout lyric sheet
he guides the listener with influences and/or intent for each song.
Thus, for “Black Velvet Elvis,” for example, which he co-wrote with K.E.
Briggs and D.J. Francey, he writes: ”Think Stephen Stills, The Outchibouec
Nation,” “Dirty Little War” is a unique anti-war song filled with unusual
images and phrasing that pointedly puts the message across. “Embracing
The Addiction” protests another war, the one of man against nature, although
it could be interpreted more broadly. “The Better Fight” suggests a
positive life philosophy of no regrets, living for all you’re worth.
He does an amazing interpretation of the traditional “Awake Ye Drowsie Sleeper”.
He begins a cappella like the Ian and Sylvia version, then in the second
verse adds subtle accompaniment. Each verse builds until the song explodes
into a full dissonant rock interlude and then turns to the subtle accompaniment
of the earlier verses to great effect. Tufts sings with an engaging,
comfortable voice and he’s a dynamic guitarist. He also plays mandolin
and cittern. Six able musicians accompany him on this highly produced
CD by Bill Garrett. If you enjoy the pop side of folk, you can’t
do much better than Terry Tufts.
DIRTY LINEN MAGAZINE
REVIEW OF THE BETTER FIGHT BY MITCH RITTER (Beaverton, OR)
Strip away the techno accoutrements of Bruce Cockburn’s last two decades.
Filter the Canadian giant of song’s Christian humanism through the less jaded
global outlook sported in Cockburn’s jazzier late-70’s/early 80s Further
Adventures of period, then add homey charisma amid rhythmically astute session
players, and voila!
Terry Tufts’s tracks blossom like spring after a dark brooding winter.
Not quite free of den fever or shorn of hibernation’s hairier excesses, such
as the uncharacteristically lame instrumental “Pursuant To My Nature,” Tufts
gives his sparkling rhythm section its head as Mark Ferguson’s runaway piano
noses out Tufts’s own meteor-showering acoustic guitar picking on the very
next track, “Awake Ye Drowsie Sleeper.”
Biloxi “Rhumba Man” Jesse Winchester revisits his cool blue northern redoubt
joining Tufts’s Ottawa sessions to add giddy backing vocals on “Black Velvet
Elvis” (a Briggs-Francey-Tufts co-write, not Rex Fowler’s caped crowd pleaser
from his Aztec Two Step hiatus).
Rob Graves adds Afro-Brazilian polyrhythm with Kalimba and a percussion section.
Ross Murray’s drums, alongside John Geggie’s bass, accent Tufts’s hammered-on
steel string notes as they spring forth, double-helixing a marvelous melody
line around Mark Ferguson’s chiming touch on piano strings. Add Memphis-stacked
trombone (Ferguson again) to a solidly bassed Oakland bottom on the Isley
Brothers soul-inspirer “I Got Work To Do.” Mix in Tufts’s scatted vocalese
and funkily arpeggio’d acoustic guitar, and we get an above-Average White
Band activist anthem streaming from suburban windows out to any rainbow coalition
ready to get the war-stopping job done.
SING OUT! 2 Nights
Solo Review by Angela Page
Terry Tufts has made his
musical lifetime making other singers sound good. However, this live album
from Ottawa’s Rasputin’s stage, clearly shows why Terry should not
be bound to back-up work. His vocals are delivered with the same strength
as his slid and impressive guitar work, even when reaching a higher register,
in fact, especially in these ranges. There is something about the sound
that revisits that combination of Lightfoot’s voice and Red Shea’s guitar
work but spilling from only one man. Is Terry’s sound definable as Canadian,
or is it just that his strings have backed many a Canadian over these past
A particular standout on the CD is “Marylou In Burgundy.” This
tune, not new to Tufts’ repertoire, documents the beginning performer’s
hell and abuse of “No one listening, no one leaving.” Then a certain lady
walks in and catches his eye and he has trouble concentrating. The song
bounces on the guitar as he sings about his attraction to the Irish woman
wrapped in the shawl of royal burgundy. The Irishness of the woman seeps
“a wee bit” into the lyrics and the beat. “I ducked back in my song” is
an appropriated visual as he notices that this Irish attraction has been
waiting on a date.
Terry’s guitar work is exceptional. The opener here is a solid
instrumental, and this live performance captures three instrumentals and
10 songs, including a Lennon / McCartney cover. Though I have always enjoyed
what he adds musically for other musicians, it is great to hear his own
voice accompanying that skill - AP
VICTORIA MUSIC REVIEW Two Nights Solo Review by James
#130, Borealis, 225 Sterling
Rd.., #19, Toronto, Ontario M6R 2B2 Canada
Canadian singer-songwriter Terry Tufts really knows how to play the
guitar. His fingers weave the notes tightly together, creating a loose
and comfortable musical garment that you enjoy being in. Two Nights Solo
captures Terry live at Rasputin's Folk Cafe in Ottawa on October 9th and
10th, 1998. Why it took four years to bring this recording to press I'll
never know, but it is worth the wait. The thirteen songs are divided up
into three instrumentals that allow you to marvel at Terry's skill and
ten vocals where his genial voice invites you along for the story. While
the upbeat "Tearin'Up The Tundra" and the beautiful "Marylou In Burgundy"
held my attention, I yearned to hear that brilliant guitar. I do not mean
this as an insult. His vocals are strong but the instrumentals left me
wanting to hear more of them. Try on Terry Tufts for yourself.
NAPRA Review of
Tufts, a veteran folk artist and respected session musician, finds ample
expression for his multi-instrumental and songwriting capabilities on his
fifth solo release. A smooth, warm voice, expert handling of guitar, dobro,
and 5-string banjo, and a welcoming, investigative aesthetic blend into
classic songs of family, memory, love, and the mystery of life. Eight
originals and two covers (including John Martyn's "Sweet Little Mystery")
range from wistful to upbeat, bespeaking this Singer-songwriter's craft.
Tufts is also a champion eco-warrior, and makes a plea in him liner notes
to "stop Environment Canada and the Ministry of Natural Resources [Canada]
from cutting down our forests and exporting our water." He further suggests
that listeners "refuse unrecycled material," a brave - and appropriate -
stance in today's paper-packaged and printed market. So here's to Tufts,
and to excellent, thoughtful substance. - MTB
Dirty Linen - Linen Shorts
Terry Tufts Walk On [Borealis
BCD 130 (2001)] Call me an American chauvinist, but "country" has always
called to mind "Nashville" or "Austin" - not "Ottawa." Now Walk On from
Terry Tufts has changed mind. In a dreamy ramble through 10 originals and
covers, Tufts proves that his roots go as deep as those of all the Hanks
and Dollys on this side of the U.S./Canadian border. He displays a wry,
Nashville-ready wit with lyrics like "You got a habit of bein' so sweet…the
best kind of woman any man could wanna meet…hope nobody knows this but me."
Canada's national treasure Willie P. Bennett wails away on mouth harp and
joins Peter von Althen on drums, Ken Kanwisher on Bass, and a cast of seemingly
thousands to keep the uptempo "Look To Yourself For Heaven" chuggin and "Swing
Her About" swinging. Every so often, Tufts and company dip into the deeper
pool from which all good country music is made, with meditations on death
and eternity like the haunting "In the Eleventh Hour" and the homage to his
father, Floyd, on "My Father Would Say." The covers include John Martyn's
"Sweet Little Mystery" and a suitably corny "Deep Purple." (PMW)