P.E.I.’s finest fiddles firing up Emerald ceilidh

Courtney Hogan and Richard Wood take the stage with Gordon Belsher

Darlene Shea dshea@journalpioneer.com
Published on July 30, 2014

EMERALD ­– Prince Edward Island’s “new favourite redhead” will be joined by two of the Island’s finest musicians this Friday evening at the Emerald Boxcar Pub & Grill for the weekly ceilidh.

Countyline Road’s own Courtney Hogan has been playing the fiddle since she was 11 years old, after hearing her great-grandfather playing around with some old Don Messer tunes. But the popular Island artist admits she has to step up her game when she’s joined by internationally renowned artist Richard Wood.

“Richard and I have become good friends over the years and it’s so much fun to share the stage with him. And when you’re playing with the best, you have to bring your best and that’s what we’re going to be doing this Friday night,” says Hogan.

She’d be referring to Wood’s lengthy and successful fiddle career. For more than two decades, he has impressed audiences all across Canada, as well as in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Highlights include TV guest appearances with Shania Twain on “David Letterman” and “Good Morning America,” as well as playing for Canada’s prime minister and governor general, the Queen of England (in Toronto), and for the Emperor of Japan in Tokyo. “MacLean’s” magazine named him one of the Top 100 Canadians to watch in the 21st Century. His seemingly effortless fiddle music and on-stage energy has made him one of Prince Edward Island’s most beloved musicians.

And the firing fiddle duo will be joined on stage by good friend Gordon Belsher who is certainly no stranger to the music scene with a lengthy and successful career of his own. He has been entertaining audiences in Canada and around the world for more than 30 years, and has toured extensively across Canada, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan and Australia. His current solo CD won “Roots Traditional Recording of the Year” at the 2013 P.E.I. Music Awards.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that ceilidhs are typically completely unrehearsed so once Courtney and Richard get going, the guitar player just tries to hang on for dear life,” jokes Belsher.

Although originally scheduled to appear with Courtney again later this month, this will be the final appearance from Wood and Belsher in Emerald this year as they will be touring through Denmark. So local fans and visitors to the Island should enjoy this rare opportunity to hear some Celtic, traditional and fiddle music from this trio. 

The Ceilidh starts Friday, Aug. 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Emerald Community Centre. Admission is $10 at the door at the air conditioned and licensed facility. A full listing of upcoming shows and guests are available at www.courtneyhogan.com.