Welcome

 

Welcome to the website of the Montreal folkgrass trio Steel Rail. Strong original material, superb three-part harmonies and hot picking have helped Tod Gorr, Ellen Shizgal and Dave Clarke win a loyal fan base in Central Canada. After almost a decade of living on opposite ends of the continent, the threesome are back together in Quebec, making new acoustic music that reflects the best of the folk, bluegrass and country traditions.

Check out our latest album, Coming Home.

Aug. 6, 2022 

Come see us at the Upper Canada Folkfest Aug. 27!

Steel Rail joins a who's who of Canadian musicians at the Upper Canada Folkfest Aug. 27 in Prescott, Ontario.

Among the other artists at the one-day festival are David Francey, Rick Fines and Suzy Vinnick. The festival runs between 1 and 9 p.m. at the Prescott Kinsmen Amphitheatre, 101 Water St. W. in Prescott, which is about half-way between Cornwall and Kingston, just off the 401.

You can learn more about the lineup, location, etc. at the festival website. Tickets for the day cost $50, available here.

We'll be playing around 6:45 p.m., as the festival winds up. Stay tuned for more details!

 

 

Aug. 5, 2022 

Summer sounds along the river

Thanks to everyone who came out to our concert in Baie d'Urfé last night in spite of the pessimist weather forecast. In fact, it was beautiful and clear at Fritz Memorial Park along the St. Lawrence, and even the mosquitoes held off until we were breaking down the stage after the show.

Tod, Ellen and Dave played a lot of the material from Coming Home, along with a couple of songs that are too new to have made it onto the album. And, of course, there were a couple of chestnuts, including Like a Ship, one of Ellen's first contributions to the Steel Rail songbook back in the 1990s.

The setting is one of the most beautiful we have ever played: a gazebo just across the road from the eponymous bay in the town's name. The sunset, the sailboats and the sound of acoustic music is something extraordinary.

The only downsides last night: the humidex (unusually high even for summer in Montreal) and the aforementioned mosquitoes, which came out with a vengeance as we sat under a tree in the park after the vehicles were packed up. Dave reported more than two dozen bites, a number that was independently verified the next day.

Thanks to Louise Otmar and Keith Fyckes for inviting us to be part of the summer concert series again this year, and  to the town of Baie d'Urfé for presenting this free series every year. A particular shoutout to the town workers who helped us set up and break down the stage -- un gros merci à tous.

Here's the set list for last night's show. All of the songs are SR originals except for the Gillian Welch cover. Thanks again to everyone who helped make it a special night.

1. Just Waiting for a Train

2. When Are You Coming Home

3. Argyle Street

4. Nebraska in My Dreams

5. Rain

6. Winter Wren 

7. Annabelle (Gillian Welch)

8. Like a Ship 

9. Old Forgotten Road

10. Paper Girl

11. The Last Time

12. If By Midnight 

13. Under a Prairie Sky

14. The Comet

15. Another Stolen Day

16. Kate's Song

17. I'll Fly Away

 

Aug. 4, 2022 

Baie d'Urfé show is on rain or shine

Tonight's free concert in Fritz Memorial Park in Baie d'Urfé will go ahead, rain or shine.

Organizers say they're optimistic the rain will hold off tonight, since none of the shows so far in the concert series have  had weather problems. Please check the weather reports before you come and it might make sense to pack an umbrella!

Hope to see you there.

 

June 7, 2022 

Free outdoor show in Baie d'Urfé Aug. 4

We're pleased to announce we'll be returning to Baie d'Urfé in August for their summer concert series along the lakeshore.

We last played the Thursday night series back in 2018, and concluded the bandshell in Fritz Memorial Park is one of the prettiest sites we've performed at.

The free concert begins at 7:30 p.m.; you can see the details, including how to get there and where to park, in our events calendar.

June 6, 2022 

Brilliant sunshine, great ribs, good cause

Thanks to everyone who came out to Ribfest Longeuil in Greenfield Park yesterday for an afternoon of sunshine, music and great food, all in service of raising money for the charity Tout pour les enfants.

It was great to see friends old and new, and our set included the first official public performance of a new song, The Comet. A Tod-Lucinda co-write, The Comet has been under construction since March 29, 1997, when Lucinda was inspired by the appearance of the Hale-Bopp comet in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. (At least the song was finished before the next appearance of the comet, Tod remarked onstage. Hale-Bopp is scheduled to return to our solar system in 4385.)

Thanks to the organizers for inviting us, particularly Mark Christiano, an old friend and fine musician who picked the lineup for this year's ribfest.

 

May 29, 2022 

Join us at RibFest in Greenfield Park June 5!

We're delighted to be joining the lineup at Ribfest Longeuil on June 5. 

The annual celebration of ribs, music and children takes place starting on Friday, June 3, and continues through the weekend. The Steel Rail set is Sunday, June 5, at 2 p.m. We'll be playing a 40-minute set and then join the festivities, which have as part of their goal raising money for the Fondation Tout pour les enfants.

Access to the site is free, and on the weekend there is a Youth Zone with children's activities and a classic cars exhibition, not to mention what are described as "ribs specialists" throughout the site. 

The event is at 195 Rue Empire in Greenfield Park.

You can read more about the event here. There is a $10 fee to enter the Youth Zone. 

Hope to see you at the festival! 

May 17, 2022 

R.I.P. Michael Wrycraft


Like so many musicians in Canada, we were saddened to learn of the death of Michael Wrycraft, a brilliant album cover designer and a passionate friend and music lover.

Michael designed the cover of the most recent Steel Rail album, Coming Home (shown here), as well as two Dave Clarke albums. He was a larger than life individual and someone who made a profound contribution to the roots music community in Canada.

You can read more about Michael's life in this Roots Music Canada article. He will be greatly missed. 

 

April 4, 2022 

Fun at Festival de la voix 

Thanks to everyone who joined us at the Festival de la voix in Hudson, Que., on April 3.

It was great to see so many people in beautiful St. Thomas Aquinas Church in our first concert in about 18 months. What a treat to be able to play some old favourites (Like a Ship) and new songs (Kate's Song) that feature the strong vocals and harmonies of Tod, Ellen and Dave.

We also enjoyed the spectacular singing and playing of the musicians with whom we shared the bill: Kerry-Anne Kutz on vocals with Mike Cartile on trumpet and Chad Linsley on piano.

Thanks to Kerry-Anne, who brought us to the festival, to Duke on sound,and, of course, to everyone who came to the show on a brisk -- our British friends might say "parky" -- spring day.

Here are Tod and Ellen getting ready for the show.

By the way, there is still some great music ahead at the festival. You can find details for the closing concert April 9 here.
 

April 1, 2022 

Interview on CBC Montreal Sunday

Thanks to CBC music columnist Duke Eatmon, who spent some time with Ellen and Dave today talking about Steel Rail's origins and musical journey.

The interview Duke recorded with them will be aired on Sunday, April 3, at 7:40 a.m. on the Quebec-wide morning show All in a Weekend.

The interview was planned to coincide with Steel Rail's appearance at the Festival de la Voix in Hudson, Quebec, on Sunday afternoon. For more information, or to buy tickets ($30 for adults, $25 for students and seniors) please click here.

March 5, 2022 

Festival de la Voix show in Hudson April 3

We're delighted to announce that we'll be performing as part of the Festival de la Voix in Hudson on April 3. 

The 3 p.m. concert is part of the ninth edition of the festival, which takes place in various locations around Montreal Island between March 19 and April 10. 

The festival was founded in 2012 by singer and voice teacher Kerry-Anne Kutz and her students Sonia Castiglione and Sheila Faour-Warren to celebrate exceptional professional singers and instrumentalists of various genres.

This year's version features performances by Choralissimo! (March 19), Oliver Forest and the Imani Gospel Singers (March 26) and Dark Divas (April 2), among others.

Steel Rail will be joined by Kerry-Anne, her musical partner Mike Cartile and pianist Chad Linsley in the April 3 show.

Tickets are $30; $25 for seniors and students. To buy tickets, please click  here.

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May8

Steel Rail

Happy new year, everyone

We're starting 2019 with a chilly flashback -- Tod walking down the centre of a secondary highway in west-central Quebec in what became the cover for our first release, A Thousand Miles of Snow.
A couple of things about the photo, taken by our talented friend Nancy Ackerman. 1. It truly was freezing that early March day near Rigaud. 2. You can faintly see some car headlights materializing over Tod's right shoulder. Several other vehicles, including an 18-wheeler, were dodged before Nancy finally got this shot.
Speaking of releases, we are happy to report that Steel Rail is finally in a studio working on some tracks for our next album. Like A Thousand Miles of Snow, it is being co-produced by our good friend Bill Garrett. We'll keep you posted re: progress as the winter progresses.
In the meantime, all the best for 2019.