The Stone Sparrows

Sam Balson – Vocals, Mandolin, Guitar, Harmonica
Oliver Ward – Fiddle, Guitar, Vocals
James Gorry – Upright Bass
Meghan Patrick – Vocals, Guitar, Banjo

The foursome have combined their diverse backgrounds in classical music, funk, soul, blues, jazz, bluegrass and folk into a unique sound combining interesting twists on classic instrumental styles with soulful lyrics that feel at once comfortable, yet still fresh and unique. Their sound is equally at home in laid-back outdoor music festivals as it is in some of the finest live music venues in a downtown setting.

Sam is a multi-talented instrumentalist, comfortable on guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, piano or drums; his solos and unique instrumentals always draw rave reviews from fans and fellow musicians alike. He has been a life-long musician, growing up in a musical family in Bowmanville where home always meant “jamming”. But that’s just the beginning…Sam also has a unique and diverse voice that adds rich harmonies and a wonderful counterpoint to his partner in the story telling of their songs.

Meghan is an accomplished jazz/funk vocalist with a background that includes opera, musical theatre and classical voice; she also plays guitar, piano and harmonica, and has been performing and writing in various bands and as a solo artist since the age of 12. Her time in Montreal has put a distinct jazz edge to the songs she writes and her love of time spent in New Orleans and the southeast shows in her soulful interpretation of both original bluegrass and classics redone with the Stone Sparrows twist.

James brings a diverse background from classic rock and progressive punk, where he learned to take the guitar and electric bass to new places at a young age, often jamming with Sam and other local friends. But as he grew and travelled he discovered a deeper passion for Dixieland, New Orleans jazz and bluegrass. However…his punk roots never let him take the music too seriously, and he can often be seen barefoot on stage with his stand-up bass, adding an interesting bass line and backup vocals with a big smile on his face.

Oliver’s soulful fiddle playing winds like satin ribbon through the Sparrows’ music. Quiet and intense, his extensive background as a classical violinist is apparent in his superb technique, and yet you can see the passion he has developed for taking the instrument to new places like reggae and bluegrass. He also grew up in a family of musicians and artists. After a very distinguished young career in orchestral settings, he set down his violin for a while to explore the more rebellious guitar journey into heavy metal and classic and indie rock. But, a chance meeting with friends James and Sam led to a few jam sessions, and when they all realized what Oliver’s fiddle could bring to the mix, the guitar was set aside and his passion poured into creating the perfect backwoods mood for this new sound. He can occasionally be coerced into performing one of his own originals, and his vocals will be heard more and more often as the band’s sound continues to write, grow and evolve.

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