Biography

Photo – Jonathan Beadle

“Lift” #1 Canadian & International Album and Song ‘Sing It Louder’ US Folk DJ Charts – www.folkradio.org

“Truly, what makes Gunning so remarkable as an entertainer is his rare gift to be able to befriend the audience as a whole from the stage throughout the course of the concert. And, indeed, you do feel as though he’s as good of a friend as any after a night of songs, stories and lighthearted laughs.” – The Guardian

Call it the silver lining in the cloud of a brutally cold Nova Scotia winter. When acclaimed folk singer/songwriter Dave Gunning decided it was time to make his 11th solo album, he found the bleak weather outside a blessing, not a curse. “We were literally snowed in, but the power was on and I was good to go,” he says of the making of that album, Lift.

Eleven albums in, Dave Gunning has become a truly masterful songwriter, one who has earned real peer respect from such Canadian folk songwriting legends as Ron Hynes, David Francey, and James Keelaghan. “I grew up listening to people like Ron Hynes,” says Dave. “I look up to them but then it hits me sometimes that I’m their peer and they like my stuff too. It’s a weird headspace, flipping from being a fan to being a peer.”

Co-writing with his peers has had a major impact on Gunning. “The co-writing process has really helped my career, as it helps you keep the energy momentum going,” he explains. “Noted co-writers on Lift include Matt Andersen, Thom Swift, Catherine MacLellan, Jamie Robinson, plus American Sally Spring and Dave’s Pictou pals, Jim Dorie, John Meir, and Ray Stewart. One song here, “Alberta Gold” has already been something of a radio and video hit for Matt Andersen, who included it on his popular album Weightless. Gunning’s banjo-fuelled campfire singalong version is equally rousing in its depiction of the present-day migration of Maritimers to the Albertan oil patch.

The 13 songs on Lift cover refreshingly broad lyrical terrain. Story and character-based songs fit snugly alongside more personal material, and in true folk music tradition, some numbers could be considered protest songs. Gunning acknowledges that “this album has more personal and introspective songs than my past recordings. I do still love songs that are about things and tell a real story, like the songs of Stan Rogers. They inspire me.”

A fine example of that here is “I Robbed The Co. Store,” which tells the true story of a group of British settlers in Nova Scotia in the 1770s forced to steal from a storehouse reserved for troops just so they could feed their families. A more contemporary song with a Pictou County setting is “They Don’t Do That No More.” “That one is inspired by the fight we have here against a pulp mill that is just an environmental disaster,” explains Gunning. The mournful sound of the pedal steel punctuates his lament that “there’s poison on the harbour floor.” It’s a song one of Dave’s key inspirations, the late folk great Pete Seeger, would have been proud to call his own.

Another song, “Sing It Louder,” is actually a tribute to Seeger. “My goal was to write a song you could imagine him singing,” says Gunning. “As folk singers we should all aspire to carry the torch of Pete Seeger and his message of social justice.” Dave’s talents as a poetic lyricist are vividly displayed on the haunting “Breaker’s Yard” and the plaintive “Pasadena,” a co-write with Catherine MacLellan.

Gunning’s recording career is now approaching a full two decades in length (his debut album, Lost Tracks, came out in 1996). Along with richly-deserved peer respect, he has also earned a shelf full of music industry awards. That tally now stands at eight East Coast Music Awards and two Canadian Folk Music Awards, plus a 2012 Juno Award nomination in the Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year category for his album …a tribute to John Allan Cameron, a compelling homage to another of Dave’s Maritime musical heroes.

His songwriting skill has also been internationally recognized, with earlier tunes scoring victories and high placings in some major international songwriting competitions. As a fervent hockey fan, Gunning was also thrilled to win the CBC’s hotly-contested Hockey Night In Canada Song Quest in 2014 with “A Game Goin’ On”, a co-write with David Francey.

Give yourself a Lift and check out the work of an authentic artist at his creative peak.

 

Awards & Nominations
2017 East Coast Music Award Songwriter of the Year Nomination
East Coast Music Award Entertainer of the Year Nomination
East Coast Music Award Folk Recording of the Year Nomination (Lift)
Semi – Finalist International Songwriting Competition (Sing It Louder)
Finalist Great American Song Contest (Sing It Louder)
2016 #1 Canadian and International Album “Lift” & Song ‘Sing It Louder’ US Folk DJ Charts (May 2016)
Music Nova Scotia Folk Recording of the Year Nomination (Lift)
2014 Winner East Coast Music Award Songwriter of the Year (These Hands)
Winner East Coast Music Award Solo Recording of the Year (No More Pennies)
Winner Music Nova Scotia Folk Recording of the Year (No More Pennies)
First Place Winner Great American Song Contest (These Hands)
Winner CBC Hockey Night In Canada Song Quest (A Game Goin’ On)
ECMA Fans Choice Entertainer of the Year Nomination
ECMA Fans Choice Video of the Year, These Hands (Director: Scott Simpson) Nominatio
2014 Winner ECMA Songwriter of the Year (These Hands)
Winner ECMA Solo Recording of the Year (No More Pennies)
First Place Winner Great American Song Contest for his song, These Hands (co-written with George Canyon)
Winner CBC Hockey Night In Canada Song Quest for his song, A Game Goin’ On (co-written with David Francey)
ECMA Fans Choice Entertainer of the Year Nomination
ECMA Fans Choice Video of the Year, These Hands (Director: Scott Simpson) Nomination
2013 Winner East Coast Music Award Song of the Year (These Hands)
Winner Music Nova Scotia Folk Recording of the Year (No More Pennies)
Semi – Finalist International Songwriting Competition (These Hands)
ECMA Folk Recording of the Year Nomination (No More Pennies)
ECMA Fans Choice Entertainer of the Year Nomination
2012 Juno Award Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year Nomination (a tribute to John Allan Cameron)
ECMA Nomination Entertainer of the Year
2011 Winner Canadian Folk Music Award Traditional Singer of the Year (a tribute to John Allan Cameron)
Winner Canadian Folk Music Award Best New Emerging Artist of the Year
Winner ECMA Award Roots Traditional Solo Recording of the Year
Winner ECMA Award Producer of the Year (a tribute to John Allan Cameron)
Winner Music Nova Scotia Roots Traditional Recording of the Year
ECMA Folk Recording of the Year Nomination (We’re All Leaving)
ECMA Fans Choice Entertainer of the Year Nomination
ECMA Male Solo Recording of the Year Nomination (a tribute to John Allan Cameron)
Music Nova Scotia Male Artist Recording of the Year, Music Nova Scotia Producer of the Year, Music Nova Scotia Recording Studio of the Year Nomination (Wee House of Music)
2010 Finalist Great American Song Contest (Before The Morning Sun)
ECMA Songwriter of the Year Nomination (Made On A Monday)
ECMA Male Solo Recording of the Year and FACTOR Recording of the Year Nomination (We’re All Leaving)
Music Nova Scotia Folk Recording of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year Nomination and SOCAN Songwriter of the Year Nomination (We’re All Leaving)
2009 Semi-Finalist International Songwriting Competition (Before The Morning Sun)
ECMA Entertainer of the Year Nomination
2008 First Place Winner Folk Category Indie International Songwriting Contest (Hard Workin’ Hands)
Finalist USA Songwriting Competition (Hard Workin’ Hands)
Finalist International Songwriting Competition (Cowboy’s Dream)
Finalist John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Hard Workin’ Hands)
Winner ECMA Award Male Solo Recording of the Year (House For Sale)
Winner ECMA Award Folk Recording of the Year (House For Sale)
Winner Music Nova Scotia Award Studio Engineer of the Year
Music Nova Scotia Entertainer of the Year Nomination
Music Nova Scotia Folk Recording of the Year Nomination (House For Sale)
2006 ECMA Nomination Male Artist of the Year
ECMA Nomination Album of the Year (Two-Bit World)
The Irish Music Magazine Readers Poll Song of the Year (New Highway)
2005 ECMA Award Folk Recording of the Year (Two-Bit World)
ECMA Nomination Male Artist of the Year
First Place Winner Folk Category International Acoustic Music Awards(Prince of Pictou)
Music Nova Scotia Award Folk Recording of the Year (Two-Bit World)
Honourable mention USA Songwriting Competition (Prince of Pictou)
2003 Music Nova Scotia Award Musician of the Year
2002 Music Nova Scotia Award Producer of the Year (Live)
Music Nova Scotia Award Engineer of the Year (Live)
Music Nova Scotia Award Studio of the Year (Riverfront Studio)
2001 ECMA Nomination Roots/ Traditional Solo Recording of the Year (Caught Between Shadows)
1998 ECMA Nomination Roots/ Traditional Vocal (Lost Tracks)
Reviews

Discography

 

Lift (July 10, 2015)

No More Pennies (2012)

Christmas Too (2011)

a tribute to John Allan Cameron (2010)

Were All Leaving (2009)

House For Sale (2007)

Dave Gunning Christmas (2006)

Two-bit World (2004)

Dave Gunning Live (2002)

Caught Between Shadows (2000)

Lost Tracks (1996)

 

Candles & Evergreens (2008) recorded with George Canyon

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