Born and raised in the Peterborough, ON area, Benj Rowland is the singer-songwriter and instrumentalist behind the acclaimed Canadian folk duo Mayhemingways. Having toured across Canada several times as part of a band, Community Garden is Benj’s first solo album released under his own name, an album he has been touring now since 2022. Recorded and produced by Canadian musical icon Joel Plaskett at his Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Studio-FANG RECORDING, Community Garden features a collection of songs that speak to small town Ontario and tell stories about the life of an independent Canadian musician. Though mainly featuring original compositions by Roland, the album also has Traditionals and Ontarian folk covers which push the album’s theme forward. The Ballad of the Pig’s Ear (track 2) is a heartfelt tribute to a beloved bar that served Peterborough for over 100 years. The song recently won the Don Skuce Memorial Music Collective Songwriting Award (January 2022).
Rowland’s stage show, much like the album itself, is multi-instrumental. Rowland is, to put it simply, a One-Man Folk Band. Playing guitar or bouzouki (a Greek stringed instrument adopted by Irish musicians in the 1960s), drum machine, bass pedals with his tambourine chained feet, all while simultaneously singing in a soft, tender voice, Benj Rowland is a sight to behold. And let’s not forget about his occasional accordion breaks and witty banter.
Rowland is truly a unique voice in the rich and plentiful Canadian musical landscape, and a show worth the price of admission.
Please tip your musicians generously.
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