Luke Mercier & Rolling River

Jeff Cardey

A Witness to the Music

"When Luke asked me to write a little 'bio' on myself I thought about inflating my ego and making it seem like I'm more important than I really am but common sense has prevailed and the story goes like this:

Luke has actually gotten the story wrong as we first met in a pub after attending a concert performance of one of his guitar compositions by a friend of mine Steve Thachuk while I was studying for my music degree at the University of Toronto.

Classical guitar has been my bag for some twenty odd years. My musical palette however is pretty vast as Luke and I once had visions of Rock stardom. We hit that pretty hard for awhile.

When Luke began playing violin and incorporating it into Magnificent Octopus we decided to reverse gears and pour our heart & soul into learning traditional fiddle tunes. I strictly played rhythm guitar in Hobart's Transformation while Luke learned countless tunes on the fiddle. We practiced endlessly and I think that because we began playing traditional fiddle music at the same time together we formed a tight musical bond. It's very rare to be able to anticipate another player's next move but Luke and I became the tightest fiddle ~ guitar duo, bar-none.

It seemed a natural progression for me to pick up another instrument. I felt exhausted on the guitar and Luke graciously lent me his old S.S. Stewart mandolin that had an action as high as the sky. That little bugger was sure hard to play but I began teaching myself mandolin and in a short while I was also playing fiddle tunes on the mandolin.

Since then, I would say that the mandolin now takes up more of my time than either guitar or tenor banjo does.

I just love it!

I have played part in numerous ensembles in my time and two priorities at the moment are Cedar & Spruce guitar quartet and a swing mandolin ~ tenor guitar duo with Ed Hornyak. At this point in my career it is the most fun I've had musically for awhile as it has given me the opportunity to play lead after so many years of backing people up. I cut my teeth on thythm playing and if you need a rock in your rhythm section nobody comes close to having me in your corner. (maybe inflate the ego just a little)

I believe in the validity of all musical forms and genres. I appreciate strong musicianship and I tell it like it is, straight up with no chaser.

In closing, I will say that having friends like Luke, Tim, John and Sandy has made me a better musician and a better person."

~Jeff Cardey


Micheal Banasiak Photography

Inset: Jeff Cardey, playing his heart n' soul out as usual.

Luke and Jeff have had a dynamic duo together called Hobart's Transformation for several years now having focused mainly on traditional music styles.

This symbiosis was forged not long after they met when Luke composed an unaccompanied 3 movement classical guitar piece for Jeff's graduation recital from the University of Toronto. They were also very active with a highly ecclectic progressive funk-rock band called Magnificent Octopus that performed primarily in the Toronto club circuit from about 1997 to 2000.

They have been missed!