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Luke Mercier & Rolling River...
offer a glimpse back in time to when music was to serve the family or community. A time when recordings did not exist and neither did the music industry standards by which all musicians are defined these days. This music is an oral tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation.
Luke Mercier & Rolling River is a traditional oldtime stringband from a little town called Toronto in York County Ontario, Canada.
Tim Bergen ~ Mandolin
John Sirdevan ~ Fretless Banjo
Luke Mercier ~ Fiddle
Jeff Cardey ~ Guitar
Sandy Klieb ~ Acoustic Bass
...featuring Luke on fiddle this CD entitled Across the Sea is a timeless compilation of early African~American stringband breakdowns, introspective fiddle solos and hard driving fiddle & guitar show-stoppers.
is intent to give the participant "a feeling of security, for it symbolizes the place where he was born, his earliest childhood satisfactions, his religious experience, his pleasure in community doings, his courtship and his work - any or all of these personality-shaping experiences."
The point of this music was never really to pass along tunes on a strict note-for-note basis but to be presented and accepted as an inherent part of the immediate culture as a means of celebrating life through its many hardships.
To learn more about Oldtime Music visit The Oldtime Music Homepage
On behalf of the group I would like to extend a warm thank you to everyone that showed their support at the launch of our new CD in March of 2004 at the Tranzac Club in Toronto.
If you are an Oldtime Music enthusiast Across The Sea is a must for your music collection.
The CD has been very well received and we really hope to be out on the concert stage again soon but for now we will continue to play the 'Out of the cold' homeless dinners until winter's end along with the occasional squaredance and kitchen session in and around the Toronto vacinity.
Left: Bowmaker John Sirdevan, who has been playing banjo since 1964 when Grandpa Jones showed him the claw-hammer stroke backstage after a travelling Grand Ole Opry show at Massey Hall.
John is pictured here playing on a Luke Mercier handcrafted fretless banjo that was inspired by the the 1850's minstrel era banjo depicted in the well known painting entitled 'The Banjo Player' by William Sidney Mount ca. 1856.
Right: Violinmaker Tim Bergen, a fiddle and mandolin player since the early 70's plays on a mandolin made by British Columbia mandolin & guitar builder Michael Heiden.
One of the unique feature of this band is that four of its five members work together at the same violin shop in Toronto. Geo. Heinl & Co. Ltd is a fourth generation violin house that has catered to the needs of the professional, the amateur, the student and the general public for nearly one hundred years now and is thriving more than ever.
Long before Luke came into the 'family tree' Tim and John's fiddle & banjo duo had often been accompanied by the sophisticated chording of Oldtime Swing guitar player & violin restorer Jack Kemp at Thursday 'stay-behinds', kitchen jams and squaredances. Whenever they needed a confident, solid thump to cover the lower registers, Bass Restorer Steve Martinko would often secure the fort.
From left to right: Tim Bergen, John Sirdevan, Steve Martinko, Jack Kemp and Don Hildebrandt playing a squaredance in Scarborough ON, Febrary 17th, 1989.