J.P. Cormier, Artist of the Week
Runs Mar. 28-Apr. 1st.
J.P. (John Paul) Cormier (born January 23, 1969), is a Canadian bluegrass/folk/Celtic singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. To date he was won thirteen East Coast Music Awards and one Canadian Folk Music Award, 5 Music Nova Scotia Awards, Juno nominations, commendations from the Governor General of Canada and Premier of Nova Scotia.
Cormier was born in London, Ontario and began playing guitar around age five. As a child he displayed an unusual ability to play a variety of instruments by ear and won a guitar contest at age nine. Appearances on Up Home Tonight, a television show devoted to bluegrass music, followed at age fourteen.
Cormier has stated that he learned to play guitar by listening to such noted country / bluegrass musicians as Chet Atkins and Doc Watson. Other instruments J.P. has played on his albums include fiddle, twelve string guitar, upright bass, banjo, mandolin, drums, percussion, synthesizer, cello, tenor banjo and piano.
By age sixteen Cormier had recorded his first album (a collection of bluegrass instrumentals) and he began working the U.S. festival circuit. This led him to move to the United States and to begin working as a session musician. He continued to perform live on the festival circuit and at the Grand Ole Opry with country artists Waylon Jennings, Marty Stuart, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe and others.
In 1989 he attended the now-named Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, Mississippi, where he majored in music education. At the time it was one of only three colleges in North America that offered a specialty in bluegrass instruments. During his stay at Northeast he began playing the dobro and piano. It was also during this time he first had the idea for the song “Northwind”.
Cormier was involved in a serious truck accident in 2009, resulting in a fractured vertebra and a halt to his touring in 2012. He went back into the studio, focused on his singer-songwriter abilities, and released Somewhere In The Back of My Heart in the same year.
In April 2015 Cormier released a new album, The Chance, which included the previously released single Hometown Battlefield, about soldiers experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder. The song, inspired by Cormier’s 2007 Afghanistan tour and news about soldiers’ suicides, went viral, with millions of Facebook visits and 800,000 YouTube views (July 2015).