Theo Massop







Theo Massop is a singer / songwriter who has been performing in clubs, pubs, dance halls and festivals around Vancouver Island and the lower mainland for over thirty years. Being the youngest of seven siblings, all of whom were musical performers, he was truly immersed in an environment of love for music and the stage. Under the wings of his older brothers, Theo began performing at the early age of fourteen. His musical journey has taken him from church choirs to dance halls and bars, to festivals and concert venues. Theo released his first recording with the JT Combination band in 1972 and has pursued his passion for recording ever since. 1982 while working as a recording engineer and session player at Ensign Studio, Theo released his first solo effort which garnered a marked interest from the campus / college radio as well as attention from the adult contemporary genre. He has released five singles and one album. The album Voyager achieved three charting singles in Canada, critical acclaim and international radio play.

During the ninety's Theo teamed up with internationally trained classical guitarist Dennis Olsen to form the highly successful band Gypsy Heart, which earned itself a large and dedicated fan base through the band's continual live performances and high standard of work ethic. Gypsy Heart shared billings with artist such as Prairie Oyster, Duane Steel, Gary Fjellgaard and more as a country-rock band. After a short hiatus in 1999 Gypsy Heart returned as a very popular rock band covering top 40 to classics and blues.

As the new millennium came into being, Theo found himself reflecting on how until recent history, essentially all songs began as simple folk songs, acoustic instrument and voice. And how in a world of digital recording, samplers and computer files, performing songs in their most rudimentary form provides a listener with a uniquely human, almost primal experience. Branching out as a solo artist, Theo presents his audiences with uncluttered intriguing arrangements of well known favourites, obscure musical gems and original compositions. His songs are written about life, relationships, spirituality and love. Often thought provoking and always captivating, Theo's songs will sometimes leave the listener with as many questions as answers. He has an uncanny ability to hold an audience spellbound with diversity and musical articulation. His original songs and compositions reflect a modern day minstrel's viewpoint of life set to a variety of musical styles and poetic prose. His performances are filled with unique steel string guitar along with emotionally drenched vocals that will weave a tapestry of music to fit and satisfy a huge range of musical tastes.

Valdy meet Gary Fjellgaard; Gary Fjellgaard, this is ValdyOf Course, introductions are unnecessary - these two guys have known each other far too long for any kind of formality. Now, with their first album together, Contenders, on the leading Canadian roots music record label, Stony Plain - and a national tour underway, they make the most logical duo in Canadian music.Consider, if you will, what they share. They\'re both family men. They both live on small islands off the coast of British Columbia. They\'re both singer-songwriters with an eye for memorable tunes and finely-honed images. They\'re both road warriors who tour, and tour, and tour.They\'re both committed Canadians, and, more particularly, committed Western Canadians. And their music draws on all the aspects of life in the west. \"Western roots\" they call it. It\'s music that, in every note, echoes the mountains and the sea, the cowboys and the fishermen, the oil well roustabouts and the loggers, the sunsets and the rain, the streak of rugged independence and contrariness that so many display, and the generosity and warmth that make Westerners so welcoming to all. Valdy, born Valdemar Horsdal in Ottawa, has been part of the fabric of Canadian pop and folk music for years. A man with a thousand friends, from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, he\'s a songwriter who catches the small but telling moments that make up life.Still remembered for Play Me a Rock and Roll Song, his bitter-sweet memory of finding himself, a relaxed and amiable story-teller, facing a rambunctious audience at a rock festival, Valdy has sold almost half a million copies of his 13 albums, and has two Juno Awards (a total of seven Juno nominations), and four Gold albums to his credit.Along the way, he\'s taken his music to a dozen different countries, from Denmark to Australia, been an invited performer for five years in a row at the prestigious Kerrville Festival in Texas, and even played a lead role in an episode of The Beachcombers.Today, he\'s based on Salt Spring Island, where he lives with his wife, three dogs and a cat (the three grown-up \"kids\" are all now living in other parts of British Columbia). Gary Fjellgaard has been described as a \"national treasure\" and one writer summed up his music this way: \"It is so rich that his art is free of bitterness, whining, self-pity, and manufactured pathos. He is the poet of the extravagantly good side of the human spirit; breathtakingly humane and compassionate.\"Like Valdy, Fjellgaard came to the Gulf Islands (he lives with his wife on Gabriola Island) well into his 25-year career. The island’s peaceful calm (not to mention the view from his living room window) makes it hard for him, sometimes, to leave. It is not only a haven from the road, and a different geography than the one he knew growing up in Saskatchewan, but a place to write the sort of songs that lovingly recall the past, take an affectionate view of the present and look optimistically into the future.He has a stubborn streak, which is why he\'s never changed his Norwegian name so people who don\'t know him could spell and pronounce it properly; now nearly everyone knows it\'s pronounced Fell-Gard. As a songwriter, he\'s a storyteller - and the stories he tells come from his two decades in the logging industry, his annual stints as a trail-riding cowboy, and his travels back and forth across Canada.His reputation has been earned in the country music field, and if his songs bear little resemblance to the \"hot new country\" that fills the airwaves today, he has had more than his share of successes - and has a shelf-full of awards to prove it. Together, Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard are a near-perfect team. The songs they\'ve written for Contenders touch their common ground with the familiarity and warmth only old friends can share. They are both experienced entertainers who know how to earn the respect of their audiences, and deliver shows, night after night, that send people home with smiles and the feeling that they\'ve experienced something special and heartwarming.The pair are in the midst of a national tour to support Contenders, and to bring the songs to audiences across the country. No spotlights. No stacks of heavy-duty speakers and power amplifiers. No all-star backup band. Just two guys, two guitars, and two dozen songs or more that tell where they\'ve been, where they are and where they\'re going.

A new decade really needs the old verities more than ever before, and these contenders prove the point.

thanks to Marci at Noteworthy Concepts

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Valdy & Gary Fjellgaard Contenders

CD (December 28, 1999)
Original Release Date: April 4, 2000
Label: Stony Plain Music

a duet from Vancouver Island's Hall of Fame

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