A storyteller through song, Maria Dunn combines North American folk and country music with the influences of her Celtic heritage. Born in Scotland and raised in Ontario and Alberta, she writes songs inspired by historical and contemporary characters, capturing their struggles and triumphs in her lyrics. In 2002, Maria received a Juno nomination in the Roots/Traditional Solo category for her second recording, For a Song.
Maria's newest CD, 2008's The Peddler (her first distributed through Outside Music), consists of songs that have a distinct Celtic influence. The songs range from The Elder Sister, Maria's ominous take on the timeless Two Sisters tale of jealousy, to You Can't Take That Away, a modern offering for those who have lost a loved one. The title track, The Peddler, is a haunting melody commenting on the marketing of modern wars, while Sailor Song is the rollicking adventure of an 18th century pirate. Katie Comes a-Callin' celebrates the simple joys of friendship while William McIlroy's commemorates a beloved Scottish uncle.
To do justice to the songs on The Peddler and give them the appropriate Celtic music arrangements, Maria once again involved Shannon Johnson as producer and Shannon's excellent band The McDades (2007 Juno winners for their CD Bloom; www.themcdades.com) as musicians and collaborators on the song arrangements.
Maria's 2004 project, We Were Good People, explores the stories of working people in Western Canada--tales of resilience and hope through experiences of immigration, internment, exploitation and The Depression. Producer: Shannon Johnson (2007 Juno winner for Bloom with Celtic Canadian group The McDades) with musical contributions by The McDades, Craig Korth (banjo, guitar, dobro), Byron Myhre (mandolin), Michael Jerome Browne (gourd banjo) and others. Suggested tracks: How Do You Do, 1935?, a banjo-driven Depression-era train song; Can You Blame the Poor Miner?, a gentle accordion ode to miners in the Crow's Nest Pass during Prohibition; We Were Good People, a poignant solo ballad describing a 1932 Hunger March; Mrs. McClung's Address at Walker Theatre, a cheeky Celtic wordplay on women's suffrage; Troublemaker, a rabble-rousing current day protest song.
For a Song (2001) was also produced by Shannon Johnson and features Maria's songs with musical support from: The McDades, Shannon Johnson (violin), Craig Korth (banjo, guitar, dobro), and with guest appearances by bluegrass band Jerusalem Ridge, Con O'Brien from The Irish Descendants (backing vocals), and Lester Quitzau (dobro). The stories range from The Lingan Strike, a rousing tale from Cape Breton's labour history, to Take it Easy on Me, a gentle anthem for contemporary society.
Maria's critically acclaimed debut release, From Where I Stand (1998), also finds a beautiful balance between the past and present. Its musical settings range from the Scottish inspired melody of Shoes of A Man, a song about her grandfather's life in Glasgow, to the upbeat bluegrass feel of Distant Whisper, a travelling love ballad.
From the official site