35 Years of Stony Plain
Founded by Holger Petersen in 1976, the independent Canadian label Stony Plain Records has devoted itself to what it defines as roots music: folk, country, and blues, along with related subgenres. 35 Years of Stony Plain is a two-CD, one-DVD set chronicling the label's history, with tracks actually going back more than ten years prior to its formation (a quartet of previously unreleased Robert Nighthawk performances from 1965). But that is not to say that it provides a balanced sampling of Stony Plain recordings over three-and-a-half decades, nor is it intended to. In fact, the label issues this sort of compilation every five years, so this one is, naturally, tipped heavily toward what has come out since 2006. And that's quite a batch of material. It includes the work of flagship artists like Maria Muldaur and Ian Tyson, as well as some brand names the label has had the chance to distribute in Canada, including Steve Earle, Asleep at the Wheel, Emmylou Harris, and Rodney Crowell. Sadly, the five-year period also marked the death of guitarist Jeff Healey, who is remembered by both audio tracks and a video tribute. These artists are featured on the first disc, dubbed "Singers, Songwriters and Much, Much More…." The second disc, "Blues, R&B, Swing, Jazz and Even More…" also includes Healey, as well as Stony Plain's blues main man Duke Robillard, Rory Block, Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters, Long John Baldry, and the trio effort the Amos Garrett, Doug Sahm, and Gene Taylor Band. The DVD is a video scrapbook also featuring a tour of the Stony Plain offices and interview with Petersen, as well as a collection of music videos. The result is a thorough look at Stony Plain Records' ambitions and accomplishments over the 35 years, with special emphasis on the last five.