Bands & Activities
Spirit Of The West
The band that became Spirit of the West began as a Folk trio called Evesdropper in Vancouver nearly 30 years ago.
13 albums later, they have achieved status as one of the most beloved ‘Legacy Artists’ in Canadian history, having proven themselves to be road-worthy, durable, having toured Canada, the US, UK and Europe consistently, building a dedicated following of fans from all over the world.
They have been inducted into the Halls of Fame / Lifetime Achievement Categories by the Western Canadian Music Association and the Society of Composers and Music Publishers of Canada, and have used their inestimable charms to wheedle complimentary pints out of barmen in at least 9 countries.
With four gold and two platinum albums to their credit, Spirit of the West are responsible for such songs as: ‘(And if) Venice is Sinking’, ‘Five Free Minutes’, ‘Save This House’, ‘The Crawl’ and ‘Home For a Rest’, the song that has been called Canada’s honorary national anthem:.
‘Spirituality: A Consummate Compendium’, a double CD album on Rhino Records, is the band’s most recent release and is a look back at the first 25 years of their career.
The band is:
John Mann, Guitarist, vocalist and charismatic front man. John is also an accomplished actor who can be seen on episodic television and movies often pretending to be an assassin, ghost, devil, redneck, spy, and other characters that simply don’t scan if you know this vegetarian peacenik. List of both big & small screen appearances as well as starring roles in live theatre far too numerous to mention here. It’s ridiculously long – We’re not sure how he fits us in. Solo albums include ‘Acoustic Kitty’ & ‘December Looms’. Can be cajoled into nearly any crazy dare if excellent wine is proffered as the potential reward.
Geoffrey Kelly, Flutes, whistles, bodhran, guitars. Geoffrey was born in Scotland and raised in North Vancouver. One of Canada s finest Celtic musicians, he can be found appearing all over the world as a guest with acts such as The Irish Rovers and the Paperboys. His solo album Gringo Star was released in 2002. Geoffrey has, through some of the most remarkable thrift and horse-trading, amassed the most gargantuan personal music collection in human history. Only the Library of Congress has more CDs. His family cannot be located in the home but are presumed to be misfiled somewhere between ‘F’ and ‘J’. He owes the Musician’s Union $4 in unpaid death benefit fees.
Hugh McMillan, Multi-instrumentalist. Hugh is capable of playing practically anything with strings on it. Weak drummer, though. He is a producer, composer and engineer, as well as a bit of a mad scientist. Quick to hand out dietary supplements to those who look a bit peaked. Hugh can be seen appearing as a guest in concert and on CD with James Keelaghan, Oscar Lopez, Don Ross, and many, many others. Hugh is the only member of Spirit of the West who can reliably read a map. Unfortunately he is prone to giving directions in Esperanto. Moves to a new city every few years and no one knows where he currently is…He sketched the route to his new house on a napkin, though….
Vince R. Ditrich, Drums, percussion, vocals. Although well known for his comedic onstage antics, Vince has appeared in concert and in the studio with artists the likes of Sue Medley, Long John Baldry, Doug & the Slugs, Great Big Sea, Oscar Lopez, James Keelaghan, Mae Moore, and many others. (He is currently combing his CV for reference to ANY artist from the 21st century). Vince manages and acts as producer for House of Doc, Quinzy, Maren Ord and also gets to hold the tiller for Spirit of the West. He recorded a solo CD called Supertonic in 2001 and is still paying for it. Artist Management has taught him to type with his thumbs as effectively as a teen. He coordinates all refreshments for the band and has been known to instigate outrageous hotel upgrades.
Tobin “The Gull” Frank. What began as a temporary guest slot with the band in 1997 has grown into a long-time association. Tobin plays basses, piano, organ, and accordion. He is only occasionally allowed to sing. There is a reason for this. In real life, before descending to the Batcave for special appearances, he is a team-leader, producer, programmer and brainiac for the very successful Victoria-based music software company PG Music. This means that he can help the less gifted log onto hotel internet. Tobin is author of the upcoming book Rock Stars & Tupperware: 101 surprising tales of food preservation.
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