A founder of the seminal folk group Spirit of the West, a sideman with major Canadian acts, and a solo artist for over 20 years, Jay Knutson debuts an exciting new group, Early Spirit. This group presents the harmonious vocals, Celtic influences, and rock rhythms that define his musical legacy, and it adds a contemporary twist, attracting a diverse audience.
Violinist Gabriel Dubreuil and bassist Will Ross met under Jay’s direction in the North Shore Celtic Ensemble. Gabriel and Will are among Vancouver’s most fearless young performers. Encouraging each other to push musical boundaries, they perform ‘twin fiddle’ melodies and accompany Jay innovatively. As the Gabriel Dubreuil Trio, these three friends recorded the album Back to Back Bay to feature their Celtic swing style.
Gabriel, Jay, and Will musically challenge each other, producing a genuine creative response on stage. This response connects powerfully with their audience. Striving to improve this connection after performing over 100 times together, they added Ben Kelly on drums and percussion. Ben’s decade-plus career in Vancouver’s music scene completes the group Early Spirit: a powerful musical concept that carries a wealth of experience. Each member of the group has his own story to tell, and these stories, woven together on stage, fascinate both the performers and the audience.
«This is a hot example of Celtic music and jazz fused together by superb musicians.» — The Celtic Connection
«Jay Knutson puts the soul back into music, fun back into instruments and conviction back into lyrics» — The Chronicle Herald (Halifax)
«A delicate balance between electric and acoustic songs,dark and catchy rhythms, soft and the ethereal» -The Ottawa Citizen
«The sound is a unique blend of rock and roll energy, of folk lyrical conventions centered around various facets of Canadian life» — Vancouver Province.