Since forming in 1997, Fiddlers’ Sons list of accomplishments and accolades has grown to rival that of any traditional music group in the Maritimes. They have released eight recordings, been awarded numerous Music PEI Awards and have shared the stage with the likes of John Allan Cameron, Lennie Gallant and Rawlins Cross.
The group came together with the intent on being something fun, to play some traditional music now and then. The group had no idea what an integral part of the Island’s culture and music scene they would become.
Fiddlers’ Sons was the idea of singer-songwriter and local author and storyteller Eddy Quinn of Cardigan. With a strong interest in traditional music and greatly influenced by his father, local fiddler Merlin Quinn, Eddy contacted his good friend John B. Webster, also of Cardigan, and ran his idea by him. John, the son of fiddler Jackie Webster and grand-son of the highly sought-after fiddler Jack Webster, was very intrigued by Eddy’s idea and so the group started to take form.
The next member to be added to the band was Garth Matthews from the Summerside area on bass. Garth, son of popular Prince County fiddler and vocalist Ed Matthews, was a veteran of the Island’s country music scene. The last piece of the musical puzzle was the fiddler, Sheila MacKenzie of Little Pond. The four came together and the music flowed immediately.
Featuring guitar, fiddle, bass and vocals, the group’s song book reflected the Scottish and Irish roots of the Island along with more contemporary influences including Stan Rogers and eventually grew to include many original songs. The songwriting was shared among the members of the group and also included Clara VanderAa of Valleyfield, who co-wrote many of the early songs with John B.
Fiddlers’ Sons have had several different fiddlers along the way after Sheila went on to a solo career after five years with the group. The guys have shared their stage with Cynthia MacLeod, Maria MacDougall and Courtney Hogan, all of whom have influenced the group in her own special way.
Founding member and long time bass player Garth Matthews passed away in 2016. Eddy, John and Courtney decided to honor his memory by keeping the music alive and continuing on as a band. They invited multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Keelin Wedge to join the group and round out the band’s current lineup. Keelin adds musical diversity to the stage, playing bass, fiddle, mandolin, and guitar. She also sings lead and harmony vocals.
A fan favorite with Islanders and visitors alike, Fiddlers’ Sons also host what has become one of the most popular summer concert series in PEI. Close to the Ground, coming up on it’s 15th season, runs every Thursday in July to September in Pooles Corner and features guest performers who represent the traditional roots music from around the Island and the region.
Fiddlers’ Sons continue to what they do best; entertain. They are keeping traditional music alive, bringing new stories to life with each new song they write and continue to bring people together across the Island and the world with their music