Concerts and Shows at The Magic Bag

Rik Emmett (of Triumph) with Dave Dunlop

Saturday, July 15 - Doors 8pm - $30 adv.

Rik Emmett was a relatively unknown singer/songwriter/guitarist on the local Toronto scene in September of '75 when he joined a newly-formed hard rock trio called Triumph. By '79 three albums had gone platinum in Canada and two charted in the States, receiving serious radio airplay. By '81 Triumph was firmly established as one of the premier touring rock acts in North America, with generous FM radio airplay support and heavy rotation on the fledgling MTV cable channel. In the next seven years, the band released ten gold albums, with four turning platinum in Canada. In the U.S., two went gold. Emmett's name frequently appeared in guitar magazine polls and he won several prestigious awards, including Best Lead Guitarist in a national poll in 1981. Rik has said many times in interviews that he always felt the need for the band to try and live up to the name it had chosen for itself. He left the band to begin a solo career in '88. As one of the band's original members, Rik was inducted into the Canadian Rock Hall of Fame in '93, the Music Industry Hall of Fame in 2007, and the Junos Hall of Fame in 2008. Triumph reunited briefly for concerts in Sweden and Oklahoma in the summer of 2008. A duo project with Dave Dunlop called Strung-Out Troubadours won both Duo Of The Year and Album Of The Year honors at the 2007 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards. The follow-up CD, entitled Push & Pull, was released in the late spring of 2009. In the fall of 2009, the debut CD of an acoustic guitar trio (the P.R.O. Trio) with Pavlo and Oscar Lopez, entitled "Trifecta", was released, in advance of the heaviest Canadian touring schedule that Emmett has been involved in since the '80's, commencing in January of 2010 and continuing throughout the year. The album was nominated for a JUNO award as Instrumental Album of the Year.

Rik's solo career spawned three releases for Duke Street/MCA Records in the early '90s. The first, Absolutely, went gold in 1990, yielding the hits "Saved by Love" and "Big Lie", two songs that provided a transition from arena rock while maintaining continuity at FM radio. The ballad "When a Heart Breaks" crossed a rock guitar hero over into other radio formats and revealed a more sensitive singer/songwriter persona. "World of Wonder" also received substantial airplay and showcased an expanding lyrical and stylistic range. The "Ipso Facto" CD followed in '92, offering up the hits "Out of The Blue" (a jazzy-bluesy tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Hendrix and Wes Montgomery) and "Bang On", a rocking return to one of Rik's personal themes – positive motivation and inspiration. Ipso Facto's stylistic versatility was no surprise to fans who knew the guy who constantly plugged trademark classical guitar pieces or little jazz tunes in between hard rock anthems, arena blues riffs and progressive flourishes found on past records. A singer/songwriter album called Spiral Notebook followed in '95, earning airplay on its ballads "Let Me Be The One" and "The Longing". In '96, Emmett began testing the courage of his musical convictions with work in his own digital studio and through his own independent record label. These instincts paid off artistically. The first release was "Ten Invitations from the Mistress of Mr E.", original instrumentals of classical nylon-string guitar, reminding critics and fans alike that the rock "guitar god" was never a one-trick pony. Part two of his guitar trilogy, "Swing Shift", took a completely different musical direction, featuring jazz, swing and fusion. Again, the CD was well received, with the emergence of the song "Santa Fe Horizon" as a classic staple in the smooth jazz field, capturing the interest of brand-new fans in growing musical circles. The spirits of diehard fans were elevated as they witnessed this artistic transformation, defying mainstream classification. "Raw Quartet", released in early 1999, became the final CD in the trilogy, displaying Rik's passion and natural affinity for blues. 1999's "Live at Berklee" (highlights from sold-out shows at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston) was followed by a traditional "Spirit of Christmas" album, recorded in collaboration with Glass Tiger keyboardist Sam Reid. One of the big thrills in Rik's lifetime occurred in the summer of 2001, when George Benson joined Rik on stage during a guitar festival in Buffalo NY and they brought the house down with an impromptu version of "On Broadway". 2002 brought the release of a "20th Century Masters: Best of Rik Emmett Collection" through Universal, followed by another widely-acclaimed indie instrumental smooth jazz masterpiece CD, "Handiwork". In the late summer of 2003, the acoustic singer/songwriter re-emerged with the "Good Faith" CD, another new chapter in an already storied career. In 2005, Rik was honored as Guitarist of the Year at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, but the wide range of Emmett's abilities have been constantly on display – from smooth jazz and fingerstyle guitar festivals in Canada to heavy metal festivals in Germany and Sweden: from Artistic Directing a songwriting workshop to jamming with Alex Lifeson of Rush at theGuitar Workshop Plus: from huge classic rock outdoor shows with Triumph, to intimate acoustic duo gigs: from orchestra nights honoring the classic rock song catalogues of Eric Clapton, or The Beatles: through to releases like 2007's hard rocking "Liberty Manifesto", or the all-acoustic "Live at Hugh's Room", released in the same year. Rik's reputation has been bolstered by collaborations that branched away from a mainstream career path. The first high-profile project was a guitar quartet project in 1987, that produced a vinyl insert recording for the U.S. Guitar Player magazine – 'Beyond Borders' featured Liona Boyd, Ed Bickert and Alex Lifeson, bringing Rik's original compositional sketch to life. Over 20 years later, in another eclectic, daring adventure, the P.R.O. Trio of guitarists Pavlo, Rik, and Oscar Lopez blended their acoustic styles into Mediterranean and Latin contexts. In the past 8 years, Rik has also worked extensively with guitarist Dave Dunlop in a duo called Strung-Out Troubadours, (later shortened to just 'Troubs') and with drummer / vocalist Mike Shotton, in a prog-rock recording project they called 'Airtime'.

A guitar magazine once wrote that Rik Emmett was "… his own worst enemy. He's one of the only guitarists out there who may be too talented for his own damn good". In a digital sound bite world, this offers insight on a music biz lifer, recognizing a unique artist, still going strong. For 44 years, as his own worst enemy, Rik has tried to base his choices on being a loyal friend to his gifts, instead of a slave to circumstantial fashion (with luggage to match). Rik holds true to his dreams of the magic power of the music, and does his best to share that with every audience, of every stripe, every night that he performs. 

Dave Dunlop has been a pro guitarist/writer/singer/educator for the last 15 years. Originally from Ottawa, Toronto has now been home base since the late 80's. Picking up a friend's guitar at the age of 13, he played his first gig 2 months later, winning a battle of the bands in a group called "Albatross", showcasing all original material. That cinched it - music was going to be Dave's primary focus in life. A few years of playing in and around the Ottawa area in a band called Blind Ambition convinced him to take it to another level, so after high school he moved to Toronto to study jazz at Humber College.Immediately after Humber, Dave did his first large scale tour as a sideman for the pop vocalist Patti Jannetta, highlighted by some touring over in Thailand. That was followed by a period of immersion as a new-kid-in-town hired gun in the Canadian country scene. Looking back, Dave says, "I think my guitar playing improved dramatically after getting the chops together to play that country stuff. Albert Lee, Vince Gill - man - those guys can play!" >From there, Dave went back to his rock roots and formed the band "Insulin" with friends Steve Skingley and Troy Feener, showing influence by King's X, Fishbone and Faith No More.In 1990, Dave became a faculty member at the National Summer Guitar Workshop, a U.S.-based school starting up a satellite program in Toronto. While teaching at the Workshop, Dave met and jammed with Canadian Hall of Fame legend Rik Emmett, and became a regular member of his touring band. Between Emmett dates in the next few years, Dave kept honing his own writing chops, as well as doing sideman stints with a wide variety of artists including Bo Diddley, Lisa Dalbello, Mike Reno (of Loverboy fame), and Ron Sexsmith. He also challenged himself with his role in The Shrimptons, playing jazz/fusion covers and instrumental originals in various house gig situations around Toronto.In 1998, Troy Feener (from the Insulin days) put a rock project together and called Dave: "The Full Nine" was born, and would go on to sign a major label deal with Disney's Mammoth Records. Although the label would fold just as the band prepared to release their debut album worldwide, TF9 still managed to have great success on radio with the single "Not Over". Not to be discouraged by corporate instability, they released their new album entitled "Dead Wait" independently through Maple Music in 2006.Part & parcel of this wide-ranging indie spirit was that Dave finally took the plunge in '05 and put the "Room 9" studio together in his Toronto home, where he's been busy recording and producing projects non-stop ever since. The studio also drew him into the jingle world, writing the music for an American Budweiser radio campaign. Some of his projects include the theme song for the Autism Foundation, performed by Victoria Boland, and the latest EP by Toronto rock band "Norever". Last year Dave was also fortunate enough to hook up with "Jeans 'n Classics", which is a group of players that travel around North America playing theme and tribute shows with orchestras. Dave has won raves for his handiwork, ranging from the repertoire of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, through George Harrison of The Beatles, and on to Nirvana.His working relationship with Emmett grew to the point that they released a duo project together, called "Strung-Out Troubadours", with Dave co-writing/recording/co-producing and performing. The strength of the duo's chemistry led to several Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards nominations in '07: the "Troubs" are up for best guitarists, best album, and best duo or group – the heaviest recognition of any act. Dave and Rik continue to tour on the strength of that CD, but far from resting on their laurels, their follow-up has just hit the market, entitled "Live at Hugh's Room", [produced & mixed by Dave] showcasing the acoustic duo in a magical evening captured just before Christmas 2006 at the fabled 'Hugh's Room" in Toronto.
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