Bio

Scott Parsons

Singer-Songwriter Scott Parsons is a versatile and multi-dimensional talent whose musicianship and performance capabilities have taken him to many countries around the world. His perseverance as an independent artist is a testament to the Maritime Spirit. Parsons is a gifted songwriter, a solid musician and an emotionally expressive vocalist with a powerful set of pipes that can take a song anywhere he wants that song to go.

-- Doug Gallant, The Guardian

Scott Parsons is a multi-disciplined Island musician who has consistently utilized his accomplishments to enrich both himself and his community. His involvement with theatre, film, radio and television has sparked an artistic creativity that carries over to his work with disabled and high-priority youth.

Scott's body of work spans nearly five decades and he has played too many benefits, bars and small venues to be named. His folk festival appearances have included the Mariposa Folk Festival (Toronto), Winnipeg Folk Festival, Calgary Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, the Islands Folk Festival (Vancouver Island), Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Deep Roots Festival (Wolfville, NS), the Wymarsh Festival (Ontario), Seattle Folklife Fair, Montreal Celtic Festival, Gene MacLellan Song Festival (PEI), PEI Jazz and Blues Festival, and the Stan Rogers Festival.

He has done two extensive tours of Switzerland and has played across Canada, the U.S., England, Wales, Scotland and the Orkney Islands. He has opened for Blue Rodeo, Jesse Winchester, backed up the infamous Daisy Debolt and was bass player for Gene MacLellan. He was also honored to do a concert at Metro Detroit's "Gilda's Club," dedicated to comedian Gilda Radner.

Throughout his career, Scott has been more than willing to donate his time and energy to his community. He has played at many benefits for individuals and organizations and performed at citizenship ceremonies for the province of PEI and the government of Canada.

1960s and 70s

In the mid to late '60s it was a common sight to see the young guitar player sitting in with, and being mentored by, Island greats including Gene MacLellan, Lucian LaRoux and George Antoniak. Scott paid attention and he learned, and by the mid-seventies his own sound, influenced by folk, blues, reggae, country and rock music, began to emerge. He has since coined the term Rastacadian to describe his percussive finger-style playing.

Scott's exposure to musicians and his innate talent led him to other artists and artistic pursuits. He taught creative drama classes to children at Charlottetown's The Mack Theatre the year it opened, and he co-wrote the music for, and performed in, the "Great Banana Split" at the Confederation Centre. He was also one of the founders of the PEI Music Co-op and wrote the music for and performed in a Findhorn and Essalen Institute sponsored play about solar energy.

His studies during this period included theatre (the Stanislavski system) with Ron Irving, mime with Norman Osborne, voice with George Merner, puppetry with the Merry Time Puppet Company, and stage/set design with Gary Hopper and Keith Tyler Smith at the Confederation Center of the Arts. In 1978 he studied Radio Broadcasting in Halifax at CRXL Radio Broadcasting School.

1980s

In the early '80s, when he wasn't touring, Scott worked as a technician for Perryscope Productions. This work consisted of putting on large stadium shows for many popular bands and the experience helped him to hone his musical ear and his technical abilities.

During Expo 1986, Scott worked in the Canada Pavilion in Vancouver as a sound and lighting technician and shortly after he toured BC and Alberta as the bass player with The Dynamics. He formed the 'Happy as a Clam' band and for the next number of years he played with Calgary based singer-songwriter Jenny Allen and Kelowna based guitarist Don Blondin, appearing at many music festivals and venues across Alberta and BC as a single, duo and trio.

He also played with the Sun Ergos Dance Company and produced and co-directed two videos of his own songs, "What I Am" (16 mm film) and "Just When I Needed You Most."

While in western Canada, Scott began working with at-risk youth and trained in behaviour modification, rational emotive therapy, reality therapy, neuro-linguistic programming and other counselling and child development techniques, he consistently used his arts background to reach out to and help his kids.

1990s

In 1993, the United Nations used Scott's song "What I Am" as the theme song for the 1993 International Convention for the Rights of the Child in Victoria B.C. Scott formed the 'Second Narrows Band' with bassist John Johnston, harmonica player Monty Jones, and drummer Ron Hesketh, and played Vancouver and British Columbia venues.

Scott then returned to PEI and formed Jupiter Wise. This band did two tours of Switzerland and a number of CBC radio and television shows including Basic Black, Swinging On A Star and Up On The Roof; he also did a television show for Vision TV's Steeple Chasing. Popular on the local scene, they recorded the Jupiter Wise album at Studio H in Halifax. During this time Scott also taught guitar to many Islanders, offered free guitar lessons to students at St. Jean Elementary School in Charlottetown, and sat as a juror for the Canada Council.

In the summer of 1995 Scott became founder and producer/AD of the Gene MacLellan Song Festival, a tribute to his long time friend and mentor. Shortly after, Scott again headed west, this time teaming up with Ike and Tina Turner's former guitar player Dennis Green. Scott and Dennis played many gigs in Alberta and BC.

The '90s also saw Scott play a band member (stand-up bass) in the Sam Elliot Feature Film You Know My Name, and do a television show with Cinemage in Moncton, an artist exchange where visual artists and musicians create work inspired by each other's mediums.

2000 - Present

On his return to the Island, Scott wrote, produced and directed his short film Snowbird: The Search for Lonestar. He worked as a technician at the Arts Guild and toured the New York City school system, playing for children, with traditional artist Teresa Doyle. He also composed sound tracks for Jo-Dee Samuelson's award-winning film The Sand Box, and for Fox Henderson's short film GRIMM, which won Best Soundtrack at the PEI Film Festival

The 2000s saw Scott playing in a variety of venues. He has performed at the annual Desbrisay Gardens harvest event and at University of PEI faculty functions. He has performed at the Bluefield High School Youth Coffee House and had music workshops with Aboriginal youths and their families at the Lennox Island and Scotchfort reserves. In the early 2000s he produced the annual Souris regatta.

He has also toured the Maritimes in such venues as the Greenwood Lodge in Mirimichi, the Charlottetown Yacht Club Race Week, the Close to the Ground Concert series with Fiddlers Sons, the Orwell Corner Concert series, Music PEI's Always on Stage series on Victoria Row Charlottetown, Baba's Lounge Charlottetown, the Alibi Charlottetown, the Souris Show Hall (both with Jupiter Wise and also with New Yorker Henry Chapin), The Charlottetown Legion with the Wally Young Country Band, the PEI Blues Cruise in Cavendish, the Dunk in Breadalbane, 'Y' Lofts concerts in Charlottetown, many PEI Guitar Festivals and a few beach weddings. His music also took him back to B.C. and the Islands Folk Festival in both 2009 and 2010.

Scott was also part of a group that successfully raised money to buy myo-electric hands for a Sierra Leone refugee who had his hands cut off in his country's civil war. One of his songs was used on the Guatemalan Relief Project's Compilation Disc and another was used in Peter Murphy's film Dead Run. Scott was the provincial representative at the Department of Canadian Heritage and Cultural Diversity Forums in Halifax and Ottawa and he has produced the Annual Gene MacLellan Tribute Concert in Bonshaw since 2009.

His recent work includes writing and recording seven new songs for The Old Stock, a play written by Ron Irving and Harry Baglole about PEI Black history. The material is currently being taught as part of the curriculum for grade 6 and 12 students across the Island. Scott is currently writing material for another CD.

For six years Scott was the the Director of the award winning Around the Block Program for the PEI Council for People with Disabilities. He taught his young charges Bunraku style puppetry and toured Island schools with an anti-bullying puppet show about inclusion of people with disabilities. Scott produced and recorded his group's creation, "Ahmed's Song of Peace," in English and Palestinian, an outstanding feat considering only one of the group had any musical background.

Awards and Honours

  • The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, awarded to Islanders for service to their community and country (2012).
  • The Father Adrian Arsenault Senior Arts Award, Province of Prince Edward Island (2012).
  • Blues Recording of the Year for Live at Mahogany Hall, Music PEI (2011).
  • PEI Blues Artist of the Year for Nice To Wear, Music PEI (2003-4).
  • African-Canadian Recording of the Year for Nice To Wear, East Coast Music Awards (2003).
  • Best Soundtrack for a Short Film for Grimm, PEI Film Festival (2002).
  • "What I Am" (Jupiter Wise) selected as the theme song for the United Nations International Conference for the Rights of the Child (1993).