Raised on a Dublin, Ontario farm, he grew up playing piano
accompaniment for his father who played Don Messer style fiddle
[South-western Ontario Celtic]. Bob played tunes on the
harmonica for his classmates at any opportunity.
1962-65 Bob’s other great love was trains. When he got his first
job off the farm, it was as a relief Station Agent for the C.N.R.
Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins [Mr. Dynamo] was a great inspiration to
him, and so too was the bluesy groove of Jimmy Reed’s
music. One night he heard … “the chimes of
freedom”…and he bought a Bob Dylan album………
months later ….he sold his 65 Mustang…grew a beard…quit his
job…bought a guitar… learned his first songs Blowin’ in the
Wind and Times Are A’ Changin’.
After returning from backpacking across Europe, he returned to
Canada where he first met Duke Wilson, who was then working at
the Black Swan Coffeehouse in Stratford Ontario.
stayed in Stratford, ran the espresso machine at the Black Swan
… He hitched rides to the west coast playing coffeehouses, ..
then, to the east coast, .. where he got a job as helmsman on a
Greek freighter, the S.S. Hadsund and went to Ireland to kiss
the Blarney Stone and on to Spain and Morocco……
1965-75 At the THE BLACK SWAN...Bob met and jammed with some of
the folks.. Cedric Smith, Richard Keelan, Misty Wizards, Fred
Baue, Jackie Washington, Terry Jones, Doug McArthur, Stan Rogers
, Valdy , David Woodhead, Jude Crocker, John Jackson, Colin
Linden, Jerome Jarvis, Brent Titcomb, Pierre Pot, Colleen
Peterson, Bob Carpenter….the list goes on…
In Toronto, Bob studied Classical guitar with Carl Van Feggelin
and flatpicking with Dave Wilcox.
1968, Bob Burchill moved to Winnipeg where he taught guitar
..and played back-up guitar and Mandolin with The Chicken Flats
String Band. He also learned more about prairie style
fiddle from Fyddler Zeuf.
Bob was hired to be the guitarist in an show “Spoon River
Anthology”. Toronto became his home where he
worked as a fiddler/actor in a play at the Bathurst Church
Theatre called “She Named it Canada Because That Was What It
Bob became a full time player and one of the lead singers with
“Perth County Conspiracy does not exist”…He shared the singing
and stage with Cedric Smith, Richard Keelan, mime “Pierre
Pot”, Terry Jones, Judy Crocker, and David Balser.
County released the, What Bus? album on Rumour Records with
three of Bob’s songs on it. [Sad Stories, Kingdoms, Earthbound]
During that time, Bob toured coast to coast several times
playing University concert halls, coffeehouses, and Jubilee
Bob's song Black Creek released as a single on the
1975 saw the release of his first solo album “Cabin
Fever”. He decided to form his own band, a Concert /Boogie
concept .. so, the band The Perth County Express does not
exhaust was formed, and Bob played at various festivals the next
three years. Some of those were Festival of Friends, Northern
Lights/Festival Boreal, Blue Skies, Ottawa Folk Fest, Home
County Fest, and …The Riverboat in Yorkville.
During the early period of Bob’s music, he had the pleasure of
being the first artist to record David Woodhead on an album..
also guitarist John Jackson and later guitarist Brian Lee
Griffith, and percussionist/drummer Jerome Jarvis.
Bob and Perth County Express recorded the album, “Will I Ever
Get To Heaven” [a hobo’s spiritual] an it was released with very
1979-80…Bob formed “Nearly Normal” , a duo with Glen
Soulis of Kitchener.
In 1980, he recorded his third solo
Album “Hugs…Bob Burchill…of songs of love and rain, with John
Till and Ken Kalmusky, and other fine musicians. He
also developed a good big repertoire of Irish Pub songs
1981-84.. Bob formed Two Blue, a duo with
Caroline Danowski, played dining rooms and concerts, and
released an album on cassette, also titled “Two Blue” .
1985-89 formed “Wild & Blue” with Phil Blackler, a local
rocker,… and was lead singer/guitarist/fiddler, of the group.
1990-93 Bob was the lead guitarist of “Partners, Brothers and
Friends”, a dance band.
1989 Bob started a music teaching studio in St. Marys, Ont., ...
as sort of a folklore centre…. It was called “R.B Music”.
For 12 years he busily taught students of all ages how to make
music on a variety of instruments; Guitar, mandolin, fiddle,
bass, and keyboards.. Bob ran his shop in the “Stonetown” until
July, 2001. His motto “Play skillfully with a loud noise...’
He developed his Pioneer show for the Avon Valley Historical Society, Fryfogle Tavern, School program in 1992. Children come to the Settlers Tavern on the historic Huron Trail, at Shakespeare on Hywy #8 and spend the day doing pioneer crafts, games, gardening, quilting, and music. Bob has been regularly featured as a "special event" every year since '92 to the present..and is a big favorite with the teachers who bring their little pioneer students. Bob plays many instruments in the show and the kids have a boisterous time..often ending in a wild "Old Tyme" dance.
In 2001 Bob retired the "Stonetown" music studio and settled into a quiet country lifestyle of gardening, cutting wood for the stove, and playing music gigs.
In 2002, Bob produced, "It's a Grand Garden", with 14 original songs. During this time he also re-mastered some of his earlier albums.
In 2006 he produced his 7th cd. One of a traditional nature -- " When I was a kid", is a collection of songs and fiddle music ( South Western Ontario Celtic and Country) that he grew up with, plus four originals in the style of those times.."
"The Busker" cd , released Jan. 2009, has 14 original songs of various style, and of a variety of themes. "The Waitin' Generation", or, "Sour Grapes", , and positive love songs , "Our Days are Bright, or Pale Moon Shining, or the lusty darker side with "Bells of Midnight".
He also moved into London from his hobby farm at that time.
Bob lives in London Ont., and is part of a vibrant music scene, in the city. He's recording the ghost tracks of many new works in his studio. Currently jamming, using his elec/acoustic violin in groups that play Celtic to Bluegrass to Blues in a variety of weekly jam sessions around the city. Oh, did I mention, writing stories and songs.
This is the end of this part of the story..the Bob Burchill
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