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Marked by a fierce wanderlust and a collection of Canadian addresses that spans the entire country, John Guliak’s calm and worldly vision expressed through his eclectic songwriting feels both magnetic and effortless at once. His understated turns of phrase convey a considered approach to life and its delicacies while at the same time maintaining a melodic and accessible appeal. With more than 35 years as a prairie troubadour, touring internationally and living abroad, Guliak’s best and brightest may still be just ahead.

With a profound respect for literature and a thirst for knowledge, Guliak’s passion for both mainstream and alternative music grew as he ventured from the farmlands of Saskatchewan to the capitals of Europe. As a result of his studies in Political Economy, he became tethered to socially conscious folk music for most of his young adulthood. Over time Guliak gradually rediscovered traditional arrangements and writing styles that had passed him by in earlier years and began generating his own variations on these timeless blueprints. The songs that result from this perspective have been compared to those of other uniquely Canadian voices such as Gordon Lightfoot and Leonard Cohen. 

As a veteran artist of Mint Records, Guliak released two full-length albums that were met with critical acclaim. In 2016, he self-released Fluke or Flounder with support from heavy-hitter Paul Rigby (Neko Case, Garth Hudson, Leeroy Stagger, The Sadies). The result was a unique, alternative post-rock sound with the cadence of diehard traditional folk featured throughout. This recording followed a 7 year sojourn in Glasgow where he took a respite from performing while continuing to write. 

Returning to Canada in 2015, Guliak’s performances and songwriting have been admired and sought out by the music community as he continues to grow a dedicated audience. His live show is an engaging experience accented with authenticity and charm in exactly the right proportions helping to create an atmosphere that feels more like a conversation than a performance. His whiskey and cigarettes baritone has been described in Nerve Magazine as, "one of those character voices that should almost be trademarked."  

Whether globetrotting among the nameless or humbly coaxing crowds on stage, John Guliak’s songwriting is a treasure. His dedication to exploring points of connection both captivates and refreshes anyone who is lucky enough to end up in his presence. Among the polished branding of mainstream culture, Guliak’s candour is a soft reminder of the purpose for art and understanding.

In 2015 and 2016 he attended the Musician in Residence Program at The Banff Arts Centre, he also attended a 3 week residency at Rest For the Wicked in Brussels, Belgium in 2018. In 2019 he attended a 10 day writing workshop in Nashville at the home of Linda McRae with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. 2020 has him ready to release 3 new digital EPs: Fisherman, Farmer, Fool and planning to stay safe until things approach normal again.

NEWS

i haven’t written anything here for a while - it’s been difficult to be creatively motivated these days despite having more spare time and plenty to write about. i’ve still got some projects on the go that will be seeing the light of day soon and there’s a glimmer of hope on the performance front. i’ve watched my Summer and Fall tours in Canada and Europe grow uncertain and then be cancelled or pushed - any kind of planning has become pretty much impossible at this time. i do realize that many folks are in the same boat and many others are struggling with life and death issues that make my difficulties petty by comparison and this keeps me from feeling too sorry for myself. despite any creative difficulties i might be having, as well as trying to be safe and socially responsible in regards to the pandemic, i am trying to keep busy with finishing up a recording project and starting another.

i released the first installment of my three part project, Fisherman, Farmer, Fool, earlier this year. it has only been available as a digital download or stream from this site and from my Bandcamp page. i decided not to seek distribution through the regular big networks - Spotify, Amazon, iTunes - as i feel i really need to stand behind my criticism of how poorly these platforms pay for the content that they are growing wealthy from. this limited distribution is bound to impact circulation and sales but i’ve decided to make a stand here.

 

making the release of Fisherman available only as a download has also presented some challenges - it seems folks are still quite attached to having physical copies. people cite a few reasons why they don’t purchase downloads: they want to own their copy, they miss the artwork, lyrics, and liner notes, they don’t like the quality of MP3s, and they want to have a physical memento. 

for as long as i can remember i have been a music collector and have spent a big chunk of my life browsing through and purchasing music no matter the format - Vinyl, 8 Track, Cassette, CD, and Digital Downloads. despite having some pretty impressive collections over the years, these days my music is almost exclusively Downloads. i own this music just as much as the CDs and Vinyl i used to own; most of this downloaded music also comes with downloadable artwork, lyrics, and liner notes and if it doesn’t, all of this is usually available online with a minimum of searching; most Downloads are available in lossless audio formats such as Wav or Flac files which are superior in sound quality to MP3s; i do miss having a physical memento at times and will purchase CDs for this reason, even if they never get played after i rip into my collection.

to address the purchaser concerns discussed here i am releasing 8” X 6” Download Code cards that will display each release’s full colour Artwork on the front cover (Fisherman, Farmer, Fool each feature a unique three part evolving portrait by Betty-Anne Lampman), liner notes and graphic work on the back, and lyrics and song credits, code and download instructions on the inner pages.

part one of my EP trilogy, Fisherman, has been released for a few of months now - thanks to all who purchased or streamed it over that time, to the radio programs who gave it some air time, and to Fish Griwkowsky Themes running in threes for John Guliak's Saturday Empress concert and FatDave Johnson, John Guliak - 'The Fisherman', for their reviews. 

i will soon release part two, Farmer, which is in its post-production phase, and i will also begin recording part three, Fool, you can soon purchase my new releases three different ways: 

1. three song EP at Bandcamp https://johnguliak.bandcamp.com/ for $5.

2. nine song LP with three new original songs and a different six song collection from my previous releases with each new release on this site https://johnguliak.com/store for  $10.

3. the large format Download card i’ve described above with nine song LP - $15 for one, $20 for two, and $25 for three, available at the purchase sites above and from me in person.


 

Hey Folks - without a whole lotta hoopla i am self-releasing my newest Fisherman today available only through my website and Bandcamp. here's a little lyric vid i through together

a really nice article here from Fish Griwkowsky of The Edmonton Journal

My Summer shaped up nicely - i headed out to the West Coast to play some shows in Vancouver and on a few of the islands with Vancouver Island native John Gogo in July. it was so nice to be on the coast in the Summer and to visit old friends and make myself better acquainted with John and his music.

i am also well into a new recording project that i will complete and release in 3 stages between January and July 2020. this will be the first recording project that i will complete in Edmonton and i am very excited about the collaborations with this city's Arts community that i have lined up for it. the project is called "Fisherman, Farmer, Fool" - each word in the title represents a 3 song cycle that will each be released separately as electronic EPs as they are produced.

all the parts of "Fisherman, Farmer, Fool" will be recorded and mixed by Scott Franchuk at Edmonton's Riverdale Recorders with an eye on bringing them all together as a long play vinyl release. Scott was one of the first people i met from the Edmonton music community - i knew him through local Canadian heroes Old Reliable who i had met while i was living in Vancouver.  we have got to know each other pretty well in the years since but this is the first time we have worked with each other. i have always admired his work and the way he goes about it - he is a weathered and measured presence in his studio and i am lucky for his direction.

another collaborator that i have been looking forward to working with is local Composer and Cellist Christine Hanson. who helped me with some early arrangements for the songs that make up Part 1 - Fisherman. though i have known her work for some time and we even share a common history of having lived in Edmonton then Glasgow and then back in Edmonton again, we only recently got together in preparation for this project. she was instrumental in helping me line up a couple of Scottish musicians, Gordon Gunn (fiddle) and Kevin Murray (guitar) who gave me some beautiful tracks. she was also responsible for bringing in musicians from the wider community who i have not previously had the opportunity to work with such as Jamie Philp (guitar), Daniel Stadniki (drums/percussion), and Andrea Vogal (vocals). rounding out the musicians on this leg of the recording were Jason Kodie (accordion, keys, vocals), Mike Lent (bass), Paul Rigby (electric guitars, ebow), Paul Pigat (electric guitar), and Mirielle Moquin (vocals). the songs we have tracked: Sum of Survival (SOS), Private Melville's Vast Retreat, and Roger Casement all turned out really well and i am excited to share them with you in the new year.

Speaking of musicians i have previously worked with, i will also be bringing the members of Ayla Brook and the Sound Men  to record some soon-to-be C&W classics for the middle cycle, "Farmer". several years ago, while living and performing in Edmonton, i had a group of musicians working with me called The New Lougans - you can hear some of the work we did together on my site here . after i moved to Scotland this group stayed together and began performing Ayla's songs, it was really great to reconnect with this talented group of musicians who include Ayla Brook (guitars), Sean Brewer (guitar, vocals), Brent Oliver (bass, vocals), Johnny Blerot (keys), and Chris Sturwold (drums). we cranked out almost all the tracking for three songs: Dusty, Hack of All Trades, and High On Style, in 3 fun filled days. local musician/writer Kristy Nanise helped me out with some lyrics while Nataya Nolan backed by Emily Bachinski and Alex Vissia came in and laid down some incredible vocal tracks for High On Style - i can't hardly wait to release these 3 songs by early Spring 2020.

OK - i'm off preparing for this stuff - i will be updating my progress as it occurs.

 

My winter trip was all i planned it to be and then some, despite the terrible weather i seemed to drag around with me, but i wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without a ton of support:

1. from the Canada Council for the Arts who surprised me mid-trip with some funding for my time in Nashville;

2. from Linda and James for sharing their home with me and making sure i got the most out of being in Nashville; especially to Linda who has been a mentor to me since we met in Vancouver all those years ago. If anyone has ever had the misfortune of trying to co-write with me or has attempted to give me advice on my writing, you will know how significant the following praise is: Linda’s writing workshop produced some truly revelatory moments for me. We set and followed a clear agenda that had us working on some material that I have not recorded yet and then discussing and working on some new ideas, approaches, and directions. Everything that we touched on, either through informal discussions or concrete exercises, had some constructive outcomes and i left the sessions changed and confident. I can’t recommend Linda’s home workshop too highly: https://www.lindamcrae.com/nashville-home-workshops

3. from all the friends who put me up (up with me) throughout my travels, who helped set up shows, and who shared a stage with me:

while in Toronto i was also lucky to perform an opening set with support on guitar from David DeLeary for Jack Marks and the Lost Wages the Cameron House - thanks to all for a lovely evening:

I then travelled for my first (FINALLY) ever visit to Nova Scotia. The rugged and beautiful landscapes i passed through and the support of the people who welcomed music as a cultural rather than a commercial entity, constantly reminded on Scotland. I was very lucky to play some Songwriter in the Round shows throughout Nova Scotia with the brilliant company of Kim Barlow and Robyn Carrigan - i had the best seat in the house at all the shows we played - thanks to Erin and Matthew at the Church Brewing Company in Wolfville, to the folks in Shelburne , Sydney, and Seaforth for putting together lovely shows.for us:

I then went for a visit to NYC where i walked for hours up and down 5th and 7th Avenues taking in as many treasures as possible - Art, Central Park, Shows, Restaurants, Bars, Hustlers, Lights, Towers, People, People, People, Car Horns...everything i imagined NYC to be - special mention goes to the Neue Galleria https://www.neuegalerie.org/ for surprising me with some of my all-time favourite portraits by Dix, Kokoshka, Gerstl, Kollwitz, Schiele, Nussbaum, and others - i was overwhelmed at times.

Then came the final leg of my journey - i already spoke to the time i had at Linda’s place but i also got to see a fair bit of Nashville - the absolute glut of music on Broadway, the Country Music Hall of Fame, so many guitars, great shows at The Station, The Nashville Palace, and 3rd and Lindsley, and some fantastic southern food. I was lucky to tag along for a short trip around Tennessee with Crossing the Caney, a new group that Linda performs with that includes some really talented folks who can boast close associations with musicians i have long admired like John Hartford, Chet Atkins, Vassar Clements, and Hoyt Axton. Thanks to Kris and Dale Ballinger and Mark Howard for inviting me along for the beautiful little drive through southeastern Tennessee, i never imagined how gorgeous the state of Tennessee is and how welcoming its people would be.

Now it’s time to let the real world settle in again - i’ve got some big plans brewing - stay tuned - check out Linda's workshop page and drop her a line - you won't regret it.

 

Got a pretty nice poster done by Travis Salty for my upcoming tour

 

February/March - Shows in Toronto/Nova Scotia/PEI - Residency in Nashville

I am very excited to announce a little trip out east and then down south which includes a show in Toronto at The Burdock with Jack Marks, a trip to Nova Scotia and PEI with shows with    Kim Barlow and Robyn CarriganI am then headed into the US for a little sight-seeing in NYC and then for a 10 day stay at my old friend Linda McRae's home in Nashville where I will work on some new and emerging material. My buddy bobby yiannakoulias did this great little animation for me.

Sorry you haven't heard from me in awhile - i've been working on some exciting projects and all shall soon be revealed. In the meantime please enjoy this video of myself and Jason Kodie (KODIAK) performing the song Dust from 2016's Fluke or Flounder. BIG THANKS to the multi-amicable Daryl Payne who wore all of the hats making this video for his home project: Feature Wall

 

Spring Tour is booked! Dates in Alberta and BC are confirmed for May 2018 for the 'In the Round and All Together' tour featuring myself, Jason Kodie, and Jody Shenkarek. Thanks to all the bookers and friends of bookers who helped me put this all together - your support and patience are really appreciated!

I am kicking off the new year in style earning a designation of "municipal treasure"  by The Edmonton Journal's Fish Griwkowsky in his year-end review of live music

January 11 - February 17 I will taking a little trip that has me playing shows in Amsterdam, Glasgow, and Brussels as part of an Artist Residency that I will be attending at Rest For The Wicked in Brussels - details to follow

 

          THESE JUST IN AND RIGHT ON TIME FOR XMAS
 

 

Previous events

John Guliak with Jason Kodie

Cask and Barrel, 10041 104 St NW, Edmonton

John Guliak plays original songs and the odd cover with the support of Jason Kodie on accordion and keyboards at the Cask & Barrel's weekly Garage Band Saturdays - FREE EVENT - and the kids can come

Blog/News

Fall/Winter Plans Taking Shape

i have some very exciting projects in the works; from one of my songs being featured in an upcoming, locally produced documentary, to collaborative writing and recording projects, attending a Workshop/Residency with Linda McRae in Nashville, and touring and…

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New Video for Roger Casement

Roger Casement, as performed by myself and Jason Kodie, June 4, 2017 and recorded by Daryl Payne and Jason Gordon at The Empress Ale House in Edmonton Alberta. i wrote this song while on a Banff Centre For The…

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New Video for Sail Away

last Sunday Jason Kodie and i sat down before First Orders at The Empress Ale House in Edmonton, AB and played a couple of tunes. Daryl Payne and Jason Gordon were there to capture the sound and vision and we…

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