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Frederick John Elgersma (born July 9, 1957), known by the stage name Fred Eaglesmith, is a Canadian alternative country singer-songwriter. He is known for writing songs about vehicles, rural life, down-and-out…
Frederick John Elgersma (born July 9, 1957), known by the stage name Fred Eaglesmith, is a Canadian alternative country singer-songwriter. He is known for writing songs about vehicles, rural life, down-and-out characters, lost love and quirky rural folk. His songwriting uses techniques of short story writing, including unreliable narrators, surprise endings, and plot twists. In 2016, Eaglesmith toured extensively with his band.
As a teenager Eaglesmith hopped a freight train to Western Canada and began writing songs and performing.
Eaglesmith founded a band known as the Smokin' Losers. He later formed a group called known as both the Flying Squirrels and the Flathead Noodlers, switching the name to represent different styles of music. The Flathead Noodlers play bluegrass, while the Flying Squirrels play more folk and rock. His first self-titled album was released in 1980.
Eaglesmith appeared in a 2001 television movie, The Gift.
A typical Fred Eaglesmith show includes his music set between several lengthy between-song comic monologues by Eaglesmith. Topics in the past have included stories about crossing the U.S.–Canada border, Newfoundlanders, and some friends from an Indian reserve. His fans are known as "Fredheads", a nod to deadheads, who followed the Grateful Dead. He is known to tour extensively throughout Canada and the U.S.
When Eaglesmith appears in solo performances, he bills himself as Fred J. Eaglesmith. In addition to his own albums, he frequently collaborated with the late Willie P. Bennett, a former member of Eaglesmith's band, who stepped down after a heart attack in early 2007. Eaglesmith publishes his own records.
In 2010, Eaglesmith was featured on the Late Show with David Letterman as the musical guest. He performed "Careless" from the album Cha Cha Cha.
Starting 2012, performances were billed as the Fred Eaglesmith Travelling Steam Show and include opening songs performed by Bill Poss, The Ginn Sisters, and Tif Ginn.
Fred co-wrote Tif's self-titled 2012 album with her, and the pair married in 2014. The backing band was disbanded in 2016 and they have been touring together as a duo since.
Eaglesmith's songs have been included in the musical play, Dear Johnny Deere. The play was performed at the Charlottetown Festival in 2013. Tif co-produced and mixed Fred's 2017 album, Standard.