Country-folk singer/songwriter Fred J. Eaglesmith was one of nine children born to a farming family in rural southern Ontario.
While still in his teens, he hopped a freight train to Western Canada and began his life as a performing songwriter. Often employing his difficult upbringing as raw material for his heartland narratives, he issued his self-titled debut LP in 1980. He recorded infrequently throughout the remainder of the decade, releasing only two more albums, The Boy That Just Went Wrong and Indiana Road. However, Eaglesmith gradually became an underground favorite in his native Canada, thanks largely to a relentless touring schedule with his longtime band -- bassist Ralph Schipper and mandolinist Willie P. Bennett
. The band was alternately called the Flying Squirrels or the Flathead Noodlers, depending upon the style of music they were playing. Beginning in the early '90s, Eaglesmith's recorded output increased dramatically, and over the next two decades, he would firmly establish himself with more than a dozen albums and countless live performances. In 2000, he formed his own record company, A Major Label
, on which he released albums like 2002's Falling Stars and Broken Hearts, 2004's Dusty, and 2006's Milly's Cafe. He also released a pair of Official Bootleg Series collections documenting his live solo sets. Over the years, Eaglesmith's songs have followed the narratives of various down-and-out rural characters and subjects, and he's become known for his often lengthy and comic storytelling on-stage. In the 2010s, his output remained strong and of high quality with acclaimed releases like 2010's Cha Cha Cha, 2011's 6 Volts, and 2013's Tambourine. In early 2017, Eaglesmith delivered his 21st studio album, Standard. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi