Based in Toronto and playing music from many corners of the world, The Shoeless is a fine blend between traditional folk songs and original material. Frank Evans on banjo, Eli Bender on cello and Emilyn Stam on fiddle. Their debut album was released on Sunday, October 5 at the Tranzac in Toronto, and is available here online. The debut release by The Shoeless features a wide range of traditional and new folk tunes, including sounds of Klezmer, French, German, Appalachian, English, plus some quirky originals by Eli, Frank and Emilyn. The music they play is a tribute to the wacky travels their lives take them on, each tune learned in a different part of the world with a unique story attached to it. The Shoeless arrangements have a large playful element to them, with no commitments to any particular style, but an appreciation for many. With cello, fiddle and banjo all taking turns on rhythmic chopping, swooping melody lines, and wacky acoustic musical adjectives, The Shoeless sound will have you groovin’ and smilin’ in your seat!
Download 250 word bio here: Shoeless Bio 250 Words
Emilyn Stam Emilyn Stam is a Toronto based fiddler, pianist and accordionist who loves putting a new twist on traditional music and collaborating with other art forms. Emilyn tours and performs with the Lemon Bucket Orkestra (balkan-gypsy-klezmer-party-punk-super-band), the Shoeless (banjo-cello-fiddle improvising/folk based originals) Eh?! (Canadian folk trio with Anne Lederman and James Stephens) and Té (a Netherlands-based Balfolk dance band). She is also involved in folk dancing and has started a new movement of people dancing old French social folk dances in Toronto. She regularly crosses over into other art forms, collaborating with improvising clowns (Amarelo-Brazil/Canada), theatre groups (the Theatre Lab-Toronto, Katja Heitmann-Germany), contemporary dancers (Suzette Sherman-Guelph) and poets (Pierre Guéry-France).
Emilyn has performed festivals, house concerts, venues large and small throughout Canada, Western and Eastern Europe in various musical configurations. She has released 5 albums (solo and collaborative) as well as appearing on at least 20 other recordings, including David Woodhead’s “Confabulation”, Oliver Schroer’s “Smithers” and Jaron Freeman-Fox’s “Manic Almanac, Slow Mobius”. The first album from her band “Eh?!” (with Anne Lederman and James Stephens) was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award.
Emilyn’s musicianship was developed through growing up in a northern mountain town with 80 other youth playing traditional and not so traditional fiddle music. Her Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 10 Piano degree, mentorship with Canadian producer/violinist Oliver Schroer, improvising classes with Casey Sokol at York University and a year of Classical Piano studies in the Netherlands all shape her unique style. Eli Bender Cellist, educator, and composer, Eli Bender has recently relocated to Toronto, Canada. Having completed his studies in Music Education at Michigan State University where his growth as a cellist was overseen by Suren Bagratuni, his work in the realm of creative musicianship led him to study with cello masters such as Mike Block, Natalie Haas, and Rushad Eggleston. This balance of classical pedagogy and creative musicianship has offered him opportunities to teach and perform with a variety of ensembles including the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, the band Gifts or Creatures, interning with the Fiddlers Restrung of Saline, and acting as Music Director for the Illusion Theater of Minneapolis.approach to music. Frank Evans Frank Evans grew up in a family of classical musicians in Toronto, which made his decision to play clawhammer banjo at the age of 10 all the more unlikely. Carving his own path, he developed a passion for Old Time Appalachian music, making regular excursions to festivals and competitions in the United States, eventually placing second in the banjo competition at the Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival (2011). With the guidance of Toronto banjo legend Chris Coole, Evans recorded his first CD, Big Meal Time with his brother Max. The two founded the highly popular Kitgut Stringband in 2008, performed regularly in Toronto, and recorded the CD Rebel Raid. He joined the bluegrass outfit Slocan Ramblers in 2010, who just released their album Shaking Down the Acorns produced by Juno award winner Andrew Collins.The album gained attention world wide and even got them a slot opening for Steve Martin. Frank broke with convention once again when he began exploring jazz music, becoming the first banjo player to attend the jazz program at the Humber College of Music. Frank currently resides in Toronto and is in high demand as a session player, performing and recording with Oh My Darling, Annie Lou, Hamstrung Stringband, Foggy Hogtown Boys