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Marvest: Terry McLeish sings about “the everyday dilemmas of everyday people”

By Kabriya Coghlan on September 13, 2015

Marvest is an offshoot of the CityFolk festival that runs between September 16th and 20th, at the Aberdeen Pavilion, and along Bank Street. These mostly free shows feature local artists, and we’ll be profiling some of those artists.

Folk singer-songwriter Terry McLeish will be bringing his funny, lively performance to the upcoming CityFolk Marvest festival.

McLeish got his first guitar when he was 16 years old and he’s barely put it down since. He’s been performing for 35 years, starting out playing his own music and then spending time in R&B bands and other music collaborations. His work has been included in several compilation CDs, theatre productions, and a film.

Currently, McLeish is returning to recording and performing his own songs. He released his first studio album, self-titled, in 2012, and he’s finishing up a new album, Old Canadian Guy, which will be released at the end of this year or early next year. He’ll be playing at the NAC’s Christmas Goose concert in December.


McLeish performed at the Ottawa Grassroots Festival in 2014, but he has never played at the Ottawa Folk Festival. We asked him what he thinks about this year’s new CityFolk Festival.

“For many original Canadian singer/songwriters, folk festivals are an important vehicle to be seen and heard by large audiences,” McLeish said. “CityFolk will help fill this important niche and continue the tradition of supporting folk/roots music.”

He said he’s happy to be playing at Marvest, and he’s also looking forward to catching his friend John Allaire’s show during the festival. McLeish and Allaire have performed together in the past.

McLeish’s show at Marvest will include his original songs about the Upper Ottawa Valley and “the everyday dilemmas of everyday people.” He said these songs are “stories with heavy doses of humour, which usually means everyone, including myself, has a good time.”

We asked him about his thoughts on the non-conventional venues that are hosting the Marvest performances. McLeish noted that it could possibly result in smaller, distracted audiences, but he said that “any venue where original folk/roots music is appreciated and applauded is a good thing.”

“Not everyone can afford or get to a festival so hopefully this will be an alternative for folk fans.”

Terry McLeish plays at Octopus Books (251 Bank St.) on Saturday, September 19th at 8:30 p.m. For more information visit the Cityfolk website. You can also find Terry McLeish on Facebook.