Fonds PR0023 - Stony Plain Records fonds

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Stony Plain Records fonds

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    • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the records.

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    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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    • 1965-2003 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    9.68 m of textual records and other materials

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    Administrative history

    Stony Plain Records is a record company based in Edmonton, Alberta. The label specializes in what its founder, Holger Petersen, calls roots music: contemporary music with roots in the past that stands on its own, but which influences almost all the pop music you hear around you.

    Established in 1976, the label has released hundreds of albums of blues, classic R&B, folk, country, bluegrass, rock and roll, and other music.

    When Holger Petersen started the label at the kitchen table of his home in Edmonton, he had no idea that he'd still be running a record company over a quarter of a century later. He had been a radio/TV arts student, had a blues radio show on CKUA, the Alberta public radio network, met the artists who came through town, and interviewed most of them.

    The first record Holger Petersen produced was for Walter Horton, one of the great harmonica blues players of all time. He was in town with Willie Dixon's Chicago Blues All Stars. He agreed to take part in a recording session with a local band called Hot Cottage. Holger Petersen made a deal with London Records and the record was released and later issued in both the US and the UK. In short order, other records with other blues artists - Roosevelt Sykes, Johnny Shines - were completed, and it became obvious that Holger Petersen should start his own label.

    The first artist on the new label was friend Paul Hann who, with Pete White, recorded a light-hearted country folk album and helped Holger Petersen explore other kinds of music. In the first years there were singer/songwriters, blues artists, some Irish music, some folk, rock and roll and a contemporary pop album by a band called Crowcuss, which included two members of the Guess Who.

    Good friend (and business partner) of Holger Petersen's, Alvin Jahns, became a certified accountant and worked part time with the company, eventually becoming its business manager.

    The company began to build international links at MIDEM, the massive annual music conference in the south of France held each January. Stony Plain Record's music was distributed in the United States (by Navarre), Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Stony Plain Records also released and distributed music in Canada from American and European sources. In the mid-1980s, the company found itself on firm ground, thanks to the amazing success of Ian Tyson's classic album, Cowboyogragphy, which became Stony Plain Record's first platinum album in Canada. In the years since, the label has released, or re-released from other sources, eleven Tyson albums. He remains the best selling artist on the label.

    In 1993, Holger Petersen met American blues guitarist Duke Robillard at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and built a continuing relationship that has resulted in over 20 albums for the label.

    Holger Petersen has been a director of SOCAN, Canada's performing rights society, for many years, as well continuing an active role with the Canadian Independent Record Production Association that began in 1983. Along the way, he helped found the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and was its artistic director for three years. He was also a founding member of the Alberta Recording Industries Association.

    Stony Plain Records received two Grammy Award nominations: for Maria Muldaur's Richland Woman Blues in 2001 and Jay McShann's Goin' to Kansas City in 2003. The label and its artists have also garnered numerous W.C. Handy Blues Award nominations and won several Handy Awards. In Canada, Stony Plain Records won several Juno Awards, Canadian Country Music Association Awards, Maple Blues Awards and Western Canada Music Awards.

    The Stony Plain Records label produces about a dozen releases per year and keep the records in the catalogue for as long as possible.

    On a personal level, Holger Petersen was honored in 1971 for his contributions to Canadian arts and culture with an Alberta Government Achievement Award in the field of music. Honorary Doctorate from Athabasca University in 2002 and was awarded the highest honor a Canadian can receive, the Order of Canada, in 2003.

    Holger Petersen has performed and recorded as a musician with various Canadian bands, taught the "Traditional Music" course at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton, and has written music reviews for various newspapers and music magazines. He has also worked as a music producer, and was Associate director of the Winnipeg Folk Music Festival. His CKUA radio program, Natch'l Blues, has been aired every week for over 30 years. He is also host of Saturday Night Blues, CBC Radio's long-running only national blues show, on the air for over 15 years. He also programs the blues channel on Galaxie, CBC's digital satellite network.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of musical recordings that were written, produced and performed by Alberta artists many of which were released on the Stony Plain Records label. Also included are unreleased demos and musical recordings, Albertan and Canadian commercial music recordings acquired by Holger Petersen and Stony Plain Records, musicians' promotional material and programs. Also includes business records of the Stony Plain Record company, minutes, agendas and correspondence for the Alberta Recording Industry Association, documents from Holger Petersen's time as Artistic Director of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, and articles and related material regarding Holger Petersen's career in the music business.

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    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    This material was donated by Holger Petersen in a number of deposits.


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        The material is in English.

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        Restrictions on access

        Access Conditions: Some records are restricted.

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Use Conditions: Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

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        File lists are available.

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        Further accruals are expected.

        General note

        Administrative History supplied by Holger Petersen and from Stony Plain Records website by Richard Flohil (October 2007).\_us.asp

        General note

        Includes the following accessions:


        Physical description

        Also includes 507 audio cassettes, 312 audio compact discs, 299 audio discs, 135 audio reels, 564 negatives, 474 photographs, 186 transparencies, and 33 videotapes

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