Bruce Guthro Entertainment Ltd.
It could be credited to the clean, crisp air and the salt water that practically surrounds us. Perhaps it’s our tight-knit communities, steeped in a tradition of music and storytelling, like a good, strong pot of tea meant to be shared with friends. Or maybe we’re just lucky. Whatever the reason, Nova Scotia produces some of the finest musical talent in the world. This province is home to countless passionate performers who make our music, our stories, our culture come alive. Artists who stir the soul with their remarkable ability to capture the essence of life in lyrics and song. Artists like Bruce Guthro.
Bruce Guthro’s career as a singer/songwriter had a humble but very natural beginning. “Growing up in Nova Scotia, you’re surrounded by it constantly. In Cape Breton, every second person either plays guitar or fiddle or something,” he says of his musical (and personal) roots.
Immersed in an innately musical place, Guthro admired local legends like Ian Aker and The Battery, and Matt Minglewood. He tried his hand at song-writing during his high school years, and when the opportunity to take the stage arose, he seized the moment.
“They had an open mic night at a little pub in Sydney Mines, where I was born and raised. I’d go down and just get up and sing my song or two,” he says. “There were a few guys who had a band started there, and asked me to join them. I went from band to band to band, and eventually just kinda figured that I’d take a shot at it full time, and see if I could make a living at it.”
Which is exactly what he did, with some serious determination, inspiration and support from those around him.
“There was always a vibrant music scene when I was growing up,” Guthro observes.
“The crowd welcomed live music, and the clubs and venues supported it.” The persistence and talent that garnered him the support of local audiences and fellow musicians 20 ago has since propelled Guthro to national and international acclaim. His three genre-crossing solo albums have earned him a host of honours, including nine East Coast Music Awards, a SOCAN songwriter’s award, and three Canadian Radio Music Awards. It has also made Guthro a highly recognized face and voice on the European music scene, as the lead vocalist for the wildly popular Scottish group Runrig.
When Runrig’s previous lead singer decided to make a career shift, and run for a seat in Scotland’s parliament, the band began the search for someone to fill the vocal vacancy.
“They’d heard a song I’d written for Natalie McMaster called Fiddle and Bow, and they heard the Celt side of what I do and thought that I would be a good fit for the band,” Guthro says.
When he met with them, the chemistry and kinship were immediate.
“They sang about the seascapes, and the landscapes, and the highlands, and all that goes with that, and the people they grew up with, the same as I did."
Soon after that first meeting, he was fronting one of Scotland’s best-loved bands. In the ten years since joining Runrig, Guthro has played to crowds at iconic locales such as Loch Ness and Edinburgh Castle, seen Runrig’s tunes top charts all over the UK, and been heartily welcomed by the band’s loyal fans. In order to successfully juggle the logistics of his dual music careers, Guthro’s solo gigs are increasingly taking him across the Atlantic. He would also love to give his band mates in Runrig a taste of Nova Scotia, should the right opportunity and the right timing present itself.
“I’d love to get them over here, and they’ve expressed interest in coming over,” he says, noting that they’d be received with open arms, and feel very much at home. “The Scots are known worldwide for their friendly nature, and I think we just carry that over right here in Nova Scotia.”
Although Guthro spends five or six months of the year on the road travelling with Runrig, and taking the stage with his own signature troubadour-style songs, Nova Scotia is still the place that he calls home. It is where his roots and his family remain, and it is his greatest source of creative inspiration and personal satisfaction.
“It’s a big part of who I am and I just can’t imagine being anywhere else,” he says. “You’re a product of your environment, I guess. And I certainly am a product of Nova Scotia. Being born and raised here brought a lot out in me on an artistic level.”
When he’s not touring, Guthro enjoys taking it easy, spending time with his family, getting in a few rounds of golf, and looking to his surroundings for new musical material.
“The landscape and our people are always good for inspiring ideas for songs and stories. I’m a storyteller, more than anything else when I write,” he points out. He also participates in the popular Songwriters’ Circle series, and is himself in awe of the amount and calibre of talent found in Nova Scotia.
“It’s incredible, per capita, the number of musicians we put out here. And I mean quality, world renowned musicians and artists,” says Guthro.
Regarding this province’s musicality, he adds, “I think when it’s in you, when it’s in your blood like it is in a lot of Nova Scotians, you pick up on it quickly.”
Despite his international success, Guthro is not tempted to transplant himself and his career to some bustling European metropolis, or anywhere else for that matter. He has a deep appreciation for what life in his home province has to offer.
“It’s just the overall lifestyle here. The easiness of our people and the beauty of our landscape,” he says. “It’s still a very safe place to have kids, and grow up. It just all makes sense.”
Nova Scotia is a place that inspires great songs, great stories, and great artists that are eagerly embraced by people all over the world. Bruce Guthro is proof of that.