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Grit Laskin

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  • Years Active: 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

A true musical Renaissance man, William "Grit" Laskin is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and builder of exquisite acoustic instruments. Having been a standout on the Canadian folk scene since the 1970s, first as a member of the Friends of the Fiddler's Green, then with friend and fellow folkie Ian Robb, and finally as a solo act, Laskin is proficient on nearly as many instruments (guitar, tenor mandolin, Northumbrian smallpipes, concertina, fiddle) as he is conversant in traditional musical genres (from jigs and reels to shanties and songs from the British Isles). Also a bracing and enigmatic performer, having penned songs later recorded by the likes of Pete Seeger and the Tannahil Weavers, Laskin possesses a rich baritone reminiscent of Martin Carthy with a similar reverence for traditional folk forms. Warm and conversational as an entertainer, not to mention a deeply penetrating writer of original tunes, Laskin has all too few albums to his credit, although what he has set to tape is nothing short of exemplary. In his spare time, he also runs Borealis Records with Canadian folk contemporaries Bill Garrett, Paul Mills, and Ken Whiteley.

Having received his first guitar by the age of nine, Laskin did a two-year apprenticeship under legendary guitar builder Jean Larrivee in his late teens and was destined to operate his own guitar workshop by the age of 20. An innovative craftsmen, he soon gained renown around the world for his inventive body designs and intricate graphic inlaying, complete with complex artwork that incorporate narrative pictures of ordinary people doing ordinary things. With approximately 150 hours going into the construction of each instrument (producing roughly one per month for those on a three-year waiting list), Laskin is now looked at as one of the true masters of the craft, penning numerous articles and teaching courses on the art of instrument building. Still, for those of us who will never be fortunate enough to own one of his instruments, it would be nice if he'd just focus on the songwriting for awhile.