CIMA Member Spotlight: Stony Plain Records (Alberta)

Posted on
August 30, 2016
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“The label specializes in what its founder calls roots music: Contemporary music with roots in the past that stands on its own, but influences almost all the pop you hear around you. Established in 1976, Stony Plain has released almost 400 albums of blues, R&B, folk, country, bluegrass and rock & roll – music that is impossible to put into pigeonholes.”

The Celebration

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the prominent blues and roots music label, Stony Plain Records. Based in Edmonton, the company has thrived by sticking with the vision of its President, Holger Petersen: to survive by releasing high quality roots music, helping artists make the best records they can and to have long-term, artist-friendly relations”. Petersen says that if there were only one word to describe the company, it would definitely be ‘independent’.

To date, Stony Plain has received 11 JUNO awards, 6 Grammy nominations, the Blues Awards’ 2014 Label of the Year prize, as well as countless Western Canadian Music Awards and CCMA honours.

Between them, Stony Plain releases including Ian Tyson’s, Corb Lund’s and various compilations have been certified with over a dozen gold and platinum records. An early recording by Crowcuss, Running Start, even scored a number one record in Guatemala!

Stony Plain currently represents 10 music artists, including Colin Linden and Ian Tyson. Their roster also includes Paul Reddick, Eric Bibb, and MonkeyJunk who each have new releases this year. MonkeyJunk is set to release a new record at the end of October.


(Colin Linden)

The passion started with the English Invasion artists and extended into record collecting, playing drums and finding a love for blues and roots music,” says Petersen of his inspiration for creating a label. “After producing several albums in the early 70s and shopping them to various labels it was a logical extension to start Stony Plain”. Petersen also notes that CFO and co-founder, Alvin Jahns, was instrumental to guiding Stony Plain Records since day one.

Today, Stony Plain operates as a true team effort, even extending to sharing shoveling duties in the winter. Peter Chapman oversees production, manufacturing, and day-to-day operations. Office manager Marci Friesen looks after royalty tracking and accounting. Andrea Vissia is responsible for all outbound logistics, including shipping, inventory and promotion. Even office dog Poppy can be counted on to help keep morale high!

Some of the music industry pioneers who have also influenced the direction of Stony Plain include Tommy Banks, Richard Flohil, Bob Hunka, Brian Chater, Al Mair, Bernie Finkelstein, Frank Davies, Earl Rosen and Jack Richardson. The label also has longstanding partnerships with Warner Music Canada (ADA in the United States), Continental Record Services in Europe, Dixie Frog in France, Only Blues in Australia, BSF in Japan and The Orchard for international digital music. This year, Stony Plain additionally celebrates its 40th anniversary as a CIMA member ­– having joined the organization in 1976, one year after it was founded as the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA).

We really appreciate being part of such a strong Canadian community that includes CIMA, FACTOR, SOCAN, CMRRA, CMPA, Alberta Music and all the other industry associations,” says Petersen.


(Ian Tyson)

In June, Stony Plain looked back on 40 years of success in the Canadian music business by organizing celebrations in Edmonton, releasing a three-CD set of “rare and previously unreleased material” and producing a short-length documentary on its history, called “40 Years of Stony Plain Records: Making a career in roots and blues music”. This summer, a number of music festivals will also feature tributes, presentations and workshops focused on Stony Plain’s recording artists and music industry legacy.
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