Northern bluegrass devotees will know the Canyon Mountain Boys, veterans of appearances at the Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival, Atlin Arts and Music Festival, Frostbite and many other venues. Not only had CMB been together for many years, but all four members, Jeff and John Faulkner, Mike Stockstill and Stephen Maltby came to CMB as alumni of legendary Yukon bluegrass bands Klondike Fuel and Disturbin’ the Peace.
One fateful night a couple of years ago, the Boys invited ace fiddle player Amelia Rose over for a jam. Before the evening was over, everyone knew that a new band had been born. Since then, Canyon Mountain has continued the Boys tradition of good tunes, good pickin’ and good times – but now with a fuller, more exiting bluegrass sound. Recent appearances have proven that Canyon Mountain can rightfully claim to be the premiere bluegrass band North of 60.
California born, surfer and skater, Mike built his first airplane at age fourteen and crashed his first airplane at age fourteen. Since then, he has built or restored countless cars, trucks, boats aircraft and musical instruments, including the banjo he plays on stage with Canyon Mountain. Mike set out for Alaska in 1972, but his truck broke down in Whitehorse and he’s still here. He first picked up the banjo in 1974 and has seldom put it down since then. J.D. Crowe, Jerry Garcia and Dave Guard were early influences, although his sound has evolved from “Scruggs Style” to “Stockstill Style.” During that time, Mike has played in many bands, including a 15-year stint with Klondike Fuel and at present with Canyon Mountain, Fishhead Stew and Moe and the Boys.
As a bush pilot and trapper, Jeff lives the northern lifestyle. He began playing the piano at the age of three and, under mom’s watchful eye, achieved teacher-level qualifications and plenty of music festival trophies by the time he was a teenager. Along the way, there were dalliances with the sax and other instruments until, ultimately, the pianoforte got ditched for the guitar. Good thing, since the guitar is easier to get into the airplane, says Jeff. Crediting Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan as early bluegrass guitar influences, Jeff’s style mellowed in time for him to perform during the heyday of Disturbin’ the Peace and then as a founding member of the Canyon Mountain Boys. Today, Jeff fronts Canyon Mountain with powerful lead vocals backed up by dazzling guitar work.
Amelia Rose began playing the violin at age six. Originally from Vancouver, BC, Amelia moved to Whitehorse in 1998 where she co-formed the high-energy celtic-bluegrass band Fishead Stew, which is still going strong. Since that time, Amelia has travelled the world, seeking out and playing different types of music. She was the violist in the Ukrainian group Zeellia for five years and also played with Turkish gypsy band Something About Reptiles. In 2007, she formed the band the Red Boot Quartet, which showcased her original compositions and love of balkan and Eastern European music. Amelia has found home once again in Whitehorse, where she happily teaches music, plays weekly gigs, writes songs, raises her boy and lives the good life!
Stephen was born and raised in Northern Alberta. He learned to play guitar at a young age and caught the bluegrass bug when his brother who played banjo turned him on to the sounds of Scruggs, Rice and Watson. Since that time he has gone on to play in several bands. Since arriving in the Yukon 20 years ago he has been able to find and play with like-minded pickers bent on making great bluegrass music. He plays the mandolin for the band and on occasion plays the guitar and lends his voice to baritone harmony and lead.
Semi-retired judge and self-styled grand old man of the group, John’s musical endeavors go as far back as playing in everything from psychedelic rock and roll bands to folk groups during university days in the 1960’s. All along, John played guitar, but when Disturbin’ the Peace was forming, they needed a bass player. John picked up the old doghouse and was instantly hooked. In addition to anchoring Canyon Mountain on bass, John does a lot of the back-up vocal work and most of the colour commentary. John is also a talented song-writer and has penned some of the band’s best tunes.