Richard Garvey is an energetic performer and creative story-teller. He is a settler living on unceded territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən speaking peoples (Victoria, BC). He is a musician, songwriter, performer, arts educator and community organizer.
Richard’s songs bring people together to sing about hope for community, connection and collaboration. His warm presence and stories get audiences to laugh, feel and sing together making each concert a joyful celebration of humanity. He crafts effervescent melodies that feel inviting and familiar. His musicality weaves together driving guitar and clawhammer banjo with his rich and smooth tenor vocal styling.
Richard is a prolific songwriter and recording artist. His new album “In the arms of lovers and friends” was supported by Creative BC. This album is being created with producer Corwin Fox at Hidden Well Studio in Cumberland, BC. Twelve new songs accompanied by Naomi Kavka (voice, guitar, cello), Jake Jenne (percussion), Geoff McFarlane (bass), Ian Olmstead (keys, accordion, organ) and more TBA.
Lyrically these songs explore themes of mental health, climate change and reimagining what hope means in a divided world. Fox has captured Richard’s best vocal performance to date sparkling on warm plush sounds created by these stellar musicians from Smither, BC.
I am a folk musician and entertainer.
I am an activist and I hope to make the world a safer and just place.
In my life and my art I aim to connect openly and have as much fun as possible.
The structures of the world pits us against each other in competition and isolation.
My hope is “We sing ourselves together” a little more every time.
I feel responsible as an artist to share meaningful songs and to create authentically not following trends/fads that are marketable/formulaic. Through my songwriting and being in community I keep learning, healing and growing as a person so that my truth and understanding of the world expands.
Lyrically, I share who I am becoming and what I want to see the world become.
Musically, I want the songs to be inviting, warm and easy to sing together.
I want to stir questions and invite thoughtfulness, not just sing/rant about my ideas.
I want to see the hope and beauty amongst all of the destruction and oppression.
Each album, show & sing-a-long is an experiment in sharing, connecting and collaborating.
In a divisive world and uncertain times, I share that hoping and dreaming make us human. Sharing our hopes and dreams together is how community is built. Collaborating on hopes and dreams is how we make peace, friendship and good times.
Garvey began cutting his teeth on the Canadian folk scene by self-producing shows, tours, press-releases and albums in 2008. His first tour in 2009 took him across South-Western Ontario via bicycle playing shows at cafes, bars, farmers markets, house concerts and even a rural-bluegrass festival. Richard’s dedication to independently building his career and fan base one show at a time has taken him across Canada and more recently into the UK. Richard has performed at countless grassroots festivals as well as repeat invites to established festivals like Owen Sound, ON’s Summerfolk (2013/2016) and Wells, BC’s ArtsWells (2016/2017).
Richard became an artist after finishing his degree in science (Psychology, minor Biology) at Wilfrid Laurier University, 2008. He had been writing songs since he was a child and began playing guitar in highschool. Throughout university he shared songs occasionally at coffee houses and open mics. In 2009 he joined “The Radical Choir” of Waterloo Region which was composed mostly of music and global studies students. The choir sang a variety of folk, choral music and music theatre pieces about making the world a better place. Often the group would be invited to perform at special events in the community that had more stage time so Richard began sharing his songs and collaborating with choir mates. The community that formed around the choir encouraged Richard to write, record and grow as a performer.
Around this time Richard started recording his first album “To Become” which included 13 tracks of songs, poems and instrumentals. After this album was released he started performing as “Far From Rich '' with Josef Bell (double bass), Evan Ossington (drums) and Matt Donnelly (mandolin, woodwinds). The band transformed Richard’s songs into dramatic folk rock with political statements and hope filled rage. Richard learned how to be an entertainer during this time. Far From Rich grew a supportive local following but never toured or released any music.