Canada’s legendary guitarist will bring final tour to Maine

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LEWISTON — Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist J.P. Cormier, known for his original “story songs,” often basing his lyrics on true events, will bring his final tour to Maine in early March.

The Canadian legend will perform with the Elliott Brothers, Mike on bass and Bill on guitar, at the Franco-American Heritage Center on Tuesday March 6; at Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center in Carthage on Wednesday March 7; and at Unity College Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday March 8.

Cormier, who plays bluegrass, folk and Celtic music, recently announced his retirement from touring to devote time and energy to his Ranson House studio.

“After celebrating 30 years on the road this month, I have decided to essentially retire from touring and live performance,” Cormier said. “Instead, I have decided to throw all my effort into more challenging arenas: My recording studio where I will continue to make my own records ( I have no less than four projects ready to be released this year) and produce other artists and their music.”

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Cormier began playing guitar, self-taught at age 5. By age 9, he was considered a genuine prodigy and won his first guitar competition against 30 other players three times his age. By his mid-teens, it became obvious he could play almost any stringed instrument he picked up, especially the guitar.

At 16, Cormier recorded his first album, a collection of bluegrass instrumentals. With the project in hand, he worked his way across the U.S. festival circuit. These appearances led to a move to the United States and 10 years of session work, live appearances and many nights at the Grand Ole Opry with such notable artists as Waylon Jennings, Marty Stuart, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Charlie Louvin and Vince Gill.

Since his return to Canada more than a decade ago, Cormier has released 10 award-winning recordings.

Guitar superstar Chet Atkins described Cormier as  “one of the most important guitar players of his generation.”

Curtain is at 7 p.m. at the Franco center and Skye Theatre; 7:30 p.m. in Unity. The Franco center is at 46 Cedar St.; Skye is at 2 Highland Drive in Carthage; and UCCPA is at 42 Depot St., Unity. For tickets, $15 at the door, call the Franco center at 783-1585, Skye Theatre at 562-4445 or UCCPA at 948-7469.

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