Bruce Coughlin, Nolan Murray, and Laurence Knight of Tiller’s Folly has been touring for 20 years with no plans to stop                                 (Contributed)

Bruce Coughlin, Nolan Murray, and Laurence Knight of Tiller’s Folly has been touring for 20 years with no plans to stop (Contributed)

The Great Canadian Songbook comes to Sidney

Bruce Coughlin, Nolan Murray, and Laurence Knight have been playing together as Tiller’s Folly for 20 years, and a lot has changed.

“Started as a six-piece Celtic group with eight Irish dancers and now we’re an Americana trio!” said Coughlin.

However, Coughlin said the group is as excited as ever, and they will be touring the Great Canadian Songbook along with Victoria tenor Ken Lavigne, known for his classical crossover repertoire, and Diyet — a folk/roots singer from the Yukon with Indigenous (Southern Tutchone and Tlingit), Japanese and Scottish roots. Even with such a diverse lineup, Coughlin said that finalizing a set list “actually wasn’t that difficult.”

“Everyone came up with the same names. Leonard Cohen, Ian Tyson, these were things that were so obvious,” said Coughlin.

Coughlin has run into Diyet and Lavigne at the same venues, and they have supported each other in the past, so it was natural for them to tour together. They wanted to celebrate Canada’s 150th with songs that connected with Canadians and highlight our unique culture. In a press release, each musician picked a different favourite. Diyet picked Universal Soldier by Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Lavigne picked Stan Rogers’ Northwest Passage.

Since the lineup is so diverse in style, there will be an opportunity for each act to shine.

“I think it’s important culturally that we can define ourselves as Canadians. The songs are like flags we can stand beside as Canadians.”

Ken Lavigne, Tiller’s Folly, and Diyet will play 11 shows in B.C. and Ontario. They kick off the tour in Port Hardy, reaching Sidney on Nov. 6 at the Mary Winspear Centre and will finish in St. Catharines, Ont. on Nov. 18.

“We also have a little history with Sidney that we’re going to inject into the show, but I don’t want to give away too much!”