Fred Eaglesmith at Roots of Heaven, Haarlem, The Netherlands, 26 November 2006. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Musician Fred Eaglesmith, the sixth of nine children growing up on a 200-acre farm near Brantford Ontario, hopped his ﬁrst train at the age of 15, leaving behind chores and his strict religious rearing to pursue his dream of performing, and has been riding the rails or running the road ever since.
For the past 40 years the theme of trains has played an important role on Eaglesmith’s 19 albums. He has recorded hundreds of songs to date, all of which are tied to the land, lives, labors, trials, tribulations and triumphs of everyday people. This gives all of his work an enduring, emotional resonance while his songs featuring trains offer a particular timbre, making them desirable covers for other musicians (James king – Flowers in the Dell; The Spades – 49 Tons; along with Allan Jackson – Freight Train.) As well, Eaglesmith has shared the stage with artists such as Willie Nelson, George Strait, Dwight Yoakum and Merle Haggard.
Eaglesmith has had the pleasure of not only singing about trains but singing on trains. He has loaded cars with fans for hauls from Vancouver to Toronto, New Mexico to Colorado, and all the way up to Churchill, Manitoba, further cementing the train as part of his personal and musical lore.
Eaglesmith’s music graced the soundtracks of feature films, such as “Thinkin About You” from the Toby Keith movie Broken Bridges(2006),” “Shot Rock” from Men with Brooms (2002) and “Dynamite and Whiskey” from television’s True Blood. He has also appeared in television and movie productions such as The Gift (2001), Road to Nowhere (2001) and There Ain’t No Easy Road (2002).
His work has garnered much recognition. He received “Album of the Year” from the Canadian Independent Music Awards in 2001 for “Ralph’s Last Show. He also received a “Juno” award for “Drive-In Movie” in 1997. Fred Eaglesmith is also the only Canadian artist to have a #1 song on the American Bluegrass charts.
Fred Eaglesmith is a spokesman for Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign. As well, he is a passionate supporter for many other humanitarian and wildlife concerns.