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David Essig playing fundraiser show in Oak Bay for Ukrainian refugees

Legendary country blues guitarist brings his talents to town for May 14 show
Legendary country blues guitarist David Essig brings his talents to The Oaks in Oak Bay on May 14 for a show benefitting Ukrainian refugees. (

A guitarist whose international musical career has spanned decades is lending his talents to a special evening fundraiser in Oak Bay on May 14.

Country blues master David Essig, celebrated worldwide for his brilliant original songs and slide guitar playing, will be featured in a solo concert at The Oaks restaurant on The Avenue. The event aims to raise money to support mothers and children escaping the war in Ukraine and living temporarily with Oak Bay citizens.

Over his 50-year career, Essig has recorded 20 albums of original songs, bluegrass and country blues. He has toured the world, demonstrating breathtaking technique on guitar, mandolin and kayagum – a 12-string Korean zither. He has also headed one of Canada’s first musician-owned and operated record labels, Woodshed Records.

Born and raised in Frederick, Maryland, Essig has been a West Coast resident of Canada for several decades and makes recordings in his home studio on Protection Island next to Nanaimo.

In addition to producing his own work, Essig’s label has also recorded work by a long list of blues and folk stars, including Willie P. Bennett, Cathy Fink, Dixie Flyers, Fred J. Eaglesmith and Jackie Washington. From 1983 to 1985, Essig hosted Six Days on the Road, an acclaimed radio show.

He recently released Fair Days, a 13-song CD of original material from his lengthy career, along with an accompanying book of short stories inspired by the songs.

The Oaks, at 2250 Oak Bay Ave., is offering Ukrainian specialities for the evening in addition to its regular menu.

Tickets are $40 in advance, available at the restaurant counter, and doors open at 5 p.m. for the 6 p.m. show. Organizers expect the show to sell out and encourage early purchase. Call 250-590-3155 for more information.

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