Trent Bruner

Hi again, everyone! Music in Canada has kept me busy over the last few weeks, for which I have been thankful and delighted. More articles will be posted in the coming days, but to keep things in chronological order, we move to my home village of Canwood, Saskatchewan for an event on August 12th, 2019.

The Canwood Branch of the Wapiti Regional Library held their second ever music concert and interview gathering at the Canwood Legion Hall on Monday evening, August 12th, with Ed Peekeekoot (guitar, wooden Native American flute, vocals and fiddle) and Trent Bruner (pianist and interviewer) on stage. A near capacity audience enjoyed many stories from Ed and a variety of musical selections played by both musicians.

Trent continues to return to Canwood from Valestrand, Norway each year for music commitments and time with family in Western Canada. He continues as an accompanist for fiddlers, a house accompanist for various contests throughout Canada and for local events while home in Saskatchewan. During this evening, he was the interviewer and accompanist for the main feature, Ed Peekeekoot.

Although Ed is a painter and carver of wood, stone and ivory with various works and items available for sale in various outlets, this evening focused on stories of Ed and his music. With fondness and humour, Ed shared stories about his upbringing on the Athakakoop First Nation before his family moved to British Columbia and subsequent moves afterwards within B.C.. He recognized many of his former Canwood schoolmates during the evening when asked to recall his school days. Ed was also an athlete during his school days in both soccer and track and field, specifically excelling at the pole vault.

Music was a standard part of family life as many of his relatives played fiddle and guitar. He began learning guitar from his mother when he was five years old and fiddle later on. Learning guitar and fiddle meant listening often to the radio and LPs at home trying to figure out how a fiddle melody was supposed to sound and how a guitar instrumental could sound like Chet Atkins; not just strumming to himself while singing a favourite song. He learned at a young age that many hours of patient practice were required to achieve a high performance level before he assembled his first band. Regarding music theory, he did play recorders while attending Canwood School in Grade Four with his teacher, Gerda Bruner where he learned the first level of note reading, which he says helped him later in his musical career.

While Ed was in Grade Seven, his family moved from Saskatchewan to Vavenby, British Columbia (population 700), north of Kamloops. He quit school at age 16 and began work in a local sawmill. It was during this time that he was enabled to purchase his own instruments and later form his first band. He took later a job at another sawmill down the North Thompson River in nearby Clearwater, west of Vavenby. There, he met his future wife Gail at a local walkathon and they later married in 1974. While Ed pursued music and art while working at the local sawmill, his wife studied nursing and achieved her doctorate in this field. They now reside on Vancouver Island in the community of Crofton. They have one adult son, Sam, who took a three year study in jazz guitar and is a professional musician on Vancouver Island. Ed and Gail are grandparents of twin boys.

Later, at the Fort Steele campground outside Terrace, B.C., Ed and Gail heard the Native American flute for the first time. Both enjoyed what they had heard and Ed took an interest in learning this instrument. After one year of practice, he purchased four native flutes of varying wood materials and voicings and accumulated enough tunes in this repertoire to record an album of these First Nation melodies.

Ed has four albums to his credit: an acoustic guitar album titled "Front Porch," an album of original guitar tunes and songs titled "In the Key of Cree," a Christmas album titled "Prairie Christmas" and a collaborative release with B.C. musician Corbin Keep featuring Native American flute music. This album, "Âtayôhkan," is named after a Plains Cree word meaning ”The Ancient Ones who completed their Earth lessons and now work with The Creator.” You can check more on Ed's music at

I first met Ed in 2001 at the Andy DeJarlis Fiddle workshops organized by the late Franceene Watson, and have since performed with him on occasion at the John Arcand Fiddle Fest when he has a fiddle tune or two to share. Ed brought out two fiddles to play during the evening. One original tune on standard fiddle, “Chokecherry Jam,” caught the year of three time Canadian Grand Masters Champion Patti Kusturok of Winnipeg, Manitoba who recorded it on her 2018 album Momentum. His second original tune came on his other fiddle tuned to the A Major chord (cross tuned) and was titled “Fireweed Hoedown” after being inspired by the territorial flower of the Yukon. Guitar pieces included “The Buffalo,” an original composition which imitated a buffalo herd stampeding across The Prairies and an original song titled “From Wild Lilies to Wheat Fields,” describing the changes from First Nations life on the Prairies to the changes in land development and culture over many years. Requests from the audience included “The Auctioneer,” yodeling (including Ed’s way of yodeling backwards) and other guitar solos.

Both received a standing ovation for the presentation, which was followed by a fellowship lunch provided by the Canwood library board members.

The next article will be based on an original tune from my 2019 fiddle book “All of Mine-Volume 1.” The highlighted tune is named for a public figure, so please check back! Until next time, see you somewhere down the musical trail!

Musically yours, Trent