Ottawa's favourite country swing band
for your next special occasion...

Refreshing musical moments from the first half of the last century are the heart and soul of Shirt Tearing Boys.  The boys (and girls) recapture a time when lonesome  tunes spilled out of muffled tube radios and country-swing bands filled Saturday night dance halls with laughter and hope.  Mixed with a dash of original tunes with the same attitude, Shirt Tearing Boys create a lively acoustic musical blend that transports audiences to an almost forgotten, yet very fun and familiar place.  The band comprises Ottawa musical stalwarts Charlie Sohmer, Tony Turner, Fred Guignion, Ann Downey, George Laing, Sally Robinson and Corky Kealey. 

Folks will hear the picking of banjo and dobro along with nimble fingers on fiddle, clarinet and accordion that swirl around the steady guitar rhythms and the back beat of the upright bass and drums.  When mixed with harmonized lines of love and heartache, timeless musical memories buried deep in our hearts rise up and live once more.


Charlie Sohmer (banjo, vocals)
Banjo-ist, songwriter (six albums and over 500 songs), teller of tall tales. Please don’t laugh at his stories – it only encourages him.
Tony Turner (guitar, vocals)
Melodic stories delivered with his bari-tony voice are the stock & trade of singer/songwriter and guitarist Tony, now with three CDs under his belt and headful of ideas that drive him insane.
George Laing (fiddle, harmonica, vocals)
Folks may know George from his Black Donnelly days or mining Tin Pan Alley and early jazz favourites with the Lazy River Swing Band.  George serves up delicious fiddle riffs along with tasteful harmonica pieces to surprise & delight the senses.
Sally Robinson (accordion, clarinet, vocals)
Once an essential ingredient of the Toasted Westerns and the Herb Girls, Sally is known around town for her smokin' jazz and blues backing herself on keyboards, accordion and clarinet – but not all at once.
Fred Guignion (dobro)
Fred doesn’t like to talk about music in the past tense (Fat Man Waving, Ian Tamblyn, Hammerheads, Lynn Miles, et al). He just plays the dobro…beautifully.
Ann Downey (bass, vocals)
Singer extraordinaire with Ottawa trio Finest Kind and accomplished on upright bass & claw hammer banjo, Ann can be heard live and on recordings with Sneezy Waters, The Old Sod Band, among many others.
Corky Kealey (drums)
For decades Corky has held up the rhythm section of some of Ottawa’s finest bands.
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