About Jeffery Straker

Singer-Songwriter Pianist


Jeffery Straker grew up taking piano lessons in small-town Saskatchewan and has gone on to perform over 100 shows per year across Canada, Europe and Latin America. The rootsy-storytelling of his songs has the power to transport a listener – out onto a lake in Canada’s North or to the main street of a prairie town. A clever lyricist with an energetic piano style, his song writing has drawn critical comparisons to the likes of Harry Chapin, Kris Kristofferson , Murray McLauchlan &  Billy Joel, while maintaining a style distinctly his own. He’s recorded his music for CBC radio’s ‘Canada Live’, has seen his songs used in film, TV and theatrical productions and in 2020 and 2021 was awarded “Roots/Folk Artist of the Year” at the Saskatchewan Music Awards. In 2019 he received his first Western Canadian Music Award. The Saskatchewan Country Music Awards have named him ‘Keyboard Player of the Year’ 3 years running.

“Very much an artist to watch” – Canadian Musician Magazine

A musical vagabond, he’s toured internationally as far as The Netherlands, England, Mexico and Nunavut with tour stops ranging from intimate house concerts to theatre shows as well as festivals. Never one to let ‘genre’ constrain him he’s also taken the stage in sold-out concerts performing his songs with symphony orchestras. In 2014, an international career boost came from winning the prestigious Vina del Mar (Chile) International Song Festival, representing Canada. Performing to a live crowd of 20,000 people and to a TV audience of 100,000,000 viewers across the Spanish-speaking world, he gained a fan following in Latin America.

The Chicago Free Press has written, “Rufus Wainwright, as well as k.d. lang are among the Canadians making essential and beautiful music. Add the name Jeffery Straker to that list”. The Calgary Herald has added praise saying, “Traces of some of the best piano-based singer-songwriters of the past 40 years, couched in his inimitable and effervescent style”.

Straker grew up listening to country music on his parents Saskatchewan grain farm at the same time he was studying classical music and performing full sonatas and concertos by composers such as Beethoven and Grieg. Eventually, the work of fellow Saskatchewan native Joni Mitchell prompted him to begin writing his own material, and Straker’s focus shifted to poetry and hooks. His recent recordings sound, wonderfully, like his influences.

Jeffery has released 10 albums to date.

Just Before Sunrise (May 2021) was a soundtrack of reflection, evolution and optimism. “My mom passed away in February 2019 and that sudden and unexpected loss had a profound effect on me. In the months after she died I wrote like a madman as there was so much I was feeling & so much to say, that needed to be expressed musically. Part of my remembering the beautiful person she was – all those great memories – were almost accompanied by music. As memories surfaced, sounds were there with them. Those sounds helped prescribe the folk-roots flavour of the album actually. The result of the grieving, questioning, revelation and resolution I experienced was the ability to look forward, and through that lens the album maintains an overall tone of optimism. It kind of asks the listener, Where are you headed? (and)… Where would you like to be headed?” Production was by the talented Russell Broom (Calgary AB). The recording features 2 co-writes with Royal Wood (who also produced on 2 songs).

The album that helped Straker hit the radar of many in Canada was his 2012 critically acclaimed recording, “Vagabond”, produced by Canadian multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Danny Michel. It was a thrill to record it on Glenn Gould’s grand piano at the CBC studios in Toronto. The Toronto Star awarded it 4 (out of 4) stars calling it “one of the most faultlessly conceived and meticulously executed albums in any genre to come out of Canada in a long time”. ‘Vagabond’ debuted in the top 20 on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts and hit the top 10 on several college radio stations across Canada. Xtra! (Toronto) said of the album: “like the unexpected yet surprisingly down-to-earth lovechild of Neil Young and Elton John”.

Jeffery is a classically trained pianist raised by a church-organist mother and auctioneer father. He swears he was born under the piano on the family grain farm in rural Saskatchewan. All this might explain his incredible ability to share songs with audiences. He was a student of the Royal Conservatory of Music and received his licentiate diploma in piano performance from Trinity College, London when he was only 19. Straker has showcased at major events including Canadian Music Week, NXNE, the Western Canadian Music Awards, & JunoFest.

“Let’s cut to the chase: …one of the most faultlessly conceived and meticulously executed albums in any genre to come out of Canada in a long time… shifting moods and lyrics framed by thrilling chord changes…”
– Toronto Star


Jeffery thanks Creative Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Arts Board (SK ARTS), FACTOR, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Radio Starmaker Fund for their support of his music creation, recording and touring over the years.


Jeffery’s musical prowess and piano chops have a fairly famous connection. While studying at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Regina, Jeffery worked with one Frank Crumly, who had been taught by Thomas Manshardt, who previously had been taught by Howard Wells, who was a student of Leschetizky (acknowledged as the greatest teacher of all time), who was taught by Czerny who, you guessed it, was taught by Beethoven. A similar lineage through Manshardt connects Jeffery to Chopin. Quite the piano pedigree.


A significant career boost came from winning the prestigious Vina del Mar (Chile) song competition in 2014, representing Canada. Performing live to a festival crowd of 20,000 people and to a TV audience of 100,000,000 viewers across the Spanish-speaking world, he gained a fan following in Latin America.

Click here for the Vina del Mar Wikipedia page.

  • Jeffery’s first piano teacher was Vicky Young in Punnichy SK. Mrs Dawn Mctavish of Raymore SK was his next teacher, followed by Frank Crumly at the Conservatory of Music, University of Regina
  • He has twice travelled to Resolute Bay, Nunavut to perform and work with local Inuit students on songwriting projects. Resolute Bay is the 2nd most Northerly community in Canada’s Arctic.
  • Jeffery won the 2014 Vina Del Mar International Song Festival in Chile.
  • He holds a degree (B.Sc. honours) in plant biology from the University of Saskatchewan
  • He studied part of his degree at the Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Jeffery’s early album Songs from Highway 15 is a collection of 10 songs inspired by people and places in the Canadian prairies. Highway 15 is the road that runs past his childhood farm.
  • Jeffery has performed as far away as Peru, Mexico, Ghana, Ireland, China, New York City, Panama (with the Canadian Embassy), Chile, The Netherlands, and England. He performed in a mountain town in Panama where the venue was a cathedral and the whole first few rows were nuns in habits. This has never yet happened since and it quite possibly never will again.
  • He traveled to Ghana, Africa in Feb 2012 and performed a series of 6 shows and conducted songwriting workshops with local musicians and students.
  • While recording part of Step Right Up in LA, Jeffery slept at the famed Alta Cienega Motel in room 32 where Jim Morrison slept during his Hollywood stint in the late 60’s.
  • Jeffery did some vocal training in Toronto with the talented Elizabeth Davidson. She actually helped him ‘find’ about 12 new notes he didn’t know he could sing – up in his high range. It was a strange awakening. But Elizabeth works magic.
  • Mrs Bell (correctly spelled Mrs Behl) from Jeffery’s song “The Wonderuful Mrs Bell” lived in his prairie hometown when he was growing up.
  • Jeffery eats peanut butter out of the jar with a table spoon. It’s not pretty.
  • Just After Sunset (2022)
  • Just Before Sunrise (May 7 2021)
  • This Christmas (Nov 13 2020)
  • Dirt Road Confessional (May 19 2017)
  • North Star Falling (Mar 10 2015)
  • Live with CBC Radio (2014)
  • Comin Home for Christmas – single (2013)
  • Vagabond (2012)
  • under the soles of my shoes (2011)
  • Step Right Up (2008/re-release 2010)
  • Songs from Highway 15 (2006)
  • Petrified (2003) – out of print
  • Middle of Somewhere (2002) (2-song single) – out of print
  • Jeffery performs 100+ shows each year
  • Toured across England (Nov 2022)
  • 4 SOLD OUT concerts with the Regina Symphony Orchestra (Oct 2020)
  • Tour of The Netherlands (2019)
  • National Arts Centre (4th Stage), Ottawa ON (2018)
  • tours of Mexico (2015/2016/2017/2018/2020)
  • In concert with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, TCU Place (2018)
  • In concert with the Regina Symphony Orchestra, Conexus Arts Centre (2017)
  • 6 concert tour of Peru Nov-Dec (2014)
  • Performed to a sold out Koerner Hall, Toronto (Nov 2014) – tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John
  • Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival, Toronto (2014)
  • Sold out debut with the Saskatoon Symphony (Oct 2013) TCU Place 2200ppl
  • Sold out debut with the Regina Symphony (Oct 2011) Conexus Arts Centre
  • Sudbury Symphony (April 2015)
  • Telemiracle National Cast, Host & Performer – SASK (2012-2024)
  • Festivals including: NXNE, CMW, Breakout West, JunoFest, Regina Folk Fest, Calgary Folk Fest, Bear Creek Folk Fest, All Folk’d Up Fest, Gateway Festival, Copenhagen Songwriters Festival and more.

Jeffery’s Recording Reviews

Just Before Sunrise (May 2021):
"Just Before Sunrise is music of hope found and lost and rediscovered, for the weathered but triumphant soul. If you’re looking to have your heartstrings tugged, then…this might just be the thing to do it"

"…Straker has continually demonstrated a penchant for creating music that is both refined and utterly earnest. His latest release, Just Before Sunrise, is no exception."
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Cory Stumpf/Canadian Beats (May 7 2021)
“Direct, honest and sure-handed, there’s a…magic to Jeffery Straker’s folk-based piano styling and powerful storytelling… Buoyant and optimistic, (his) worldview is a brand of contagion well worth catching”Ken Wright/The Walleye (June 1 2021)
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Ken Wright/The Walleye (June 1 2021)
“Straker moves easily in all the roots songwriter styles…. his songs all have rich melodies and lots of fresh chord changes. He’s happy to have country dobro weaving around a string section, or piano playing alongside banjo and fiddle. The single “Where I Belong” is full of those elements, and is an infectious joy”
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Bob Mersereau/Top 100 Canadian Blog (May 12 2021)
“Just Before Sunrise is a mighty fine album.”
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Bob Chelmick / CKUA (Nov 2021)
Single – Light a Fire (March 2021):
Eat North (May 2021)
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“Light a Fire is one of our favourites, upbeat with inspiring lyrics and an especially great chord progression at the end of each chorus. We love it”
Single – Morning Light (2020):
AmericanaUK (Oct 2020)
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“It’s easy to get lost in ‘Morning Light’. There’s a cinematic quality to the beautiful lyrics and sumptuous vocal melody over tumbling, rolling keys. Simply and directly, this is lovely music”
Great Dark Wonder (Sept 2020)
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“Beautifully composed and written, “Morning Light” is a melodic and thought-provoking piece that speaks about the life-long need to dream, to belong, and above all, to matter”
Dirt Road Confessional:
Canadian Beats (May 2017)
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“Dirt Road Confessional, felt like something I’d want to play on a long, summer road trip with a big, blue sky wide open above me – sun blazing, window down, wheels humming, wind tangling in my hair. This true-blue Saskatchewan boy’s latest compilation soars with beautiful, strong vocals and contagious rhythms and lyrics…strong influences from Rufus Wainwright and Kris Kristofferson“
Mark Rheaume – CBC Radio (May 2017)
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“This great work isn’t just for fans of singer/songwriters in a ’70s vein, it belongs on the shelf beside the finer recordings of Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Elton John, et al.”
North Star Falling:
Bob Mersereau – top100canadianblog (March 2015)
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“Dramatic and melodic, Straker is a throw-back to days when a piano and sincerity ruled…lots of echoes of 60’s and 70’s pop, back when the writers, producers and arrangers worked at keyboards (but) Straker isn’t stuck in the past. It’s clear he’s more concerned with substance than style. Choruses soar, piano accents are always impeccable."
Dan St Yves – danstyves.com (Feb 2015)
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“Straker’s brand-new cd North Star Falling has traces of some of the best piano-based singer/songwriters of the past 40 years, couched in his inimitable and effervescent style of folk/alt-pop influences. Above all, Jeffery Straker conjures up the great Leon Russell in that combination he seems to excel at, marrying insightful lyrics to compelling melodies, which make you want to listen to his recordings over and over…his music is as current as it is classic.”
The Coastal Spectator – Blake Jacob (May, 2013)
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“The album is a flawless work of art, skillfully produced by Canadian multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Danny Michel…The variety of moods in his music is refreshing… It begged an immediate second, third, and fourth listen. Straker is skilled at pulling heartstrings…an excellent vocalist, displaying variety in a seemingly effortless way. Vagabond is easy to become obsessed with…after you hear it one time, be prepared to listen to nothing else for several months.”
Toronto Star: 4 out of 4 stars (Oct 9, 2012)
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“Let’s cut to the chase: Vagabond is one of the most faultlessly conceived and meticulously executed albums in any genre to come out of Canada in a long time… shifting moods and lyrics framed by thrilling chord changes, each one strikingly emphasized in (Danny) Michel’s production… There’s rarely a note, chord or word too many or too few”
Xtra! Toronto (Nov 2012)
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“Like the unexpected yet surprisingly down-to-earth lovechild of Neil Young and Elton John”
Regina Leader Post: 4 stars (out of five) (Oct 20, 2012)
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“There are no wasted words for Straker as a lyricist. He’s like an artist painting a masterpiece without using excessive brush strokes. A number of the songs on Vagabond have limited phrasing, perhaps a total of 10 lines and the chorus, yet Straker is able to tell everything that needs to be told. His ability on the piano is remarkable and his voice has found a spot that is distinctly his”
Jeffery’s Live Shows:
Blog: Bad Gardening Advice (Jan 2020)
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You brought the cold, but warmed my heart, my piano man…lyrical and poignant. Musical priest…deacon of the Canadian dirt road.”
Fort Qu’Appelle Times/Alan Hustak (August 2019)
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“Charismatic and clever…a prairie boy with a hint of Saskatchewan gravel in his voice”
Avondvolk, Lent (Netherlands) /Philip Steenbergen (AD) (April 2019)
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“Thanks for a wonderful night of music!”
Prince George Citizen/Frank Peebles (August 2017)
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“Straker causes a stir wherever he holds court.”
Guadalajara Reporter (Mexico) – Emma Bergh-Apton (Feb 2015)
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“His lyrics are thought provoking and profound… Straker’s piano playing is superb. With his beautiful melodies and that distinctive voice with its surprising range and signature high notes, the combination is irresistible. The audience clearly loved him. Jeffery Straker will be welcome back any time, the sooner the better.”
Calgary Herald – Dan St Yves (Oct 2014)
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“gifted in his ability to write intricate story songs buoyed by melodies that fit a listener’s ears like a beloved, broken-in glove…Straker the songwriter then ascends to the company of artists whose songs reverberate for audiences, and he’s already been compared to many of those by earlier reviewers. Billy Joel, Elton John for sure – but Walk Away is like a 70’s piano standard from Carole King”.
Moose Jaw FYI – Joel Van Der Veen (May 2012)
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“From the instant Jeffery Straker stepped onto the stage at Moose Jaw’s Mae Wilson Theatre, audience members knew they were in for a great performance…a born showman”. Straker possesses a voice that is powerful, while never detracting from his affable, charming manner. But the music was only part of the show. Straker punctuated his songs with jokes — good ones — and engaging stories from his life and career.”
Wainwright Star (Feb 2011)
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“great showman and piano wizard”
Leader-Post Concert Review: Chris Tessmer (Oct 2011)
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“Straker was simply spectacular” Jeffery Straker has set an impossibly high standard for those following in his footsteps for the remaining Schumiatcher Pop shows this season. Showmanship in every sense of the word…Straker was mesmerizing…masterful piano playing, soaring vocals, and catchy songwriting were goose-bump inducing…one of the province’s best cultural exports. He demonstrated the musical and vocal ability if piano-pop legends Elton John and Billy Joel