Dave Dunlop

Dave Dunlop has been a pro guitarist/writer/singer/educator for the last 15 years. Originally from Ottawa, Toronto has now been home base since the late 80’s. Picking up a friend’s guitar at the age of 13, he played his first gig 2 months later, winning a battle of the bands in a group called “Albatross”, showcasing all original material. That cinched it - music was going to be Dave’s primary focus in life. A few years of playing in and around the Ottawa area in a band called Blind Ambition convinced him to take it to another level, so after high school he moved to Toronto to study jazz at Humber College.

Immediately after Humber, Dave did his first large scale tour as a sideman for the pop vocalist Patti Jannetta, highlighted by some touring over in Thailand. That was followed by a period of immersion as a new-kid-in-town hired gun in the Canadian country scene. Looking back, Dave says, “I think my guitar playing improved dramatically after getting the chops together to play that country stuff. Albert Lee, Vince Gill - man - those guys can play!” >From there, Dave went back to his rock roots and formed the band “Insulin” with friends Steve Skingley and Troy Feener, showing influence by King’s X, Fishbone and Faith No More.

In 1990, Dave became a faculty member at the National Summer Guitar Workshop, a U.S.-based school starting up a satellite program in Toronto. While teaching at the Workshop, Dave met and jammed with Canadian Hall of Fame legend Rik Emmett, and became a regular member of his touring band. Between Emmett dates in the next few years, Dave kept honing his own writing chops, as well as doing sideman stints with a wide variety of artists including Bo Diddley, Lisa Dalbello, Mike Reno (of Loverboy fame), and Ron Sexsmith. He also challenged himself with his role in The Shrimptons, playing jazz/fusion covers and instrumental originals in various house gig situations around Toronto.

In 1998, Troy Feener (from the Insulin days) put a rock project together and called Dave: “The Full Nine” was born, and would go on to sign a major label deal with Disney’s Mammoth Records. Although the label would fold just as the band prepared to release their debut album worldwide, TF9 still managed to have great success on radio with the single “Not Over”. Not to be discouraged by corporate instability, they released their new album entitled “Dead Wait” independently through Maple Music in 2006.

Part & parcel of this wide-ranging indie spirit was that Dave finally took the plunge in ‘05 and put the “Room 9” studio together in his Toronto home, where he’s been busy recording and producing projects non-stop ever since. The studio also drew him into the jingle world, writing the music for an American Budweiser radio campaign. Some of his projects include the theme song for the Autism Foundation, performed by Victoria Boland, and the latest EP by Toronto rock band “Norever”.

Last year Dave was also fortunate enough to hook up with "Jeans ‘n Classics", which is a group of players that travel around North America playing theme and tribute shows with orchestras. Dave has won raves for his handiwork, ranging from the repertoire of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, through George Harrison of The Beatles, and on to Nirvana.

His working relationship with Emmett grew to the point that they released a duo project together, called “Strung-Out Troubadours”, with Dave co-writing/recording/co-producing and performing. The strength of the duo’s chemistry led to several Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards nominations in ’07: the ”Troubs” are up for best guitarists, best album, and best duo or group – the heaviest recognition of any act. Dave and Rik continue to tour on the strength of that CD, but far from resting on their laurels, their follow-up has just hit the market, entitled “Live at Hugh’s Room”, [produced & mixed by Dave] showcasing the acoustic duo in a magical evening captured just before Christmas 2006 at the fabled ‘Hugh’s Room” in Toronto.

Lately, in his spare time, Dave has been seriously tackling the role of renovator and general contractor for his home in Toronto’s North Riverdale neighbourhood. He also pursues his men’s league hockey career religiously, maintaining his reputation as a goal-scoring forward with quick, soft hands around the goal, leading to his nickname “Rufus”, based on his ability to shoot the puck up into the top of the net. All of t he guitars in his beloved collection also bear the same nickname - differentiated by colour or wood grain.  For example - the new Hard Tail he just received via his Dean Guitar endorsement deal is now "Redwood Rufus".

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