Born in Toronto, Canada, and raised in White Plains, New York, Colin Linden returned to Canada in 1970. He was already a guitar prodigy at 11 years old, and when most kids that age are playing sports, Colin was meeting and being mentored by one of his musical heroes, the great bluesman Howlin’ Wolf, which helped set the youngster on a course to pursue the sounds of his dreams. That encounter helped fuel a career that has featured his work on literally hundreds of albums. At last count, the total of recordings on which he has played approaches 400, while over 100 albums bear the “Produced by Colin Linden” credit.
As a testament to his roots music acumen and early devotion to the idiom, Colin – at the tender age of 15 and accompanied by fellow Canadian musician Doc MacLean – embarked on a summer blues odyssey of the USA, working down from the border and hitting Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Atlanta, Memphis and other points south in the Mississippi Delta. Along the way, they met up with and performed on numerous occasions with a “who’s-who” of blues legends, including Sippie Wallace, Buddy Moss, Little Brother Montgomery, Sunnyland Slim, Tampa Red, Henry Townsend, Robert Wilkins, Sleepy John Estes, Son House and Sam Chatmon.
Colin Linden is a genuine renaissance man of roots music. He’s a singer and songwriter of great skill, an in-demand and prolific record producer (Bruce Cockburn, Tom Wilson, Colin James), a sideman to the stars as guitarist for the likes of Bruce Cockburn, Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and, for the past couple of decades, a member of the mighty trio, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.
Colin’s songs have been covered by The Band, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Keb’ Mo’, and Colin James, and his well-stocked trophy case includes nine JUNO Awards (the Canadian Grammy), multiple Maple Blues Awards, and a Toronto Arts Award. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for the star-studded A Tribute to Howlin’ Wolf CD, and was nominated in 2002 for Lucinda Williams’ track on the Timeless (Hank Williams tribute) album, which won for Country Album of The Year. That same year his involvement in the O Brother, Where Art Thou project was rewarded, as “O Brother” won for Best Album and the Down From The Mountain soundtrack won for Folk Album of The Year (Linden and Chris Thomas King had a song credited together on that one). Linden has a well-deserved reputation as a slide guitar virtuoso of true originality and his riveting slide work can be heard both on albums from numerous artists as well as on his own sizeable solo catalogue.