Born and raised on a buffalo ranch in the heart of the Canadian prairies, Duff Kelly is a surfer, a searcher, an adventurer, and a passionate songwriter. He had an early introduction to music through playing guitar in the family band, as well as an early introduction to local law enforcement agencies due to his restless and adventuresome spirit. A wise man once said, ‘The tales of renegades have launched a thousand songs’. Well, Duff is in good company there.
With dreams and aspirations bigger than the province - and very itchy feet - 16-year old Duff put the troubles at home in the rear view mirror, striking out on his own by hopping on a freight train and riding off into the sunset. Nearly three years and three thousand miles later, his gritty, newfound independence was largely consumed by backbreaking labour, with the guitar left to sit idly by. Driven to move beyond being the drudgery of a usual life, Duff completed commercial flight school, upgrading to a seasonal flying job that set his spirit free as he tore across the sky during the summer months, mere feet above the ground. Bank account fattened, he then trekked south, guitar in hand, to chase the surf and compose songs while gazing out to sea from places obscure and exotic.
Returning from a winter season in Kauai, and armed with an arsenal of new songs scheduled for studio production, disaster struck when his aircraft clipped a power line and came crashing to the ground. The next five years would be eaten up with endless reconstructive surgeries and rehabilitation. The road to recovery often meant no job, no money, and no possibility of a much-needed surf trip. Worst of all was the permanent partial loss of use in his fretting hand, leaving him unable to play his guitar. For a musician, this is a dark crossroad indeed.
Digging deep and finding the fire within that had compelled him to hop on a freight train years earlier, Duff restrung his guitar and began the arduous task of learning to play it left-handed. Never one to give up or go quietly, Duff’s songs and style crackle with a true passion for music and life, with every verse directly inspired by a courageous and often bloody journey.
To hear Duff’s music is to know struggle, and to experience loss, love, and learning. His is a sound for the wanderer, the nomad, the disenfranchised, and the poetic of soul. He invites you to join the fold.