Nonie and Eugene Bio & CONCERT REVIEWS

Nonie and Eugene bio

After years of travelling and bringing their music, in it’s various forms to folk across Canada, the US and even Ireland.

Nonie has 7 CDs released and is working on a new one, and has performed with Altan and Clannad while on tour in Ireland in 2000. Nonie has shared the stage with Pamela Morgan and Heather Bishop, opened for Sylvia Tyson, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Lee Aaron, Tommy Makem and Tony McManus just to name a few.

Eugene, who has played on literally hundreds of recording, released his 1st solo album a couple of years back and intends to do another this winter. 

Their 6-piece Celtic group The Celts continues to play larger theatres, but the pair simply love the intimate venues, and in particular they enjoy performing many of their self-penned material. While Nonie is a prolific songwriter, it is their teamwork, in terms of arranging and breathing life into the material that sets them apart, and which garnered many years of performing on the festival and folk club circuits.

Concert Reviews @

McLean House Concert

Music on McLean House Concerts in wee Perth, ON hosted Nonie & Eugene to a full house. Their engaging patter between captivating tunes kept everyone engaged. We highly recommend.
Steve and Sue Tennant

Nonie and the Rolling Sands Band November 30 @ The Midland Cultural Centre.

The Reviews

Nonie…..what a remarkable performance… put your whole heart and soul into it.You and Eugene harmonize beautifully together. I loved the combination of the relaxed friendly atmosphere, along with the high level of professionalism. It was very interesting to be given some insight into how your songs came about. I am happy it was a huge success and will recommend it to anyone as a must to attend. Thank you for you many talents. We loved it. Caroline Bell

Great to see you again. That was a fabulous concert. All good !!! Donald Fitzsimon

Wonderful show, loved it all! Gail Gerrie

Fantastic show! Judy Therese Richardson

The concert was great. I really enjoyed Gary and I have never said that about anyone who plays the accordion before. Nancy Gendron

Wonderful show! Great music and better stories. Martha Cates

Great concert. Loved it. Irene Ashworth

You and Eugene did amazing tonight. Your songs are incredible! Patrick Messier

NONIE & THE ROLLIN’ SANDS BAND performed in the latest Tiffin Bay Folk Club’s Fall Intimate Concert Series! It was an amazing, eclectic night of music and storytelling! Mark Newton

Great evening Nonie. I had no idea you were such a great harmonica player. Loved the versatility of the accordion. Donald Farquhar

Fantastic show! Judy Therese Richardson

Spectacular night of music. A stage filled with incredibly talented musicians! Cathy Walsh

Copeland Creek House Concert Dec 1/19

House Concert Reviews

Hi Cathy & Dave,
We’re sitting at home chatting about the lovely evening we had with everyone & how much we enjoyed Nonie & Eugene…a thoroughly entertaining duo who have certainly experienced many life challenges.
Thank you both again for a delightful time & for bringing so many folks together. Everyone I’m sure felt the same.
Sandy& Dick

We thoroughly enjoyed the House Concert last Sunday evening on Copeland Creek Drive in Tiny. Nonie and Eugene shared wonderful stories and songs in a warm intimate setting. We love hearing the personal background stories on Nonie’s songs. And then to hear those stories sung with so much heart, we became immersed in their beauty and emotion. Their songs cover many musical styles. We love the variety. It was a very enjoyable evening.
Reid and Margaret Wilson.

Copeland Creek House Concert
Copeland Creek House Concert

Robert Reid KW Record

Coming to town

Nonie Thompson – Courtesy of the artist 

Nonie Thompson (formerly Crete) is living a holiday. 

From her bank-side Sturgeon River home she enjoys picturesque views of large ships coming through the Port Severn Lock. 

Be it performing in Donegal, Ireland, West Bay B.C., Miramichi, N.B., or Georgian Bay, water remains the lifeblood of Thompson’s music.

“It means everything,” she says. “It’s funny. I wrote the songs (for 2008 album “Coming Home”) before I knew I was …,” she pauses. “Of course, I had an aneurysm on the eve of the (September 2008) Registry (Theatre) concert so I didn’t know I was going home. All my life I wished and prayed ‘Oh God, I could go home.’ I am a very faithful person, and I believe strongly in prayer. Well, you know what? You get what you pray for because faith will make it happen. Even if it takes an aneurysm to finally slap you up the side of your head and say “Get home. Go! You know?” she exclaims. “And then all of sudden, I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I’m very healthy and strong. Couldn’t be better.” 

Thompson has released seven albums to date, in addition to two albums with multi-instrumentalist/partner Eugene Rea. She has shared stages in Ireland with Celtic bands Clannad and Altan, in addition to playing with Rea in Canada at festivals coast to coast. The venerable singer-songwriter has also opened for (late Irish folk-troubadour) Tommy Makem, Grammy-winning gospel group, Blind Boys of Alabama, veteran Scottish steel-string player Tony McManus and rock/jazz chanteuse Lee Aaron. 

Thompson says her new double album will be called “Take One. Take Two.” 

She describes “Take One” as new songs, and “Take Two” as older “matured and beautiful” songs that have been remixed. Over the years, Thompson’s voice and songwriting has changed. From her repertoire of jazz, and blues, folk, or Celtic melody, honesty is the universal chord that strikes the listener’s ear, heart, and memory through this chameleon performer’s empathic song of life’s joys and sorrows. 

“You are able to tell the story better because you are not thinking of rhyming or anything like that, you are thinking of the story,” says Thompson, now wanting the same lower-octave vocal “honesty” in her music as Brit folk-rock Steeleye Span songstress Maddy Prior. 

“It’s funny. You change and you do not even realize that you are doing it,” she says, laughing. “But I teach a lot and work with the elderly. Everything matures, right?” 

For the Registry show, contemporary folk songs, plus new album tracks including her “Jamie Cullum style jazz tune” will be featured, along with selections from Eugene Rea’s recent album “Songbook.”

In addition to Rea on guitar, vocals, mandolin and whistles, Thompson welcomes musical friends and family including Tom Leighton; vocals, keyboards, accordion; Ralph Johnson, upright and electric bass; plus Midland actors/ backup vocalists (nephew) Peter Flood, and partner Holly Archer. 

Thompson’s other guest is former Sunnyside Home, Kitchener nursing supervisor and longtime kindred spirit/author Pauline Kok. Thompson says Kok’s book “The Remains of War” is a “heartbreaking” childhood memoir about Kok’s years spending the Second World War at Japanese concentration camps in Indonesia. 

“She is a very special woman,” says Thompson, softly. “This is going to be such a special night. I look so forward to seeing old friends. I can show them how I have progressed, and tell people a little bit more about my story.”

Robert Reid KW Record

nonie photo colour

Many Lives of Nonie Thompson


It’s always a special occasion when Nonie Thompson returns to the Registry Theatre.

In 2008 she suffered an aneurysm on the eve of her concert at the vibrant downtown Kitchener performing arts venue.

The scary medical crisis produced consequences both literal and figurative.

It compelled the singer/songwriter to leave the familiar surroundings of Kitchener-Waterloo and return home to Penetanguishene on the southeasterly tip of Georgian Bay.

It also became a metaphor for the career Thompson has carved out for herself, spanning a spectrum of genres encompassing folk, folky country, blues and jazz, with Celtic, Cajun and French Canadian influences.

As an artist she embodies the multiplicity of lives associated with furry felines, whether working as a solo artist, with longtime musical collaborator/multi-instrumentalist Eugene Rea or with the all-female blues band Grand Ladies of the Blues.

She has traversed Canada numerous times, performing at major festivals and venerable coffee houses, and has visited Ireland, her spiritual home away from home.

The respect with which she is held by fellow performers is reflected in the artists with whom she has shared a stage.

She has opened for the late Tommy Makem (remember the legendary Clancy Brothers), Grammy winning gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama and Scottish-bred/Elora-based acoustic guitar ace Tony McManus, among others. Similarly she has performed with veteran folk singers Heather Bishop and Pamela Morgan (a founding member of Newfoundland’s pioneer Celtic band Figgy Duff). She has toured Ireland with two of the Emerald Island’s great bands, Altan and Clannad — WOW.

I have known Nonie Thompson almost as long as I worked at the Waterloo Region Record, which is a blush shy of 30 years. (Don’t let her youthful looks fool you, the lady has paid her dues.)

Since making her acquaintance, when she was known as Nonie Crete, I admired her work ethic, dedication, honesty and earthy lack of pretension/sense of entitlement while maintaining a career in a tough business that doesn’t always reward talent.

The two things Thompson isn’t are slick and flashy. What you see is what you get, sustained by a deep faith that is never preachy and supported by a quiet dignity.

Thompson has released seven albums, in addition to a couple of co-productions with Rea. At Saturday’s concert she will introduce material from her forthcoming double album Take One. Take Two, a collection of new songs and previously recorded songs that have matured over time, like a good malt whisky. These will be augmented with material from Rea’s latest album Songbook.

Thompson is billing the concert as a gathering of friends — embracing both performers and audience members.

‘This night will be a time when you bring all your friends together and make many special moments — a night to remember,’ she observes in a release.

Thompson (vocals, guitar and a mean harmonica) will be joined by Rea (vocals, guitar mandolin, whistle, et al.), Tom Leighton (vocals, accordion, et al.) and Ralph Johnson (upright and electric bass). The two harmony singers are Thompson’s nephew Peter Flood and his girlfriend Holly Archer.

Thompson’s other guest is author Pauline Kok, who will introduce The Remains of War, her memoir documenting her years  of incarceration in a Japanese concentration camp in Indonesia during the Second War.

Opening act is local singer/songwriter Tyler Shaw.

Nonie Thompson & Friends
Registry Theatre
8 pm Saturday (July 25)
Tickets ($20) at 519-820-6805 or email at
Concert info available at