Perth County Conspiracy
Origin: Stratford, Ontario
Perth County Conspiracy, also known as Perth County Conspiracy (does not exist) was a Canadian folk music group based in Stratford, Ontario. It was formed in 1969 and was active until at least 1977. The founding members were guitarist-singers Richard Keelan (formerly of the American band The Spike Drivers) and Cedric Smith, who were joined by Terry Jones (guitar, vocals), Michael Butler (bass) and George Taros (piano, vocals) and other friends and family members.
During the 1970s a number of others were a part of the Conspiracy such as David Woodhead, Jerome Jarvis, Larry Brown, Paul Gellman, Peter Cheyne and Dorit Learned. In the mid 1960s through to the late 1970s the Perth County Conspiracy would play nightly at the Black Swan Coffee House in Stratford, Ontario which was run by Harry Finlay. Guest performers at the Black Swan included such people as Brent Titcomb. The performances usually followed after the evening performances at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival Theatre. Oftentimes they would last till almost 4 a.m. In addition to playing at the Black Swan, the group also toured across Canada playing at many universities and also at Massey Hall.
After two major label albums for CBS, the group went independent and released a string of records on their own. Bob Burchill (guitar, vocals) joined the group in 1973. The music is characterised by its message-oriented lyrics and unconventional arrangements. The 1970 self-titled album features Shakespearian dialogue and audio collage elements mixed with folk and folk rock music that might place it in the genre of psych folk.
Perth County Conspiracy recorded several albums of material including at least two on the Columbia label.
Around 1990 former members of the band were began to reunite once a year at a Black Swan Coffee House Revival in Stratford in support of homelessness in Perth County. Several children of the band's members became musicians themselves, including Richard's daughter Raphael and Terry's son Noah.
In 2011, the CBC radio show Inside the Music featured an hour-long exploration of the group and their music.