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David Francey was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. He immigrated to Canada with his family at age 12. He has no formal training in music.
Francey worked as a rail yard worker and a carpenter for 20 years. At age 45, he began a career in folk music, finding success on the folk festival circuit, where he continues to perform.
Francey's experiences in working-class life strongly influenced his 1999 debut album, Torn Screen Door, which featured the songs "Gypsy Boys", "Hard Steel Mill", "Working Poor", and "Torn Screen Door", an a cappella folk harmony sung with Jenn Cianca. Other musical themes include admiration of the natural beauty of the Canadian landscape and traditional folk themes of love and loss.
From 1997 to 2004, Francey was accompanied on guitar by Canadian guitarist/producer Dave Clarke. During that period, Clarke co-produced Francey's first three albums, including the Juno-winning Far End of Summer and Skating Rink.
His 2004 album, The Waking Hour, is a collaboration with traditional country artists Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplin, and includes some of his darker material, including "Wishing Well" about the execution of Timothy McVeigh, and "Fourth of July", a political commentary on the post-September 11 United States. In 2004, David Francey won first prize of the Folk Category of the 9th Annual USA Songwriting Competition.
Accompanied by fellow Canadian guitarist Shane Simpson until October 2006, Francey toured various locations across Canada, the United States, England, Scotland, and Australia. In October 2006, Francey toured with New Hampshire-based singer-songwriter Craig Werth, co-producer of Francey's 2007 release, Right of Passage. Noted Canadian guitarist Mark Westberg met Francey in 1999 at Bishop's University and accompanied him occasionally on tour until 2011, when he joined Francey as his primary guitarist.
His 2009 album Seaway is a collaboration with Mike Ford, former member of Moxy Früvous. It is a collection of songs inspired by their voyage on M.S. Algoville.
In 2010, David Francey won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. In 2011 he released an album, Late Edition.
In 2016, Francey won two Canadian Folk Music Awards, solo artist and contemporary album of the year, for his album Empty Train.