Newsletter

July 5, 2016

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Honey West

// by Larry Delaney // Born : Merla Arlene West September 5, 1939 – Grafton (Cobourg), Ontario   While working as a ticket agent (1961-67) for Air Canada at Toronto International Airport, and later for American Airlines, Merla West was also pursuing her love of singing country music, working the Toronto area country club scene with a variety of pick-up bands and adopting the stage name Honey West. The name was inspired by a successful Hollywood TV series in the late 1960s featuring the private-eye detective character, “Honey West”. By the late 1960s Honey West launched her recording career, cutting a series of albums for the Paragon Record label: “Meet Honey West”, “A Touch Of Honey” and “Sweet Dreams”. Her fourth album for the label, […]
May 10, 2016

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Smiley Bates

// by Larry Delaney // Born: Harvey E. Bates – October 16, 1937 – Kirkland Lake, ONTARIO Died: January 8, 1997 – Ullswater (Bent River), ONTARIO Harvey “Smiley” Bates was one of Canada’s most popular country balladeers, yet one who has been least recognized by the Canadian country music industry at large. A diehard country traditionalist, Smiley Bates was influenced by the music of Hank Snow; and in fact, promoted his music career much in the same fashion as his idol by travelling to his shows hauling a trailer filled with his albums and cassettes – a hot commodity with his many fans. Smiley Bates came from a musical family, with his father and mother (Sidney and Pearl Bates), seven brothers and three sisters all […]

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