Ontario Pioneers

September 25, 2019

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Neville Wells

Born: December 5, 1940 – St. John’s, Newfoundland Home: The Ottawa Valley (by Larry Delaney)   Neville Wells is one of Canada’s most accomplished country music artists, and he has achieved his career status with relatively little fanfare. While carving out a career as a recording artist, songwriter, performer… he later provided the Canadian country music industry and fans with a monthly newspaper that would become “The voice of country music in Canada”. Born in 1940 in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the Wells family moved to Ompah, Ontario, a small town in the Ottawa Valley, when he was a youngster. He soon developed a keen interest in music and as a teenager, performed in local dance halls and special events, influenced initially by the music of […]
July 29, 2019

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Terry Parker

“Canada’s Yodeling Sweetheart” Born: July 21, 1933 – Val Gagne, Ontario (by Larry Delaney) Terry Parker is something of a “Mystery Lady” in Canadian country music. She earned the title of “Canada’s Yodeling Sweetheart,” and was the inspiration for many Canadian female vocalists that followed in her footsteps… yet very little is known about this talented country pioneer. Born Theresa Pacaud, July 21, 1933, in the small Ontario town of Val Gagne (near Timmins), she became “Terry Parker” when she launched her music career. One of Terry’s favourite artists at that time was Patsy Montana, fondly remembered for her yodeling singing style, and Terry began emulating her musical mentor’s vocal delivery. Terry began performing at various venues in Northern Ontario and eventually made her way […]
May 20, 2019

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Dallas Harms

Born: July 18, 1935 – Jansen, SK Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario (by Larry Delaney)   Dallas Leon Harms was born July 18, 1935, in Jansen, Saskatchewan, and moved to Hamilton, Ontario as a two-year old with his family. He began playing the local music scene in the mid-1950’s and was a frequent guest performer on the popular radio/TV series Main Street Jamboree. While working The Flamingo Club in Hamilton in 1957, Dallas met and performed with then-rising-star Conway Twitty, and helped introduce Ronnie “The Hawk” Hawkins to the local club scene. His friendship with Hawkins would later result in Dallas Harms paying tribute to the rocker with the song “Rockin’ The Hammer”; “The Hammer” referring to the steel-town of Hamilton. As a touring act, Dallas Harms […]
April 11, 2019

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Ted Daigle

Born: January 16, 1937 – Jacquet River, NB Home – Ottawa, Ontario (by Larry Delaney)   Ted Daigle has enjoyed a career as a recording artist and performer, as well as being one of Canadian country music’s premier radio DJs and radio station managers. Ted Daigle launched his radio career in 1956 as a DJ at CKBC in Bathurst, NB, where he hosted the station’s Hillbilly Hayride Show, while he also emceed shows headlined by major touring acts of the day. He continued to hone his craft in radio, moving on to stations in Thunder Bay, Ontario (CJLX) where he was mentored by radio Hall of Famer Johnny Murphy; and CFGM in Toronto. In the late 1960s, Ted moved to CKOY in Ottawa, and in […]
March 12, 2019

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Don Cochrane

Born: April 23, 1944 – Kingston, Ontario (by Larry Delaney) Don Cochrane first performed his music at high school dances and family gatherings. He later joined the Kingston-based group, The Fred Paquin Orchestra; and after meeting fellow songwriter Doug Ballard, formed the Murney Tower Singers, and eventually headed up his own country band, The Gamblers. A debut single, Don’t Count On Me, backed with Water To Wine, was released on the Canuck Records label, attracting local radio airplay. In 1971, Don became a member of the nationally-touring band, Ralph Carlson & Country Mile. By the mid-1970’s, Don Cochrane ventured out as a solo recording / performing artist, supported by his back-up band, Sweet Clover. Don toured extensively with his band and made appearances on many […]
January 22, 2019

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Anita Perras

Born: March 17, 1960 – Sudbury, Ontario (by Larry Delaney) As a 16-year-old in her hometown of Sudbury, Ontario, Anita Perras made her recording debut featured on the Cheyenne Records LP Irwin Prescott & Friends, performing the songs Please Mr. Star and For The First Time. During her formative music career years, Anita often crossed paths and shared stages with another rising Canadian artist: Shania Twain. In the late 70’s, Anita met and married songwriter Tim Taylor (of Bowmanville, Ontario) and they teamed up to form the duo Tim Taylor & Anita Perras (the act was also frequently billed as Anita Perras & Tim Taylor). The duo released three albums on the Snocan, Tailspin and Savannah labels, and charted a number of hit singles, including […]
December 3, 2018

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Jack Bailey

Born: April 26, 1938 – Peterborough, Ontario Died: September 2, 1987 – Peterborough, Ontario (by Larry Delaney) Jack Bailey began writing songs and entering talent contests in his hometown of Peterborough at 12 years of age. During his late teen years, he was already making guest appearances on the Canadian TV shows Holiday Ranch, Country Hoedown, Pick The Stars, Carl Smith’s Country Music Hall, and years later, The Ray Griff Show. Jack Bailey entered the recording field in 1959 on Rodeo Records with Pop and Rockabilly-flavoured sessions produced in Halifax, and released under the billing, Jack Bailey & The Naturals. He would follow up those debut releases with several more singles recorded in Toronto on Chateau Records. Many of these early career singles were also released in […]
October 23, 2018

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Hank Rivers

(aka Henry “Hank” Lariviere) (Born – Jan. 23, 1917 – Hawkesbury, ON) (Died – May 7, 1996 – London, ON) (by Larry Delaney) The early years of Canadian country music were largely dominated by national heroes Wilf Carter and Hank Snow… but, flying under the radar at that time was the equally talented Hank Lariviere, who was influenced heavily by the songs and recordings of Carter and Snow as well as Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams. Henry Lariviere was born January 23, 1917, in Hawkesbury, Ontario, with the family relocating to Ottawa when he was still a youngster. By his pre-teen years, Henry was playing guitar and singing the songs made famous by his idols. At the outbreak of WW II, Henry found himself in […]
September 19, 2018

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Frank Jones

Born: March 4, 1928 – Toronto, Ontario Died: February 3, 2005 – Nashville, Tennessee (by Larry Delaney)   Frank Jones’ contributions to the world of country music are massive, and unmatched for a Canadian-born individual. His credits cover everything from being a performer and recording artist to concert promoter, radio personality, major artist record producer, A&R Director for various major labels, and even Chairman of the Board of the Country Music Foundation in Nashville. Toronto-born Frank Jones entered the entertainment world while in his late teens, performing in Fiddler’s Fling, a Barn Dance Show in Ottawa. He then moved into promoting Wilf Carter’s national tours across Canada, and then entering the radio world, working at stations in Chatham, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. Then Frank joined […]

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