Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Donna Moon

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Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Donna Moon

Born: June 5, 1951 – Madoc, Ontario

(by Larry Delaney)

Donna Moon was born in the Central Ontario town of Madoc, and launched her singing career as a young teenager with performances at the Lakehead Barndance staged in nearby Peterborough. Donna became affectionately dubbed “The Moon Of Madoc”, and after moving to Toronto in the early 1970’s to pursue her career at the professional level, she soon attracted the attention of Jack Hosier who signed Donna to his Marathon Records label.

In 1973, Donna Moon released her debut album with the title track single, “Bittersweet”, quickly attracting radio airplay and the single reaching #2 on the RPM Hit Charts. A follow-up single, “Baby And Me”, also charted, peaking at #29. Donna’s second album on Marathon, a self-titled collection, also enjoyed national success, with the single “Not So Far Away” earning a #8 position on the RPM Charts in 1976. Donna’s powerful version of the country classic “Crazy Arms”, another single from her Bittersweet album, was also featured on the 1974 Marathon Records album Country Music Cavalcade.

Donna Moon’s breakthrough success as a recording artist earned her a Juno Award nomination in 1974 as Most Promising Female Vocalist Of The Year. Donna also earned national recognition with TV appearances on the George Hamilton IV Show aired out of Hamilton, the CBC-Halifax Countrytime show and The Tommy Hunter Show.

In 1974, Ottawa Valley entertainer Gary Fairburn was invited to front The Donna Moon Show, working Toronto and area club and concert dates. The couple soon became husband and wife, making their home in Ottawa, where they continued to perform as The Gary Fairburn & Donna Moon Show.

While raising a young family, Donna and Gary also found time to perform extensively in the Ottawa Valley, as well as recording several duet albums. The duo was also featured on the Various Artists albums Christmas In The Valley (1998) and Vol. 2 of the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall Of Fame collection.

Donna Moon and Gary Fairburn were also active in promoting Grand Ol’ Opry tour shows in the Ottawa Valley and in the early 1990’s, operated their own country music clubs, Nashville Palace and Music City Bar & Grill. At the time, the duo were also invited to perform on The Midnite Jamboree, a live radio show aired out of the famed Ernest Tubb Record Shop in Nashville, Tennessee.

Donna Moon and Gary Fairburn were jointly inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1995.