July 19, 2024

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Family Brown

// by Larry Delaney // (#85 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series) Family Brown, an Ottawa Valley-based group, achieved a level of success that has gone unmatched in the Canadian Country music industry. Their trophy shelf is filled with Juno Awards, “Big Country” and Canadian Country Music awards and CMAOntario’s prestigious Impact Award, among many other accolades. During the 1980s, they were named CCMA’s Group Of The Year on seven occasions. The Family Brown act was assembled in 1968 by Joe Brown. He had performed for years; first, as a member of the Nova Scotia-based “Hillbilly Jewels” and later, heading-up the Ottawa Valley group, “The Happy Wanderers”. As several of his talented children showed special interest in music, he formed the act with son Barry […]
May 12, 2024

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Cyril Rawson

// by Larry Delaney // (#84 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series) The Canadian Country music landscape is filled with gifted, creative songwriters. Right at the top of that list is Ontario-bred songwriter, CYRIL RAWSON – the man has 1,155 working titles filed in the BMI Song Registry, and likely tons more sitting in his guitar case waiting to be finished. Music has surrounded Cyril Rawson throughout his years. He was born in Newcastle-On-Tyne, England, and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, where his family operated Rawson Music Stores in town and in nearby Lindsay. Cyril was given the opportunity to be part of that lifestyle, but chose to devote his talents to the songwriting sector of the music industry… There wasn’t much of a learning […]
April 10, 2024

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Con Archer

// by Larry Delaney // (#83 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series)     Singer/songwriter CON ARCHER was born Conrad William Archer, November 8, 1941, in Bourlamaque, (Val D’Or), Quebec. He later moved to Orillia, Ontario where he first worked as a barber, and then pursued a singing career, initially performing with the local group, The Fairlanes, singing Country and Gospel music.  By the early 1970s, Con Archer headed up his own group, “The Sundowners”, and began his recording career, which would see him release seven albums and a series of nationally-charted hit singles. A debut album, “The Many Moods Of Con Archer”, was released on the Dominion Records label in 1970. The album was produced by Jury Krytiuk and recorded in Nashville studios. The […]
March 6, 2024

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Dan Paul Rogers

// by Larry Delaney // (#82 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series) DAN ROGERS was born June 18, 1957, in Trenton, Ontario and has lived in the Ottawa Valley town of Renfrew for most of his life, where he has since become a fixture on the Country Music scene, now affectionately known as DAN PAUL ROGERS. In his teen years, Dan Rogers performed with the Gospel Music group Shilo, and then as a member of the Traditional country band, The Countrymen, which led to forming his own band, Home Coming. Rogers was “discovered” in 1984, during an Ottawa Valley Talent Contest. One of the judges for the event was multi-award-winning producer/musician Randall Prescott and he recognized the special vocal and songwriting talents that Dan […]
February 2, 2024

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Terry Sumsion (1947-2011)

// by Larry Delaney // (#81 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series) Country singer/songwriter/entertainer TERRY SUMSION was born February 7, 1947, in the Southwest Ontario town of Burford. He spent much of his early years driving trucks and buses, but that lifestyle changed dramatically in the late 1970s when he won the Male Vocalist category in the Canadian Open Singing Contest held in Simcoe, Ontario. In fact, he won the prestigious honour in three consecutive years, as well as the 1981 BX-93 (London) Country Roads Contest. By the early 1980s, after paying some early career dues as a member of the band Maple Creek, Terry was working club dates and festival events with his own back-up band, Stagecoach. He also launched his recording career […]
January 11, 2024

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Ollie Strong

// by Larry Delaney // (#80 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series) OLLIE STRONG was born William Oliver Steven Strong, July 2, 1935, in Bolton, Ontario. He is recognized as being among the first pedal steel guitar players on the Canadian music scene and has long been an influence on many of the steel guitar players who have since come on stream. As a teenager, Ollie Strong first performed with a local group, The Humber River Ranch Boys, which also included his sister, Edna (Richardson). Later, he was a member of the Chuck Joyce Ramblers, where he worked square dances and social events. By the mid-1950s, Ollie was gaining notice while playing at musical events staged at Fred Roden’s Record Corral in Toronto. He […]
December 6, 2023

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Ken Reynolds

// by Larry Delaney // (#79 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series) KEN REYNOLDS The late KEN REYNOLDS was largely a “behind-the-scenes” personality in the Canadian Country Music world… but he certainly played a role that deserved top billing. Ken Reynolds was instrumental in the success of music legends Wilf Carter, Don Messer, The Happy Wanderers… and much more. Ken Reynolds was born August 9, 1929, in Brownsburg, Quebec. As a youngster, his family relocated to Leitrim, Ontario, in the Ottawa Valley; and while in his teens, he became a talented square dance caller. In the early 1950s, Ken acquired an entertainment booking license and became the exclusive booking agent and tour manager for the legendary Wilf Carter (Montana Slim), acquiring over 300 show […]
September 11, 2023

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Bobby Lalonde

// by Larry Delaney // (#78 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series) Bobby Lalonde has been a lifelong resident of the Ottawa Valley, born May 22, 1958, in the small farming community of Fournier, Ontario. Until recently, in nearby Hawkesbury, he owned and managed his own music store, now a Long & McQuade regional outlet. Bobby first hit the stage as a nine-year-old, playing fiddle in a band with his three brothers (Gerry, Gilles and Marc), billed as The Four Sons. As a young teen, he won the Junior Fiddle Championship at the famed Shelburne Fiddling Competition and went on to the National Fiddling Championship in 1975. Bobby was inspired by many of Canada’s legendary fiddle players – the likes of Don Messer, Johnny […]
August 11, 2023

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Ron Sparling

// by Larry Delaney // (#77 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series) The early formative years of the Canadian Country Music “industry” were built around the dreams and hard work of a few dedicated individuals – RON SPARLING was at the forefront of that movement. Ron was a musician, a manager, an advisor, a leader, a mentor… and much more. Born May 12, 1940, in Ottawa, Ron Sparling spent his early years in Campbells Bay, Quebec. As a youngster, he was intrigued by the glamour of small town fairs and festivals. At age 17, he became a drummer for the Ottawa Valley group The Blue Mountain Boys, and soon after, he played drums for Hank Rivers – at the time, one of Canada’s top […]


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