February 8, 2023

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Murray McLauchlan

// by Larry Delaney // (#71 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series) Murray McLauchlan and the music he makes cannot be pigeon-holed into one category… he pretty much covers all popular musical genres – Folk, Pop, Rock, Cabaret – and, oh ya, COUNTRY. In fact, his “Farmer’s Song”, and its recording, is about as Country as it gets!! Murray McLauchlan was born June 30, 1948, in Paisley, Scotland. He came to Canada with his family when he was five years old, settling in Toronto. By the time he was in his early teens, he was learning his craft as a singer/songwriter/musician while haunting the coffee house scene in Toronto. After a brief stay in New York, Murray returned to Toronto and in 1970, he […]
January 18, 2023

Call for CMAOntario Board Nominations and Submissions: 2023

The Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAOntario) is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors that will consist of a minimum of three (3) and a maximum of thirteen (13) Directors, of which, nine (9) shall be elected and up to four (4) may be appointed at the discretion of the Board. Each elected or appointed Director shall serve for a period of two years. A Director may serve an unlimited number of duly elected or appointed terms. To maintain governance continuity, seat vacancies on the Board are alternated each calendar year; only a portion of the seats on the Board will be available for each election. Existing Directors who are not running for re-election will serve as the Nomination Approval Committee for all nominees. All Directors must be over […]
January 17, 2023

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Ron McLeod

// by Larry Delaney // (#70 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series)   Ronald (Ron) James Harry McLeod was born in Hamilton in 1933. Music always played a large part in his life. At age 15, he won a Gold Award playing the accordion at the Waterloo Music Festival. He was first discovered by Canadian dance band leader Slim Gordon, who hired Ron as an accordion player for his band. After honing his skills with the band, he joined up with Johnny Davidson and added Square Dance calling to his talent list. He also called for The Brady Square Dancers. Ron McLeod’s early career fame was likely best achieved when he became a regular on the Main Street Jamboree. In 1958, he spread his […]
December 21, 2022

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Jack Scott

// by Larry Delaney // (#69 in the Ontario Country Music Pioneers Series) If you had the good fortune to be a radio listener in the late 1950s and through the 60s, you would have been treated to a steady stream of hit songs by rockabilly singer JACK SCOTT. Hit tunes like “Leroy”, “The Way I Walk”, “Goodbye Baby”, “Midgie”, “My True Love”, “Geraldine”, “Save My Soul”, “With Your Love”, “What In The World’s Come Over You” and many more, helped make Jack Scott one of Canada’s most recognizable voices with music fans around the world. What made that hit list even more impressive was that Jack wrote all those songs. Jack Scott was born Giovanni Domenico Scafone, January 24, 1936, in Windsor, Ontario. At […]
November 9, 2022

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: MIKE “Pepe” FRANCIS

// by Larry Delaney // (#68 in the Ontario Pioneers Series) MIKE FRANCIS is a multi-talented music man who has literally “done it all” in the music world. A guitarist extraordinaire, a record producer, composer, arranger, and commercial jingles writer… are but a few of his massive career credits. Music has always been a part of Mike Francis’ life. He is the son of legendary Canadian country music recording artist, the late Ray Francis (1931-2010), who headed-up the Chatham, Ontario-based group The Whippoorwills. As a teenager in his hometown of Chatham, Mike followed in his father’s musical footsteps, briefly playing with his father’s band before moving on to working with various local country and pop/rock bands – which led to full-time work in Toronto studios. […]
October 12, 2022

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Blake Emmons

// by Larry Delaney // (born: August 2, 1944 – Toronto) (#67 in the Ontario Pioneers Series) BLAKE EMMONS is likely best known for hosting the TV series “Funny Farm”, a short-lived (one season-1974) Canadian-produced answer to the long-running Nashville TV show “Hee Haw”. For diehard country music fans, Blake Emmons will also be remembered for a pair of albums – I Wish You Love, released in 1976, and First Flight, a 1983 album on Columbia Records. The debut album, released on Canadian label Condor Records, contained five songs written by Blake Emmons, including his two biggest chart hits: “Let Me Do Something Lord”, which peaked at #9 on the RPM Charts, and the follow-up single “Sunchild”, a Top 30 hit. The album also contained […]
September 6, 2022

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Ward Allen

// by Larry Delaney // (1922-1965) (Born: Kirkton, Ontario) (#66 in the Ontario Pioneers Series) There have been many Canadian-made songs that have become standards and earned mega-play worldwide… One, however, that often flies under the radar, is the fiddle instrumental, “Maple Sugar”, composed by the late Ward Allen. Most fiddle players in North America and beyond have either recorded or performed a live version of “Maple Sugar” – the tune is immediately identifiable by fans and enthusiasts of fiddle music. Ward Allen’s “Maple Sugar”, originally recorded and released on the Sparton Records of Canada label, was so popular and far-ranging that it also earned a release on the famed Texas-based D-Records label, operated by Pappy Daily. Warden Amber (Ward) Allen was born May 11, […]
August 4, 2022

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Gilles Godard

// by Larry Delaney // (Born: Cornwall, Ontario) (#65 in the Ontario Pioneers Series) Cornwall, Ontario-born singer/songwriter/producer GILLES GODARD is one of Canadian country music’s best all-around success stories. He began as a musician (steel guitar), was a prolific songwriter, an in-demand record producer, and completed the picture by forming his own record label, Book Shop Records, which became a home to many Canadian recording artists. By the mid-1980s, he was making Nashville his base of operations, where he not only became a hit songwriter but also a music publishing executive. To better grasp Gilles Godard’s massive career, one must review his accomplishments somewhat chronologically. After graduating from the Royal Conservatory of Music as a master steel guitar musician, still in his teens, Gilles formed […]
June 21, 2022

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Shirley Eikhard

// by Larry Delaney // (Born: Sackville, NB – Home: Oshawa, Ontario) (#64 in the Ontario Pioneers Series)   Shirley Eikhard is blessed with musical blueblood. Her mother is famed fiddle player June Eikhard; her father, the late Cecil Eikhard, was also a gifted musician. Shirley has further blossomed as a singer/songwriter/musician, with career credits the envy of many. Born in Sackville, NB, the family relocated to Oshawa, Ontario, when Shirley was in her pre-teen years. She quickly followed in her parents’ musical footsteps as a singer, a guitarist, and above all, a songwriter. Shirley, as a 12-year-old, performed at various fiddle contests where her mother was a headline attraction, and at a songwriters’ venue at the famed Mariposa Folk Festival, which led to TV […]


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