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July 6, 2021

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: The Good Brothers

// by Larry Delaney // (Brian Good – Born January 27, 1946 – Toronto, Ontario Bruce Good – Born January 27, 1946 – Toronto, Ontario Larry Good – Born January 25, 1952 – Newmarket, Ontario) (#51 in the Ontario Pioneers Series) Twin brothers Bruce and Brian Good began their music career during the late 1960s folk music scene in Yorkville (Toronto) with the folk music group The Kinfolk, which also featured Bruce’s wife Margaret. Brian and Bruce later teamed up with James Ackroyd to form the trio, James & The Good Brothers. The act was part of the fabled “Festival Express” train tour across Canada, which also featured Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Band, Ian & Sylvia, etc. The Good Brothers once listed their […]
June 8, 2021

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Wendell Ferguson

// by Larry Delaney // (Born: February 28, 1954 – Streetsville, Ontario) (#50 in the Ontario Pioneers Series)   Wendell Ferguson is the “Mr. Do-It-All” of Canadian country music. A guitar player, a singer, a songwriter, a producer, a band leader, a comedian, an industry executive… and probably a whole lot more. Born and still residing in Streetsville (Mississauga), Ontario, Wendell became fixated on being a guitar player after hearing Chet Atkins play the instrument. Although he took several years of formal guitar lessons, Wendell was off-and-running as a guitar player, fueled more by listening to and emulating the recordings of some of his guitar idols: Chet Atkins, Les Paul, The Ventures and other guitar gods. In 1987, after years of practice and dues-paying, Wendell […]
May 12, 2021

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: George Fox

// by Larry Delaney // (Born: March 23,1960 — Calgary, AB [Raised in Cochrane, AB]) Home: Ancaster, Ontario (#49 in the Ontario Pioneers Series) George Fox was a farm boy with a dream. Living on his parents’ farm in Cochrane, Alberta, George spent much of his younger life working the farm, baling hay and milking cows… all the while dreaming about becoming the next Elvis Presley or Buddy Holly – two of his early music idols. After spending time in Sweden on a “farm exchange” program, George’s musical interests turned to more traditional country artists, and he began writing songs himself. By the mid-1980s, and after playing the local community events scene in and around Cochrane, George began recording several demo sessions of his music, […]
April 16, 2021

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Gordon Lightfoot

// by Larry Delaney // (THE “COUNTRY” SIDE OF GORDON LIGHTFOOT) Born: November 17, 1938 – Orillia, Ontario (#48 in the Ontario Pioneers Series)   Gordon Lightfoot, one of Canada’s most renowned singer/songwriters, has seen his compositions recorded by artists from around the globe… and from all musical genres. Lightfoot’s own recordings of many of his songs have become permanently etched in our musical memories. While Gordon Lightfoot is most often regarded as a “Folk” artist, his “Country” roots run just as deep. His songs have been recorded by the Who’s Who of country music, many of them becoming major chart hits for those artists. During the 1970s and mid 80s, Lightfoot placed eight of his recordings of original songs on the Billboard Country Charts, […]
March 12, 2021

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Carroll Baker

// by Larry Delaney // Born: March 4, 1949 – Bridgewater, Nova Scotia Home: Guelph, Ontario (#47 in the Ontario Pioneers Series)   Carroll Baker’s career in Canadian country music remains unmatched. Notwithstanding the modern-day accomplishments of such Canadian-bred country stars as Shania Twain, Terri Clark, Michelle Wright, etc., Carroll Baker still holds the Canadian chart record of scoring 12 consecutive #1 hits (February 1975 to May 1979). Carroll Baker was on the RPM Country Hit Charts for a total of 528 weeks, with 31 consecutive singles reaching the charts and 20 of them making the Top 10, mostly achieved with her manager/producer/songwriting partner, the late Don Grashey. Carroll’s success story did not end with the Don Grashey era. After moving to Tembo Records in […]
February 9, 2021

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Mike O’Reilly

// by Larry Delaney // Born: Dec. 10, 1944 – Seaton (Devonshire) England Home: Ottawa, Ontario (#46 in the Ontario Pioneers Series) In the Bluegrass Music world, Mike O’Reilly has long been one of Canada’s “best kept secrets”. The now-veteran Canuck has done it all: a masterful musician, a gifted singer, a quality songwriter, and a stage presence that balances a traditional bluegrass voice with a comedic side that keeps an audience enthralled. Today’s bluegrass fans will likely be aware of Mike O’Reilly’s quartet of albums recorded with long-time music partner Dick Smith, releasing the four albums (from 2002-2008) on the New Era Recording label under the “Dick Smith – Mike O’Reilly Band” banner. Amazingly, all 56 songs featured on these albums were written solely […]
January 11, 2021

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Canadian Zephyr

// by Larry Delaney // (#45 in the Ontario Pioneers Series) Seven albums, 20 charted singles, including three #1 hits and eight Top 10 hits to their credit… but still, Canadian Zephyr remain as one of Canadian country music’s all-time “mystery” acts. A product of the pre-CD, pre-video era of Canadian country music, Canadian Zephyr were the perfect example of being “ahead of their time.” The early origins of the band go back to the late 1960s as a foursome called The Four Jacks, featuring the talents of John Hayman, Bill Meens, Marty Steiger and Chris Plewes. In 1971, after Steiger and Plewes left the act, Hayman and Meens were joined by bassist/vocalist Garth Bourne, billing themselves as CANADIAN ZEPHYR, with a home base in […]
December 11, 2020

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Hugh Scott

Born: April 4, 1940 – Riceville, Ontario // by Larry Delaney // (#44 in the Ontario Pioneers Series) Hugh Scott is the epitome of the “hometown hero”… a singer, songwriter and performer who had the pure talent to become a huge star at the national level, but chose to stay close to home to pursue his music career. Born April 4, 1940, in the Eastern Ontario town of Riceville, Hugh Scott was raised in Ottawa and began playing the fiddle at age 5. By his mid-teens, he was playing in his first professional band, Smokey Rand & The Drifters, working shows at the popular Chamberland Hotel in nearby Aylmer, Quebec. Later, while heading-up his own group, The Meteors, Hugh generated a huge fan following with […]
November 3, 2020

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Marie Bottrell

Born: January 16, 1961 – London, Ontario // by Larry Delaney // (#43 in the Ontario Pioneers Series) Marie Bottrell has been writing songs and singing since her pre-teen years. After performing in her family group (Whitestone Bridge) and singing at dances and Legion Halls in her hometown of London, Ontario, Marie was signed to The Mercey Brothers’ MBS Records label in 1978. She pursued a solo career, releasing two albums on MBS and an additional three albums after being signed to RCA Records. Many of the songs on these albums were original songs written by Bottrell. Her debut “Just Reach Out And Touch Me” album featured four songs, which she composed, including the title track, which became the first of her twenty nationally-charted hit […]

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