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Neville Wells: Reluctant ‘Legend’ of Canadian Traditional Music

Neville Wells: reluctant ‘legend’ of Canadian traditional musicNeville Wells being inducted into the Land O’Lakes Traditional Music Hall of Fame by Don White Saturday at the Flinton Jamboree.

This article was written by Craig Bakay of the Frontenac News and posted August 9, 2017.

It’s clear talking with Neville Wells that he’s uncomfortable with the term legend being applied to him.
“I’m just a kid from Ompah,” he says.
He was born in Newfoundland and moved to Mosque Lake Lodge in Ompah as a child. His musical career began at the Ompah Dance Hall where, for $2 a night, he backed up Neil and Flora Perry.
But when he moved to Ottawa, he hooked up with some guys you may have heard of before in a band called The Children. His bandmates included Bruce Cockburn, David Whiffen, Peter Hodgson (aka Sneezy Waters), Sandy Crawley and Richard Patterson.

“We were terrible,” he says, laughing. “But we were having fun and we did have a following.
“Ricky was extremely talented and Dave should have been a big star (but) we were all prima donnas.
From there he moved on, playing with Crawley a lot.

“Coffee houses were the thing,” he says. “Performing was different then.
“You didn’t have to be a star and the audiences were always respectful.”
Oh, did we mention there was a mid-’60s gig in Ottawa where he opened for the Rolling Stones and one in Toronto opening for The Lovin’ Spoonful?
“We were just there for the sound man to get the levels right,” he said.

OK, how about the Sweetwater years and songs charting and getting airplay? If You Will See Me Through and Please Don’t Mention Her Name come to mind.
“Ah, the Sweetwater years,” he said. “We had a ’77 Chevy van and it was the road — the Pump in Regina, Moose Jaw, Edmonton, Calgary, and a lot of booze.”
Still, being a working musician is something most people will never get to do.
“OK, my career, I consider it a procession of lost opportunities,” he said. “I really don’t have any regrets other than not learning that ‘music business’ is two words.
“I didn’t learn the ‘business’ part of it soon enough.”
But, then there is some reflection.

“I’m a bit of a hack,” he said. “But look around you — most people will never get to do that.
“People who aren’t musicians will never know what it feels like to be on stage, with the band getting in a groove, the audience getting into it . . . they’ll never know.”
At 77, Wells has retired to Perth in a small bungalow on a modest pension with his wife Anne-Lis.
He’s playing more these days than he had been, but he’s not one to live in the past.
“Music is more of a hobby, now,” he said. “The rest, well, I can’t fathom it.
“Life goes on with you or without you.”

Six inducted into Land O’Lakes Traditional Music Hall of Fame

Bill White, himself an inductee this year, inducts Sheila Calthorpe into the Land O’Lakes Traditional Music Hall of Fame Saturday in Flinton.Bill White, himself an inductee this year, inducts Sheila Calthorpe into the Land O’Lakes Traditional Music Hall of Fame Saturday in Flinton.

This article, written by Craig Bakay, was posted in the Frontenac News, August 9, 2017.

The rains threatened but held off just long enough for the Land O’Lakes Traditional Music Hall of Fame to induct six new members at a ceremony/performance Saturday during the Flinton Jamboree. First on stage was Ross Clow. Born and raised near Verona, Clow spent more than a decade as the lead singer for Don Johnson and the Serenaders, a long-running dance orchestra with weekly radio shows on two Kingston radio stations during the ’50s and ’60s. In his senior years, Clow gravitated towards gospel music with the Gospel Jewels and later with the Old Hims. Clow was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Sheila Calthorpe was inducted in the Songwriters Category. Calthorpe grew up on Simcoe Island in the St. Lawrence River and developed a tradition of home worship during winters because there was no church on the island.

Eventually, she met and married musician Barry Calthorpe, who taught her to play. This led to writing such songs as The Church by the Side of the Bed, Mother’s Still On The Home Place and Heaven Said Goodbye, which was recorded by Bill White and White Pines. Lionel Grimard was born and raised in South Frontenac where he was a member of a number of country bands as well as a guitar teacher. During his later years, he has arranged and hosted numerous open mics and jamborees. He now lives in Harlowe. Bob Goodberry was elected posthumously. Born and raised in Verona, he came from a musical family and was the consummate country troubadour. In his later years, he was a resident of Northbrook. After his death, his songbook was discovered. In it, there were no lyrics or chords, merely the names of thousands of songs.

He never used music sheets but remembered all the words. He is affectionately known as “the man of a thousand songs.” His induction was accepted by his wife Norma and son Rob. Bill White was born and raised in Plevna and has received numerous awards including five Canadian Music Association awards for bluegrass, male vocalist of the year, Canadian bluegrass group of the year (Echo Mountain) and bluegrass gospel group of the year (Bill White and White Pines). He started his career with the Neil Perry Orchestra and spent many years as a member of Buddy Clarke and Grass Creek. Neville Wells grew up in Ompah, moved to Ottawa and now lives in Perth. He is known for being the producer of the Ompah Stomp, being founder/editor of the Capitol City Music News (now the Ottawa Valley Country Music News) as well as being inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. His band credits include The Children (which also featured Bruce Cockburn, David Whiffen and Peter (Sneezy Waters) Hodgson) and Neville Wells & Sweetwater. Of late, he has been appearing at more and more events and shows no signs of slowing down.

Country Music Hall of Fame – Frontenac News

(l-r) Karen Anderson (FJ Registration Coordinator), Margaret Palimaka (Administrator of Pine Meadow), Bob Taylor ( FJ President), Betty McKittrick (Treasurer), Rosie Shiner (Vice-President) This week, the Land O’Lakes Traditional Country Music Hall of Fame announced who the inductees for 2017 are going to be. The second annual awards will handed out this summer as part…
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Hall of Fame Inductees Celebrated in Flinton – Frontenac News

Charlie Pringle, George York and Mary Cassidy

Land O'Lakes Music Hall of Fame inductees Charlie Pringle and George York, Floyd LLoyd's daughter Mary Cassidy at the Flinton Jamboree

At first glance it looked like most of the music fans attending the Flinton Jamboree were taking the opportunity to spend time in their trailers during the induction ceremony and performances for the first annual Land O'Lakes Traditional Music Hall of Fame, but looks can be deceiving, especially on a hot summer's afternoon.

While the chairs in the hot sunshine were almost empty, save for the one Dave Deacon was sitting in as he recorded the event for posterity in still and video format, out by the fences the seats under the large canopies were all full and there were a number of people standing as well.

On stage, Hall of Fame Chair Bob Taylor introduced his co-conspirator, the musician and band leader Bill White, who conducted the ceremony.

The first award was the lifetime achievement award, which was shared by two winners. Charlie Pringle, 89, performed first, playing “Worn Out” and the “Love Bug” before being presented with his award by Warren Anderson.

Harold Perry, 87, received the other lifetime achievement award for his playing and mentoring over the years. His award was presented by Roger Hermer.

The First Hall of Fame inductee was Reg Weber, who played “Duelling Guitars” with Murray White and then received the award from Murray Northey, who recalled how much Weber has done as a musician and a music store owner to encourage players young and old in the Northbrook area.

George York, from Marlbank, was up next. He played “Turkey in the Straw”, and was celebrated for all the music he has performed and brought to the local community as a promoter, and for his fundraising efforts over the years. His award was presented by Cathy Whalen.

Three children of the late Floyd Lloyd, including his daughter Sandra Lloyd Dunham, were in attendance to receive his award from Oddie Snider. “Robin and Nell”, Lloyd's signature song, was performed in his honour.

The final award went to Cathy Whalen, who had been on stage throughout the other awards, playing drums, guitar and providing vocals in the songs for the other inductees.

Mary Cassidy sang “Yellow Roses” in Cathy's honour.

In addition to the Hall of Fame plaques, each of the recipients received certificates from the Province of Ontario, presented by former MPP Daryl Kramp, who was standing in for MPP Randy Hillier, and the Government of Canada as represented by Hastings, Lennox and Addington MP Mike Bossio.

A special award from the City of Tweed was also presented to George York in recognition of his support for events in that community.

All in all, organizers were pleased with the turnout and the audience was able to hear some excellent music.

Reposted from the Frontenac News, August 3, 2016, written by Jeff Green

Land O’ Lakes Traditional Hall of Fame – Frontenac News

Bob Taylor and Murry Northey of Northbrook got talking this past winter about the number of great musicians in the Land O'Lakes who are retiring from performing or have died in recent years. They thought it was time to mark the local heritage through the creation of a virtual hall of fame. After a number…
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