Tag Archives: Traditional Music

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.”

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