Howard Northey – 2018 Lifetime Achievement Candidate

Howard Northey

Howard was born in the village of Cloyne. He learned to play the harmonica and ukulele at a young age. He played and sang at his School‘s Christmas concerts at Cloyne School. Howard sang in the Anglican church Choir in Flinton for twenty years. He learned how to play the guitar and sing Country and Western songs. At age twelve, Howard purchased a tenor banjo in 1945 having saved a whopping $75! In the late 1940‘s, Howard playing his banjo, brother Lloyd played the guitar, and a close friend, Laurie Perry, playing violin, together began supplying music for the local dance halls. In the early 1950‘s, Howard started playing mandolin and singling bluegrass songs. Howard was attracted to Country and Bluegrass music for the harmonies, and stories the songs told.

The first Bluegrass group in the Land O‘Lakes area was formed by Howard and his brother, Murry, at Howard‘s residence in Northbrook in 1977. Homefolks was chosen for the name of the band. In the same year, the Homefolks performed at the first Bluegrass Festival in Kingston area and each year thereafter until 1985. During those years, they entertained at many local functions including a performance for the inmates at the Collin‘s Bay Penitentiary. Another highlight was performing at the Stirling Theatre opening a show for Ralph Stanley, the Doctor of Bluegrass Music, with his band The Clinch Mountain Boys from Virginia, USA. In 1979, Homefolks held a concert at the North Addington Education Centre with Reg Weber and Country Classics. In 1990, Howard joined Odey Snider, Murry Northey, Ron Clark and other local folks in a group called Odey and the Boys. Locally they were in high demand, and played regularly at several nursing homes, churches, and fall fairs.

Howard has composed Bluegrass and Country songs that he performs regularly at open mic events in this area. The original work reflected Howard‘s love of family and country. Howard continues to play and entertain, with the occasional joke, in the Land O' Lakes area.

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