Album Release Concert Event Folk Music Recording Launch Upcoming

Chicks and Docklings at Portland United Church


13CoolChicksJustHatchCDcoverExuberant…that describes their CD Just Hatched…but not humour inspired exuberance as anyone who has seen The Cool Chicks & Ugly Doclings perform would expect. This disc is a recording, vocally and instrumentally, exuberant in its sheer beauty.

Their new…and first…CD Just Hatched, is being launched this Saturday, 7 p.m., at Portland United Church, 50 Newport Crescent, just off Adelaide Street in Saint John’s North End. Known for their humour and nonsense rearrangements and re-writing of old favourites, the only thing nonsensical about this, their first recording, is it’s packaging.

The eye-stopping cover is a Disney-esque cartoon: a duck doc with a finger pointing to the album title, Just Hatched and a cool 1930’s Chick in a ball gown and fur boa neck piece, a finger pointing to the unique act’s official monicker, The Cool Chicks & The Ugly Doclings. The most novel idea for a record cover ever to be hatched in any incubator. But it’s such a far cry from the songs of deep emotion and inspiration encrypted on its tracks.

“What a terrific recording of Hallelujah!,” my wife Carol exclaimed on first hearing the CD: she’d heard its composer, Leonard Cohen, sing this powerful song of his at Harbour Station, a month earlier. “It’s the first time I’ve been able to make out all the words.”

She was referring to Brenda Brooks phrasing in such lines as : “I heard there was a secret chord, that David played that pleased the Lord.”

If you’re one of the unfortunate few that have not seen or heard the Cool Chicks & The Ugly Doclings in concert, then, for your edification, they are seven local health care professions and one teacher, who have been doing charity performances in southern New Brunswick for over ten years, raising money for not-for-profit organizations.

The album opens with Andrew Clark, an anaesthetist, singing lead on Cannibals, written by Mark Knopfler. Then Blue Bayou, that Roy Orbison wrote the lyrics for, is given one of the most beautiful treatments, that I have heard, by respiratory therapist, Jennifer Rooney. Next a song, Drinking Black Rum (and eating Blueberry Pie) sung by retired orthopaedic surgeon, John Acker but made famous on CBC-TV’s Singalong Jubilee by it’s writer James Lawrence (or just plain Jim) Bennet. And Andrew Clark, an anaesthetist and guitarist, vocally interprets his own Servant To The Music (the only original song on the disc). Then Wendy Stewart, a pediatric neurologist and singing accordionist from Scotland renders I Only Want To Be With You, by Mike Hawker and Ivor Raymonde. And nurse Brenda Brooks does a grand recital of Gordon Sumner’s Fields Of Gold.

That’s a half dozen enchanting songs and there’s another seven just as beguilingly sung and played on the CD: family physician, Steve Willis along with the ensemble do a rousing interpretation of Those Were The Days (My Friend, We Thought They’d Never End) a song written by Gene Raskin and made famous by England’s Maryanne Faithful and in North America by the Limelighters (Stephen plays guitar and mandolin, too). And Jerry Jeff Walker’s ever popular Mr. Bojangles gets a rousing revival, by respiratory therapist Mike Willis, who plays bass, guitar, bodhran and sings. Next the only instrumental track, an Irish Jig Set, is performed by the eight musicians. And, Joni Mitchell’s River, is stunningly sung by Maggie Bockus ( Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on); Bob Dylan’s Wagon Wheel (that Jay Secor wrote the music for) is intriguingly performed by Mike Willis, (Rock Me Mama, like a wagon wheels.) Then Brenda Brooks wonderful interpretation of Hallelujah and the final track 13, with a slight re-writing (here and there) of the Sherman’s You’re Sixteen (And You’re lovely, you come on like a dream, all peaches and cream) with the new closing lines “We’re the Chicks (voiced by the four Chicks) and The Doclings ( voiced by the Doclings), and we’re here. If you’re digging the songs just sing along. We’re not famous, we’re not rich. It’s the end of the show and we’ve got to go.”

This wonderful CD, you’ll play over and over again, Just Hatched, is available Saturday at it’s Portland United Church launch or you can phone the office of Dr. Wendy Stewart, 848-4622 for a copy.

Album Release Column Archives Concert Event Folk Music

Gordon Bok’s New Release

Other Eyes Released by Timberhead Music

The hook-up of our local folk music community with that of central Maine began with a wild drive from Saint John to Wolfville, N.S. one cool, clear October night in the late 1970’s.

The tale of that trip is still told now and then at the twice yearly gatherings of performers from those areas 32 years later. That trip became an all night odyssey. I was the driver.

Our Saint John folk Club had its first sing-around in September 1975. Its founder, the late John Murphy, whose death last September is still painfully lamented, Bob Wallace, our then club president and Moncton folk authority and performer Bernie Houlahan were among those who went with me.

Gordon Bok was appearing in Wolfville at Acadia University that night. We hoped to hire Gordon to perform a Saint John concert for our club. And despite a late start and holdups we got there for the concert’s entirety, talk to him afterwards and he put us on his spring tour schedule.

 That event at the New Brunswick Museum began a cross border coalition. Since then Gordon has returned many times for the gatherings, to perform a Bi-Capital fundraising concert (Bi-Imperial by its end) and take part in Jim Stewart’s Marco Polo Suite in 2002 at the Imperial.


Gordon Bok "Peter Kagan And The Wind"
Gordon Bok “Peter Kagan And The Wind”

I first encountered the name Gordon Bok on a Verve Folkway LP in the 1960’s. That CD became a much played favourite at our house, especially the song Fundy (our Fundy Bay) about those who navigate its thick fogs and treacherous tides. Then in 1972 I discovered Connecticut’s Folk Legacy label just after they’d released their first Gordon Bok record, Seal Djiril’s Hymn ‘sang and told with Ann Mayo Muir,’ another extraordinary talent.

In the next three decades, Gordon would gain international fame as a star on Folk-Legacy, accounting for a major part of the label’s revenues. He released numerous LP’s as a solo artist and as the pivot of a beloved trio he formed with Ann Mayo Muir and Ed Trickett as well as with other collaborations.

Some years ago, however, with the label’s founder Sandy Patton’s health failing, his wife Caroline suffering vision loss and their partner Lee Haggerty dying, Gordon acquired his masters back. So they are now all available, more impressive sounding than ever on pristine re-mastered Timberhead label CD discs.

A small Camden, Maine publishing company, Timberhead Music is centered around the preservation, promotion and proliferation of Gordon Bok’s written and recorded music. But they do publish work by other lyric poets and musicians as well, Jim Stewart’s Marco Polo Suite included in those. Gordon, himself, as he says “now unbelievably 70′ continues to record, his voice still virtually as rich a bass baritone as when I first heard him and he has the same uniquely sensitive interpretative instrumental skills that combined have made him the definitive voice of the US east coast. In April of this year Gordon released a new album of 15 very focused songs Other Eyes, in some cases poems like The Beaches of Lukannon, by Rudyard Kipling (an intimate of Gordon’s grandfather, Edward Bok) set to music. All are songs that view man with conceivable believability through non-human eyes. The eyes of animals like Bold Reynolds, a fox who outruns hunters and hounds into old age, the eyes of feathered observers as in The Bird Rock,Heron Croon, Gulls of Morning, and those whodwell in waters both deep and shallow:The Seals and even the fishes from The Net.


With Jim Stewart of Saint John NB of Marco Polo Suite Fame
With Jim Stewart of Saint John NB of Marco Polo Suite Fame

A long time mutual acquaintance, Scott Alarik, a performer and folk music reviewer for The Boston Globe wrote of this CD that: ‘Gordon Bok has a special genius for showing us the world through other eyes. In this beautifully conceived album he explores how the natural world sees us…offering visions at once earthly and ethereal, stunningly fresh and as old as tradition. Among the finest folk ballad singers this country has produced, Bok’s glorious bass voice has softened and warmed with age, like a fine old cello, drawing us closer into the spells he casts.’

Other selections on this CD include Captive Water, Sarabande’s Story, The Maiden Hind, Spell To bring Lost Creatures Home, Ocean Station Bravo, The Brandy Tree, The Shepherd’s Call and Sherry’s Song.

His most recent release before Other Eyes was a terrific, Gordon Bok In Concert, his only live album except for the trio’s, Minneapolis Concert in 1987. This solo CD will open your eyes, however, through your ears to Gordon’s warmer, more humorous side. Also to the deep connection he shares with his audiences. I was amazed a few years ago by the reaction of a couple of friends we took to a Bok Muir Trickett concert at Payne Hall on the Harvard University campus. Not even aware of traditional balladry as it turned out, they were incredulous at such a large capacity audience singing along unhesitatingly with the trio on songs they had never heard of let alone heard. Not commercial radio or even CBC fare now!

The introduction to the comedic Irish ballad Queer Bungo Rye for instance, a salute to Nova Scotia’s Canso Strait, The Angellus, the nostalgic Where The Cane Fires Burn, and an inspired rendering of Let The Lower Lights Be Burninjg, the rare Oystershell Road and boisterous Scottish Hie Awa with it’s introduction make this a music experience you’ll want to relive often, all 16 songs interspersed with humour and stories.

There is also the Bok Trio’s 1994 Language Of The Heart CD,its incredibly beautiful title song written by Rothesay’s Jim Stewart and Moncton’s Bernie Houlahan. Jim’s Marco Polo song is included as well and such beauties as Blue Mountain, Stephen Foster, Merlin’s Waltz and Ballinderry. The 15 tracks on it are all so beautiful.


Bok Trio Minneapolis Concert
Bok Trio Minneapolis Concert

And 15 also on Harbours Of Home by Gordon, Ed and Ann, including such exquisite jems as Australian Henry Lawson’s The Outside Track, Scotsman Dave Goulder’s Pigs Can See The Wind, TheGreat Valley’s Harvest, a lyrical treasure Jim Stewart and Gordon joined talents to write We Built This Old Ship, John Austin Martin’s entrancing Dancing At Whitsum, J.B. Goodenough’s Turning Of The Year and the title song by another favoured singer songwriter Joan Sprung.

Also in the Timberhead catalogue is the trio’s Turning Toward The Morning which includes two masterpieces of Gordon’s own, Isle Au Haut Lullaby and the title song plus such stirring emotional gems as Three Score And Ten, I Drew My Ship, Gentle Annie,How Can I Keep From Singing and six others.

These and many more of this world’s most thrilling folk CDs are available for only $16 US…some cassettes for only $5…by visiting


St. Andrews area singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Adam Olmstead made quite a stir in the media three years ago with his first CD, A. G. Olmstead. Media icons heard in that album of original songs glimmers of the songwriting talents of the Mississippi blue yodeller Jimmie Rodgers and the late 40’s Hank Williams. Local CBCs and even Saturday Mornings’ Stan Carew interviewed and sang his praises.

But, although Adam has slipped out of sight of the media since then he has continued to perform regularly at the Red Herring Pub in St. Andrews. In fact, he is playing there tonight 6 to 9 p.m. And through the summer he’ll be playing there weekly at that time slot, singing old favourites, songs he’s written accompanying himself on any of the ten instruments he plays, often joined by Al Brisley, a gifted local musician. He also has a new CD recorded, ready to be mastered for release in late summer.

This Saturday night at 7 p.m. Adam will also be the featured entertainer at Sussex’s popular Broadway Cafe, performing old timey favourites, bluegrass and classic country, along with many of his own songs.


Gary Burgess’ many fans will be saddened to learn he has been diagnosed with cancer and is to begin treatments. Gary has hosted many fundraisers for others in the years he has headed Sussex Corner Jamborees. Now the Friends of Gary Burgess are hosting one for him on June 27 at the Canadian Legion Branch #20, Sussex on June 27. It will feature Art Boyd, Tom Burgess, Mike McQuarrie, Raymond Thebeau and guests. Mike Whalen will emcee. Dave Stewart and Jim McDermott are handling sound. Admission is a donation at the door.

Concert Country and Western Event Festival Folk Music Uncategorized Visitors

Eve Goldberg and Cori Brewster

SAINT JOHN MENS CHOIR June13th, 7:30pm at Portland United Church, 50 Newport.  Tickets are $15.00 for adults and $10.00 for children/students and can be purchased from chorus members or at the door.

It sounds like  such an interesting and varied song list to be grouped together in one program. Especially interesting (to me) is She Dwelt Among The Untrodden Ways which  I can’t recall ever having heard of or heard and sounds so intriguing.


Gary Morris is back filled more with the spirit of the Celt     than ever!

He, with wife and music partner Tammy Morris, survived   a five week tour of Europe and the UK, the last days spent in Ireland. Now that land of the shamrock, hedgerows, ancient standing stones and music so impressed him evidently, that even before leaving its green shores he had booked this province’s most exciting Irish ancestry fiddling teen,15 year old Kathleen Gorey-McSorley to appear on his Valley Jamboree, this Saturday,7 p.m. at Sussex Regional High.

But since that jet-setting pair of singing multi-talented musicians didn’t touch back down on Canada’s terra firma until last Wednesday Gary’s guest list was far from complete by my deadline. So, as well as Kathleen, the only other acts confirmed were: the Bonny Kilburn Dancers, Port City Jamboree multi-instrumentalist Reg Gallant, and everybody’s favourite country fiddler Allison Inch whom Gary invariably introduces as ‘the nicest man on earth.”

Gary, however, is on record as saying there will be several more guests and all the show’s regulars will appear: Tammy, Jeannie Clark and Cheryl Ellis, who are three of NB”s finest vocalists; comedian Eunice P. Doolittle; singing bassist Dale Butland; lead guitarist Art Boyd and the rest of the great Valley Jamboree band.

Now Kathleen is a celebrated master of Celtic, Appalachian, Old Time, Country, Cajun and French Canadian fiddling styles. But she also plays piano, mandolin and tin-whistles, is an award-winning Irish dancer and acclaimed Cape Breton step dancer. And, now, as a member of the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, she also has a growing classical violin repertoire.

And, although only 15, she already has had considerable international exposure of her talents, having performed in Ireland, Scotland, the US and many parts of Canada. A couple of the highlights of her travels have been: competing, by invitation, in the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann at County Offlaly, Ireland and the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championships in Ottawa.

Tickets for Saturday’s Jamboree are now for sale at Hampton Pharmasave; Kennebecasis Drugs (Rothesay) Grand Bay Pharmacy, Colpitts (Petticodiac) and Morris Music (Sussex, Rothesay and Saint John).


Gary Burgess & Friends host a Sussex Corner Country Jamboree Fund raiser, this Saturday 7 p.m. at St. John’s United Church Hall., Sussex Corner. This is their last show until fall so don’t miss it!Featured entertainers include Debbie Connell, Justin Bannister, Gordon Brown, Paul and Francine Hebert and in his first stage appearance in a while, George Horton. The band includes: Denny James, Tom Burgess, Mike McQuarrie and Raymond Thebeau. Tickets are $7.50 at Backstage Music Sussex (433-2122) or at door. Most shows are sell-outs so get your tickets early. The sound is by Dave Stewart and Jim McDermott of Backstage.


A Country Music Jamboree, Saturday 7 p.m. at the Kiwanis Center, Hillborough, hosted by Carolyn Steeves, features the Blue Side of Lonesome band with guests Mort Mills, Al Gauvin, Cecil Beck, Melissa Corey and Mike Kenny. Admission is $6 at door. For info phone 756-8303.


Your last chance, perhaps ever in NB, to see and hear one of Nashville’s great legends Ray Price and his superb world renowned voice, his son Cliff and band The Cherokee Cowboys, is tonight at 7 p.m. at the Playhouse, Fredericton. Tickets will be available at door if any left. To check, call 458-8344 or 1-866-884-5800.


One of the greatest singer songwriters, I think, in North America is appearing at Vintage Bistro, Hampton tonight at 8 p.m. Eve Goldberg for over a decade has been associated with Canada’s leading

folk music label Borealis Records in Toronto. It is an opinion I was recently pleased to learn is shared by a world renowned authority, legendary singer songwriter Peggy Seeger who said recently “I love Eve’s singing…and I’m hard to please.”

(Peggy, a US citizen and her husband Ian MacColl a Scot lived for many years prior to his death in the UK unwelcome in the US because of their perceived Communistic leanings, anti-Vietnam war activities and music which reflected the same. They released dozens of recordings, many heralded even in the USA as of outstanding historical significance. Among songs they wrote is The Ballad of Springhill about Nova Scotia’s disastrous 1958 mine disaster. I had the pleasure of talking with Peggy in Springhill at the 50th Anniversary of that tragedy two years ago. I had spoken briefly with her before at Harvard University on the eve of Ronald Reagan’s first presidential election).

Eve Goldberg will share the Vintage Bistro stage tonight with Cori Brewster, another Canadian singer songwriter described ‘as fresh as a breath of mountain air.’ She has just released her fourth CD album Buffalo Street, a collection of song stories about the Canadian Rockies and it’s people, historical portraits rich in atmospheric imagery and entertaining details.

Eve was born in the Boston area of Massachusetts but has called Toronto, Ontario, home for three decades, since 1981. During those early years in Boston she was greatly influenced by countless concerts she attended by such legends as Pete Seeger and The Weavers, Arlo Guthrie, England’s Watersons, Doc Watson and others with her parents. That exposure to many folk genres has influenced her own many sided songwriting and added to her performing repertoire.

Eve’s three CD albums have a place of high regard in our extensive music library. Her first titled Ever Brightening Day was released to widespread acclaim in 1998 on her own Sweet Patootie label. Although noted for her clear pure voice and dynamic guitar picking it was an original instrumental on it, Watermelon Sorbet, that brought her the most fame. It was used by CBC Radio’s Richardson’s Roundup as an opening theme for many years,. Among other standouts on the disc were Backwater Blues (by Bessie Smith), Waiting For A Train (Eve’s not Jimmie Rodgers’), John McHutcheon’s Know When To Move and Shelley Posen’s Having A Drink With Jane.

Her second CD album Crossing The Water was a highlight of 2003 on the Borealis label. It included not only the most beautiful rendering of the Bill Staines title song I’ve heard, but the most stirring recording of Second World War women’s protest song Rosie The Riveter I’ve heard as well. And her version of Iris De Ment’s Mama’s Opry was among our most played tracks that year.

Her third release, second on Borealis, in 2007, A Kinder Season was tempered by her mother’s death just months before. All 12 songs are originals written by Eve. They include Leaving Nova Scotia, One In A Million and Been In The Storm.

A little bit of a tie-in: early in her Toronto residency Eve was a member of the Acoustic Harvest Folk Club whose numbers included former Saint John Folk Club performer Lillian Wauthier. Lillian still posts the monthly events on the Harvest website.

By the way, Ron Hynes is at Vintage Bistro, June 23 and Garnett Rogers is there June 25-26. Call 832-1212 for details. The Bistro now seats 100 in dining comfort.


A terrific Country Gospel Concert this Sunday, 7 p.m. at the Red Head United Church, Red Head Road, Saint John East features Hazel Marie Robertson, Allison Inch, Living Water Trio, Garth Jones, Shirley McFee, Greg Stevens, The Villageaires, Deek McClusky, Elizabeth Trecartin, Ed ( The Glue) Trecartin and Murray Shiels. Tickets are $10 at Lotte Convenience, Mike’s Jewelery, and from Vince Galbraith 672-8819.


A Hampton Senior Resource Center Benefit Concert featuring Reg Gallant’s Port City Jamboree cast, takes place Sunday 2 to 4 p.m at the Center, Demille Court, Hampton. The cast includes the Port Jamboree band of: Reg, lead guitar and vocals; Walter Prosser, bass guitar; Tim Wallace,drums; C.J. Gallant, guitar and vocals; Allison Inch, fiddle. As well as backing two of NB’s greatest gospel singers, Hazel Marie Robertson and Norma Currie, they will each make solo spotlights. And many door prizes donated by sponsors of this show, will be given away. Tickets are $10 at Kennebecasis Drugs (Rothesay), Grand Bay Pharmacy, Beats & Bytes (Saint John East), Hampton Pharmasave, Len Tonge 832-5009 or Backstage Music, Sussex.


Saint John’s only strictly country music club, the Grove Lounge on Golden Grove Road opens their deck this Saturday, 1 p.m. There will be music by Joyce Boone, Delbert Worden, Matthew O’Connor, and proprietor Gene O’Connor. There’ll be two barbeques, open mikes, many prizes. Everyone invited, no cover charge.

Column Archives Concert Event Music

Ray Price in New Brunswick June 2010

Ray Price Recalls His Days with Hank Williams and Elvis

I recently had the pleasure of a half hour talk with legendary country star Ray Price, a very real pleasure as it turned out!

Sean Eyre of Rocklands Entertainment, Ray’s tour management, had told me the 84 year old country music giant for 60 of his years had ‘just stepped out of the shower’ when he patched me through.

So we were a few minutes into the interview when I realized, hearing voices behind him, he wasn’t at home.

“You’re on a bus!” I exclaimed, “not in Texas?”

“And Dorothy’s not in Kansas either,” I almost added but caught myself: it was my first conversation with Ray Price after all. Had I known he had such a warm ready sense of humour I would have added it, however.”

“No,” he replied laughing, “we’re just a couple of hours out of Nashville. The Cherokee Cowboys and I are due at Warner Brothers by noon to film our part in a TV super special.”

Imagine Ray Price at 84, doing media interviews from his bus, facing days of filming and recording in Nashville with a cross-Canada tour looming just weeks away! A tour, in fact, that starts here at Saint John’s Imperial Theatre next Tuesday, 7 p.m.! That June 8 concert will be his first in the Maritimes in 45 years! And, as a special treat, his son Cliff is his opening act! So if you haven’t got tickets yet, get them quick. There’s not many left. Visit the Imperial box office, phone 674-4100, 1-800-323-7469 or go to web-site

Ray’s at the Playhouse in Fredericton Thursday, June 10, also, but I understand that concert is nearly sold out. To check call 458-8344 or 1-866-884-5800 or visit the Playhouse box office.

Born Ray Noble Price on a farm near Perryville. Texas in 1926, Ray moved to Dallas with his mother when her parents divorced but spent time back on the farm with his dad, during school holidays. After a stint as a US Marine in World War 11, he enrolled in North Texas Agriculture College intending to become a veterinarian. But writing songs and performing at college events led to a steady gig at Roy’s House Cafe near the campus, and other venues.

He made his debut as a radio entertainer in 1948 over KRBC in Abilene, then moved back to Dallas and the Big D Jamboree, a radio show with network connections. A single he released on the Nashville based Bullet label caused ripples in late 1949. His smooth rich voice with it’s deep emotional undertones so impressed Peer-Southern executive Troy Martin that he arranged a contract for Ray with Columbia Records in 1951.

Hank Williams Sr. became interested in him about that time as well. I knew of a ‘leg up’ Hank had given Ray during his early years in Nashville.

“I don’t know how that came about. He just sort of took me under his wing,” Ray said. “Not only did he take me along on the road but he gave me name billing on the shows, even wrote a song with me Weary Blues he gave me to record.”

That song sold well enough for Ray to be invited to join the Grand Ole Opry cast in 1952.

“For a time Hank and I even shared a house, a two story stone duplex, me up, him down. And he even let me use his Drifting Cowboys as my band. His death that New Year’s Eve in 1953 came as an even greater shock to me than to most because of that closeness. He was always telling people I was going to be No.1. I used the Drifting Cowboys as my band after Hank died, hoping to keep his memory alive I guess, not wanting to admit that he was gone. And even after I formed my own band, the Cherokee Cowboys, I kept his steel guitarist Don Helms and fiddler Jerry Rivers with me. We became like brothers. We built houses next to each other and lived in them for 14 years.”

Arguably the world’s greatest country singer, Ray with his magnificent show-stopping voice became a leader himself as the 1950’s progressed and on his way to the top took country music from it’s honky-tonk period through some revolutionary changes.

I reminded him that in 1956 when rock ‘n’ roll threatened to erase country from the charts it was his rendition of Crazy Arms that knocked Elvis Presley off those charts. That song stayed on top for 45 weeks. And it has been credited as the song that got people listening to country again.

“Yes, and that is strange in itself because, as Hank Williams was the one who did it for me, I’d given Elvis his first leg up in turn,” he said.

That was startling news. I hadn’t heard that story before.

“Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi early in 1935,” Ray said “but his family moved to Memphis when he was 13. His parents were very religious: he’d sang with them at revival meetings, gospel concerts and churches.

“In Memphis he started hanging around Oscar Davis’ place where I was appearing Friday nights. I heard him singing along in the audience one night and got him up on stage. It became a regular weekly thing. And it was his first experience singing for a country audience but people loved him. With us he quickly got over any nervousness he’d felt on stage. Soon he was sharing Eddy Arnold’s manager Colonel Tom Parker, appearing on the Louisiana Hayride, touring with Hank Snow and Johnny Cash and releasing hit after hit on the prestigious RCA label.

Like Hank Williams, Ray has always had an ear for new talent. He and his Cherokee Cowboys have nourished incredible talents like Roger Miller, Willie Nelson and Johnny Paycheck among their numbers. Ray himself has immeasurably grown country music’s audience with his ever evolving tempo innovations and image. He realized early that it would have to appeal to a wider population segment to survive commercially.

Accordingly he began to take country to a non-country audience seeking to erase boundaries as Hank Williams had done. He ditched any pretension of a cowboy image, began appearing on stage in dress suits as though every gig were a Carnegie concert. And the subterfuge worked for his ballads while attracting a wider audience still breathed of the Texas soil.

“Even today,” Brian Edwards, Rocklands’ CEO says, “he comes out on stage impeccably dressed, waits for the band’s intro, then opens his mouth and out comes the same magnificent voice he had in his thirties. At 84 he is absolutely incredible.”

That’s the voice you’ll hear Tuesday if you’re lucky enough to get tickets. The rich, unmistakable voice that drove an amazing 108 singles to the top of country and pop charts.

Concert Event Music

Brent Mason’s Dylan Birthday Bash!

saw Folk ies  young and old at the Blue Olive Friday night, May21, 2010

Lots of musicians from Miker Bigger to  Jessica Rhaye .  With wonderful folk era sets by Bill Preeper/Sandy MacKay , Heckman and Downes  and Denis Legere and his  playing partner….if someone caught his name. let me know.   the evening  finishing with the rock era Dylan hits by the Brent Mason Band.Sandy MacKay of artslink NB and Bill Preeper of CBC Saint John.

Gerry’s new job!!! Waiting on people at the Blue Olive!!! Great night.

Below Rob Ward, potter and Frank Hand retired wonder-kind and guitar player and singer

handsome men across the table

…now where did our server go?


the last member of our group…enjoying the music,

which was a little loud for my old ears…but terrific just the same.

Enjoying Bill and Sandy!

After supper, with my take home lunch for tomorrow!

Album Release Bluegrass Collector Concert Folk Local History Music

Bernie Houlahan and Eddy Poirier



CD cover
I don’t think it’s tea!

A picture on a CD, from Moncton, ten years ago I would have been sure was trick photography!

It’s a picture of New Brunswick’s veteran king of the bluegrass fiddle, Eddy Poirier, sitting across a circular table from a leading senior folk and Irish music interpreter, Bernie Houlahan, little tea cups raised. Eddy, on the left, a saucer in front of him and Bernie,on the right, an orange and black cat perched. Between them is a teapot….a Brown Betty, no less…objects I would never have associated with either.

Yet, I must admit years ago, whenever I’d meet Eddy at a festival he’s always invite me to: “Come over to my camper and have a cup of tea, We need to talk.”

Funny thing it never was tea. But it was served in mugs. Mugs! Not dainty little china cups!

Here’s another rub, too! They even named this album of six instrumental Irish fiddling tracks… each a medley of two tunes…and six Irish songs The Cup Of Tea- Irish Traditional Music.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise though. Eddy and Bernie have been getting together for years and have played the odd Moncton venue together. And each has always had a great admiration for the other’s musical talents. The surprise should have been that it took so long!

I have listened all night long to Eddy’s fiddle and banjo around campfires at early NB festivals that his Bluegrass 4 staged on the old Shediac Road! And on more nights until near daylight listening to Bernie sing dozens of songs from the inexhaustible repertoire he’s filed in memory during a lifetime dedicated to learning all the beautiful songs and melodies, he’d find, through ceaseless searching.

They’re two of my favourite musicians and people. But, so different in the perception of many who know them. Both driven, however, by the same unquenchable thirst to learn both old or new-to-them music and perform it for audiences in an effort to give such discoveries a deserved new life, the appreciation such treasures deserve!

‘Two veterans of the Maritime music scene,’ this CD’s back notes read, ‘have collaborated on a collection of their favourite Irish music. Although they’ve pursued somewhat different musical paths they’ve always enjoyed getting together to ‘play a few tunes’ around a kitchen table or to appear together in public performance.’

Well, in their words, “ it’s nothing fancy”, but to most of us who have known them since the 1970s this CD is a treasure. A wealth of Irish fiddle tunes…12 on six tracks… with six of the loveliest, and perhaps most enduring, Irish ballads thrown in to sweeten the pot… brew, that is!

The fiddle tunes played by Eddy, Bernie’s guitar backing him, include: Toss The Feathers, Woman of the House, Cup Of Tea (the title theme), Tarbolton Lodge, Home Ruler, Cross The Fence, Jackson’s Morning Brush, Tongs By The Fire, Cooley’s Reel, The Wise Maid, The Peeler’s Jacket and Love At The Endings.

Eddy Poirier has been featured on nearly a hundred albums…lps, cassettes, CDs and, I think, maybe an 8-track or two, over at least four decades. Many of those were as one of the Blue Diamonds during the decade that that quartet of singing musicians were Toronto’s leading country club band. Then he did a few with Smiley Bates, and with his wife Rose and Smiley. Then back home with various alliances of top NB performers called The Bluegrass 4, a number of solo recordings and an unknown number with performers Moncton to Toronto he’s backed at recording sessions in those years.

I first met Bernie Houlahan when he joined our Saint John Folk club in the late 1970’s.. By then he had belonged to several Moncton music groups and during at least one bluegrass flirtation was part of an alliance that brought in such legendary acts as Flatts & Scruggs, Mac Wiseman and others. At that time he was hosting a weekly Moncton radio folk music show that had a long run of nearly 18 years. And Bernie was a part of the Hal ‘n Tow folk trio, from the early 1980s until this past September, with composer, multi-instrumentalist James Stewart and the late, lamented great musican and vocalist John Murphy. For the last twenty he has been a member of the Miramichi’s Comhaltas Irish Chapter, too,

Some of the most treasured evenings of my life have been listening to Bernie and Portland, Maine’s Kendall Morse taking turns dredging up old songs from memory and performing them thrillingly downstairs at a club in Belfast, Maine during folk gatherings yearly .

On The Cup of Tea Bernie sings: The Blarney Roses, Welcome Paddy Home, Lord of the Dance, Bridget Flynn, Galway City and Far Away In Australia.

This great CD was recorded at E.J.P. Studio in Moncton, mi

xed and mastered by Eddy Poirier. For copies, phone Bernie at (506) 389-2042 or Eddy at (506) 384-8655.