though my father was well schooled in the guitar styles of Chet
Atkins and played in country bands throughout my childhood, he insisted
that I take lessons and learn to read music. So, at the early age
of 4 years I was enrolled at Mundinger's Music Store in Richmond
Hill and eventually made my way through 7 books of Mel Bay by the
age of twelve. I bought my first guitar at the age of eight from
Smiley Bates and I still have that 1942 Gibson flat top.
a promising hockey career eluded me, I turned my attention to playing
the guitar and found my first band in the London area with John
P. Allen (Prairie Oyster), Paul Hurdle on banjo and Michael McMaster
on bass (The Good Brothers). After several different versions of
that band, (which was called Rural Retreat), I eventually hooked
up again with John P. Allen and founded a bluegrass band called
Big Redd Ford. We had John Saunders playing banjo in the band and
he may still be one of the most brilliant musicians I've ever played
with. We also had Michael Love on the bass guitar who we had coaxed
to join our band from David Wilcox and his Teddy Bears.
Shortly after the band was up and running, John got an offer from
Ian Tyson that he couldn't refuse and he was replaced by Randy Hill
on mandolin and tenor vocals. It was around then that we hooked
up with a management company who was handling Ricky Skaggs' band
in Canada. Our exposure to them resulted in Ricky's dobro player
Jerry Douglas producing our album in 1978. It was an experience
I will always treasure.
eventually disbanded in the early eighties and I went to work with
the Good Brothers playing the electric guitar. That was a great
time of my life. The Good Brothers are real nice guys and I had
a lot of fun playing with them. To this day I still enjoy their
company and we meet up occasionally on Thursday nights. After The
Good Brothers I hooked up with steel guitarist Al Brisco and played
bass in a lot of different bands including Tommy Hunter's. I then
played seven years straight at the Bayview Plaza Restaurant in Richmond
Hill. During that time period I bought a cottage in Dorset on Raven
Lake and started playing various venues in the area. I still play
up there whenever I get the chance. It gives me an opportunity to
sing a lot of the songs I wrote on my cottage country music CD.
I should mention too my good friend Bob Bonnell. We were soul mates
for many years, wrote and published close to 60 songs and played
together a lot back then.
every Thursday night, a few weekend gigs and full schedule of students
keeps me busy but I always have time for my wife, my dog and my
Big Red Ford the late 70's
from right to left...
John Saunders on banjo, Michael Love on bass, a very young looking
Lou Moore on guitar, Randy Hill on mandolin, John P. Allen on
Willy P. Bennett on harmonica