Earl Mitton was born in Moncton , New Brunswick in 1926 and at the age of 6 months moved to Stewiake , Nova Scotia and later lived in Amherst , Nova Scotia . He enlisted in the Canadian Army at Fredericton , NB in 1944 and served until 1946. His first fiddle was a gift from his father.
He moved to Fredericton in 1947 and there formed the band called the Valley Rhythm Boys in 1950. Jack Fenety of CFNB gave the group its name when he was doing the announcing chores on the broadcast. Earl along with the Valley Rhythm Boys did a live radio show from Radio Station CFNB for 10 years. He recorded three albums for Quality Records, on of which is entitled “Down East Fiddling”.
Earl competed in the North American Fiddling Contest at Shelburne , Ontario and finished in the top three in 1957-1958. Earl and his group had a weekly TV series on CHSJ-TV in Saint John for a period of three years.
Earl was a close personal friend of the late Don Messer and appeared many times on his coast-to-coast television show. One of his biggest thrills was his first meeting with Don Messer in 1943. “Earl Mitton's Breakdown” was featured on one of Don Messer's recordings.
As well as being an accomplished musician, Earl is a composer. Among his compositions are the “New Brunswick Hornpipe”, “Blue Violet Breakdown”, “The Carleton County Hornpipe” and “Earl Mitton's Breakdown”.
Along with the fiddle, Earl also plays drums and guitar. He played clarinet and saxophone in the Fredericton City Concert & Marching Band. He made several appearances with the RCR Band as guest violinist – one of which at The Silver Broom in 1980. He received a letter of appreciation from Lieutenant Governor Stanley for his appearance with this band at the Fredericton Playhouse.
Earl and his wife Phyllis still make their home in Fredericton . They have two sons, Richard and Brian and a grandson Andrew.
(Earl has passed away since the writing of this bio)
George W. "Bud" Brown
George W. "Bud" Brown was born in Fredericton in 1926. He was educated in the city schools and in 1945, while attending the University of New Brunswick, joined radio station CFNB as a part-time announcer. In March of 1949, after a two-year period in the Royal Bank, he came back to CFNB as a full-time announcer where his popular WESTERN SWING program was number one with country music fans.
In 1953, along with his duties as Retail Sales Manager, he MC'd and produced the first CAPITAL CO-OP SATURDAY NIGHT JAMBOREE in Teacher's College auditorium. For the next nine years this program was to remain the number one live country music radio stage show in Atlantic Canada and Bud Brown scripted, selected all the artists, announced, and produced every one of the shows!
Many well-known artists and groups received valuable stage and radio exposure on the Jamborees including Earl Mitton and the Valley Rhythm Boys, Gordie Cole and the Millers, The Sunshine Boys and the Casa Loma Rhythmaires from the Minto Area, the late Freddie McKenna (who was the show's very first talent show winner), The Diamond Trio, Allan Sherwood, Aubrey Hanson and Karl Lofstrom , all from Fredericton, George Hector from Gagetown and the Phillips Brothers and Lorraine from Cumberland Bay, just to mention a few. In the fall of 1957, Bud took the Jamboree ON THE ROAD and during the next five years over 4,000 artists in over 65 localities in the Maritimes were given their chance to perform when the Co-Op Jamboree came to town!
In 1962, Bud moved to Montreal where during the next few years he produced thirteen mammoth country music shows in the Montreal Forum featuring starts of the Grand Ole Opry. In the fall of 1967 he moved to Nashville , Tennessee as personal manager of Bill Anderson , recording artists and Opry Star.
In later years, Bud followed a very successful career in the Tennessee insurance industry. He retired in 1984 and is now living with his wife, the former Marie Fletcher of Barker's Point, in Old Hickory, which is a suburb of Nashville.
Celime "Cy" Richard
Celime "Cy" Richard – fiddler and band leader – was born in Rogersville , New Brunswick on March 14, 1913 . He was one of a family of thirteen children. Cy became interested in music at a very early age and started playing the fiddle at the age of 10. He formed his first band when he was still a teenager.
Cy is probably best remembered for his band “The lone Star Playboys” which was active in the 1940's. Members of the group were Armand “Curley” Richard on accordion, Pat Doiron – lead guitar, Aurele Richard – flat top guitar and vocals. Also a regular member of this group was Fritzie Myers – accordion, fiddle and guitar. Other New Brunswick musicians appeared with the group on occasion.
The Lone Star Playboys were heard over CFNB Fredericton for many years. They were featured on “WAKE UP NEW BRUNSWICK” which was heard at 6:30A.M. live . The opening lines of the show were, “Open the Door, Richard”.
Cy and his band became very well known to the CFNB listening audience as they toured the countryside playing two hour shows followed by dancing. Many nights they did not get any sleep at all before their morning radio show. They traveled in a 4-sleeper wooden trailer emblazoned with the band name. Cy recorded a 78 in New York entitled “B Flat Polka”.
Cy was killed in an accident on October 16, 1963 . He and his wife Clara had five daughters and two sons.
The Phillips Brothers
The Phillips Brothers, Erdie and Ray, were born in 1934 and 1937 respectively. They were part of a family of nine children raised on a small farm in Cumberland Bay , NB.
Like many other musicians, they began their musical careers in their teens by playing at local school and church functions. Their style of music was inspired by listening to many of the early brother duets, such as the Blue Sky Boys, The Bailey and the Louvin Brothers.
In 1950, having won a talent contest over CFBC Saint John, the Brothers had their own radio program three days a week. Personal appearances in many communities throughout the southern part of the province added to their popularity. During this time Freddy McKenna joined the Brothers as a fiddle player. Other radio programs from CKCW in Moncton found them performing with artists like the Bailey Brothers, The Bunkhouse Boys and Johnny Cash. They were regular artists on the Capital Co-Op Jamboree from CFNB in Fredericton.
During these years, their youngest sister Lorraine joined the band on vocals providing a tight 3-part harmony. Erdie played rhythm guitar and Ray the mandolin. Various members of the band included Jimmy Chapman on fiddle and Frank Reginald on electric guitar.
In 1955 the Brothers became dedicated Christians and began singing gospel songs while maintaining their original style and sound. In 1957 they were awarded their first recording contract with Rodeo Records; the album was entitled “Church in the Wildwood” and featured Ray, Erdie and Lorraine. Two years later they produced “We're Amazed”.
Following these accomplishments, the Brothers no longer performed on a full-time basis but pursued the building construction trade like their father. Both married and raised families. Their love for music kept them active in various church and gospel music events.
In the 1970's the increased popularity of Bluegrass music in the Maritimes inspired the Brother to perform more frequently. They attended festivals in NB, NS and Ontario . In 1977, they released another album entitled “Song of Faith and Heritage”.
Erdie and Ray still live and work in Cumberland Bay. Musically, Erdie continues to perform gospel music with his own family. They have released one record entitled “Love At Home”. .