Patrick "Pat" Boulanger
Patrick 'Pat' Boulanger was born in Ste. Cecile, PQ in 1936 and, inspired by several French Canadian fiddlers in that community, began playing by ear himself when only six.
In 1945, when he was nine, he moved to New Brunswick with his family and began playing in school concerts. But, over 60 years later, although he has admired many NB fiddlers, the distinct regional style of those Quebec fiddlers still influences his playing.
In his early teens, Pat teamed with local Saint John musicians Gordie Miller and Frances Goguen to play dances and parties and while enrolled at Saint John Vocational took part in that school's Stardust Concerts. He also played regularly at dances, concerts and fund-raisers.
In the mid-1950's he became a featured fiddler with George Hector, Ricky Russell, Joe Merrick, and John Virgin playing round and square dances at Moss Glen Legion and other venues. He performed with other bands, as well, until marriage, work and a family limited his playing to an occasional concert or house party.
In the early 1990's, retired, he became part of Rick Gerrior & The Saint John Fiddlers and their alter-egos, Antique Ernie & The Hardwood Ramblers, recording four cassette albums with them and a solo tape of his own entitled Fiddling Pat Boulanger. That solo album was not planned. A friend, recording engineer, Ben Weatherby, asked Pat to play some tunes as a sound check for new studio equipment he'd installed but on playing it back realized 'fiddling just didn't get any better than that' and persuaded Pat to let him release it. “Pat's bowing is so simple and dead on,” Ben said at the album's launch,” that he can carry a tune with very little arm movement. He has such a flawless lyrical feel to his bowing that it is like words.”
A three time winner of the Woodstock Fiddling Contest's 60 & Over class, Pat has recently been playing in a trio with two friends, June and Ernie Blanchard, a keyboardist and a yodeling singer, that has won praise for their scintillating old time repertoire.
Also, Pat entertains at seniors and nursing homes and for the mentally challenged.
Norma Gale Gallant
Norma Gale Gallant was born Norma Marie Gallant in Moncton in 1945. A Gold Record Recording Artist and singer/songwriter, she started her music career at the young age of 12 singing at local jamborees for 50 cents a night. Norma appeared on several occasions with The Bunkhouse Boys and as a full time vocalist with Val Surette and the Nite Hawks & Roger Cormier’s Brunswick Playboys.
After winning a talent contest with her sister Linda, she was a regular vocalist on a local radio station and appeared on TV before she was 18. She performed with Wayne King at the Bluebird Club in Montreal and was a vocalist and bass guitar player with the House Band at the famous Horse Shoe Tavern in Toronto.
Norma played bass for such stars as Bobby Bare, Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, Dottie West, Loretta Lynn, Bill Anderson and many others at the Horseshoe Tavern. She appeared on the Grand Ole Opry on two occasions in 1967-68. Norma has also performed with many Canadian artists, e.g., Tommy Hunter, Hall of Famer Johnny Burke, Dick Nolan, Roy Penney and Lucille Starr.
In 1967, Norma joined the Justin Tubb Band in Ohio where she performed with Justin, Faron Young and Minnie Pearl. Later that year, she toured the Orient with The Justin Tubb band where she entertained in several countries including the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam and Korea.
After setting aside her career to spend quality time with her son, Marc, in 1985, this adventurous musician walked from Toronto to Nashville in a four month period to revive her career. Soon she was back to writing such songs as “As I Go One More Mile” and “Walking Down To Nashville”. She also started touring again, and at that time entertained in forty States and Greenland with many of Nashville’s top country music stars. Norma has two albums “January, April and Me” and “April’s Angel Food Cake”.
The recording industry in Canada awarded her two gold records for sales which reached 55,000 copies for each release. Her single releases are: “The Wedding”, “Too Much of You”, “So Far From You”, “My Picture Province” and “What More Can I Say”.
Norma has recently returned to her native Moncton, New Brunswick, and still appears on country music jamborees.
One of the Maritimes best known country pianists, Maurice Fleming, was born in Truro, NS in 1943 and grew up near there at Lower Onslow. Noticing how taken he was by music, particularly the piano stylings of Floyd Cramer and Moon Mullican on radio and records, his mother enrolled him with a local piano teacher.
His musical abilities soon opened many doors for him even in grade school playing parties and with church groups. During this time he became greatly enamoured by the music of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys and the great Hank Williams. In high school he was part of various groups, playing school and teen dances and made a transition to organ to play for church services, socials, funerals and weddings. He also accompanied legendary Nova Scotia fiddler Cye Steele at dances.
In 1962 he joined the RCMP and spent months of vigorous training in Regina studying police procedures and qualifying in horsemanship. In his 35 years with the federal police force he had multiple postings, most of them in New Brunswick. During those years he was part of many bands in the areas he was assigned including Jim Morrison's Valley Dance Band, the Jimmy Lawlor Band and others including backing famed NBCMHF fiddler Mac Brogan at recording sessions. He also took part in many of the Moncton TV Christmas Daddies Telethons and Miramichi Folk Song Festivals. In those years he added saxophone, an instrument used by various country bands particularly on recordings, and stand-up bass to his musical accomplishments.
Maurice retired from the RCMP in 1997, then worked for several years with the Department of the Environment, settled his wife and family in Riverview and joined the 14-piece Hub City Big Band to play festive New Year Balls and other prestigious civic events. He became a frequent guest on the Valley Jamboree in Sussex and many other country and variety shows. He was soon a much sought after sessions musician backing such popular performers as Allison Inch, Clayton Magee and Jimmy Lawlor among others on recordings and he has played an important part in many New Brunswick Country Music Hall Of Fame projects.
John Jeffries was born at Jeffries Corner, Kings County and grew up loving the old-time country music so popular then on radio. He began playing acoustic guitar by ear as a teenager, then learned to play fiddle tunes, to accompany his father Cecil, and other local fiddlers at dances and variety shows. While attending Sussex High School he taught himself electric guitar to join the Morris brothers, Gary and Bill, in their popular rock band, the VIP's, and play teen dances at Legions and other venues. After graduation, John worked in St. Andrews, Moncton, Halifax, Truro and Miramichi and was part of bands in each area.
In 1976, John moved with his wife Maureen and family to Fredericton where he joined Aubrey Hanson's Country Ramblers playing live dances, shows and performing on local TV and radio weekly. Stints with Bubs Brown in his band Buckshot and later Roanoke followed. After that, he joined the Ponds, Duane and Cameron and sister Debbie, to form their great Family Reunion band.
Soon, however, fascinated with bluegrass, he became a member of Fredericton's Cabin Fever, then with his son Allan joined ‘Old, New, Borrowed and Blue’. He was a founding member of the Goldrush bluegrass band and, also, helped organize the Fredericton Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association and served a term as its president. At the same time, to keep a foot in the country door, he became a member of Silver Dollar Express and the River Valley Fiddlers.
Multi-talented, John plays 5-string banjo, mandolin, fiddle and pedal steel, as well as guitar, sings and is an accomplished comedic storyteller.
He has taught most of the instruments he plays to individuals and classes and operates a fiddle repair shop.
John presently plays with Randy Vail and Lost Highway, guests regularly on Valley Jamborees, and is one of Fredericton's elite Classic Country quintet and the Dan Cunningham Band. He has performed on ECMA and CCMA showcase stages and is, also, a sessions player much sought after by recording studios.
His son and four daughters are all well-known singing musicians. John’s music career has spanned over 50 years and he is still very active.
Born in Happy Valley, Newfoundland in 1964, the late Perry White began playing accordion by ear when he was only four years of age and by the time his family moved to Fredericton in 1974, he had mastered guitar and was experimenting with other instruments. But that was only the beginning for a born performer who would by his late teens become a multi-faceted instrumentalist, an accomplished vocalist and a confident stage personality.
Randy Vail was amazed by Perry at their first meeting, a Dark Hollow concert at which he offered a chance at the mike to anyone in the audience. Perry who was completely unknown came up and 'literally blew him away'.
Shortly after that he joined the Gary Morris Valley Jamboree cast and was part of that Sussex based show for over eight years. During that time he joined Sussex Radio CJCW rapidly working his way up to an on-air personality and a great promoter of local country music recording artists.
After his stint with the Valley Jamborees he joined Randy Vail & Lost Highway, with whom he played for many years, leaving when his tenure with CJCW ended, to play dances and shows as a one-man band on a busier schedule to support a wife and family. In those years he became a regular weekly performer at the Saint John West Canadian Legion and introduced Newfie Kitchen Parties to many southern NB communities.
For two years prior to his death in a highway accident near St George, December 10, 2007, he had been the morning man on 98.1 The Tide near St. Stephen and was a weekend country deejay on CHSJ Country 94 in Saint John, which he has described as a dream come true. He was guesting on many local shows and jamborees and never turned down a chance to perform on fundraisers. Perry loved to sing and play, whether it was a paying gig or not.
His death left three sons, Brendan, Travis and Dakota fatherless.