ELVA KELSO GREER - Growing up in Penobsquis, New Brunswick, her family was always involved in music. At the age of twelve, her brother Howe McPhee taught her to play guitar. Elva’s family sang and played music together on a regular basis. Music has been an everyday part of her life, playing for birthdays, anniversaries, house parties and shows at local halls - any excuse to get together for a tune.
Over the years, Elva has been involved in organizing and performing at many music benefits. She has also sung for many funerals and played at seniors homes in the local area.
Elva fondly remembers the fun times she had with her music students while giving lessons on beginner guitar, keyboard, fiddle, piano, mandolin and dobro. She always shared her enthusiasm for music with her students.
In 1968, Elva joined the Sussex Town and Country Orchestra, sharing the stage with many talented musicians and forming lifelong friendships. They travelled throughout New Brunswick playing many shows and always having a wonderful time. From 1975 to 1987, she was the Orchestra’s acting secretary.
Elva spent many wonderful weekends taking part in the open mic music at Jim Smith's "Old Mill Bluegrass Campout" at Lutes Mountain, NB.
August 15th, 1998, she traveled to Saint John, New Brunswick for the NB Old Tyme Fiddle Orchestra concert (founded by Winston Crawford & Jim Gerrior), where one hundred fiddlers performed.
With the help of friends and son Len Kelso, Elva has recorded three CDs, which include some of her compositions.
Elva and her husband ran jam sessions from Salisbury to Petitcodiac. After his passing in 2014, she continued the sessions until 2020 with the help of Clayton Magee, Ken Campbell, and many wonderful friends and family. Other jam sessions where she has played back up include Sussex, Havelock and Penobsquis.
Elva has attended many NB Fiddle Association programs and potluck suppers with Ivan and Vivian Hicks and always looked forward to being a guest on the Gary Morris Valley Jamboree show in the Sussex area.
She hopes this shows how much music was and still is a big part of who she is and thanks all who helped along the way.
RALPH HENDERSON - Ralph Henderson was born in Ontario, 1944, and moved to NB when he was just thirteen days old. His childhood was spent as a member of a large family of fourteen.
At eighteen, he met Lynn Morrell, a local girl, whom he married in 1966. They were together for 46 wonderful years and raised four children.
Ralph bought his first guitar with 50 cent pieces he had saved. He played and sang most evenings at home. It took many years and coaxing from Lynn to persuade him to venture out and sing at jams. Winning a talent search contest in 2003 opened doors for Ralph who was soon performing in country music shows most weekends.
Four years later, his wife Lynn joined him on stage and they enjoyed some good times singing Johnny Cash and June Carter songs together.
Ralph and Lynn made a CD together in 2009 which sold over 525 copies.
Their last show was part of the summer concert series on the beautiful New Brunswick Fundy Trail Parkway in 2011.
Ralph passed away in 2012 from cancer. The “Man in Black” is gone, but never forgotten.
BIG JOHN T-BONE LITTLE - Big John T-Bone Little, is an African American man with native grandparents, born in Niagara Falls, Ontario on November 19, 1929. He started his career at age six, playing drums at the British Methodist Episcopal Church in Niagara Falls.
During his teen years, his father and uncle taught him to play guitar and dobro. During WW2, John, too young to enlist, got a job and bought his first guitar at a pawn shop for $2.40; saved and bought his first Martin guitar for $141.00.
Big John was playing country music long before Charley Pride broke the ice for African Americans in the US. Conway Twitty wanted him to come to Nashville, said he would "make him a millionaire". However, because of John’s experience of racism touring in the South, he refused.
In the 50s, John formed a band, “The Hot Toddies”, and wrote the hit “Rockin’ Crickets” which led to a North American tour. He toured Canada for years opening for such stars as Ray Price, Conway Twitty, Audrey Williams, and Ernest Tubb. He performed a couple of Tubb tunes one night and Ernest told him afterwards that: “Son, you did a great job out there. If I hadn't known I was backstage, I would have sworn it was me on stage singing.” Words that are dear to Big John’s heart.
Big John played with many famous Canadian artists - King Ganam, Graham Townsend, Al Cherney, Abbie Andrews, Walter Ostanek, Ned Landry, George Hector, Art Marr Jamborees at Lily Lake and Club XL, Gene O'Connor, Jim and Audrey Chamberlain, Dutchie Mason, Greg Marks, Ronnie Black, Theresa Malenfont, Katey Day and many others. John has learned much about music by listening, watching and talking to other musicians and loves to pass on his knowledge to others. His guitar playing, singing and leadership are an inspiration to his fellow band members.
Among his awards are: Governor General’s Award 1993 for the song “Bright Like a Rainbow”, Saint John Local Legends Award 2006, Niagara Arts and Culture Wall of Fame induction 2014.
He married a teacher from Saint John, NB and after her passing he returned to Niagara Falls. Big John loves his audience and in 2022 he continues to perform.
Gary Hooper was born in the tiny village of L’Etete on New Brunswick’s east coast. He decided he wanted a career in music after performing at a fundraiser for his high school during a visit to New Brunswick from Ontario where he worked. In 1963 he formed a band and played venues throughout Ontario.
NOEL NASON - Noel Nason hails from Upper Hainesville, New Brunswick, and was born on December 18, 1949. He is known far and wide as the man who knows over one thousand songs.
He bought his first guitar at age seventeen and, with friends, helped form their first band “The Living End”. Noel credits his father’s side of the family for his musical background, but the love of country music, from his mother. His musical influences would include Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and several others.
He became a member of the band “Midnight Special” in 1986 and performed various places throughout the province of New Brunswick.
He received the Merit Award in 2010 and has appeared on Woodstock Old Home Week, the Fredericton Exhibition, the Atlantic National Exhibition, the Port City Jamboree, the Valley Jamboree, the Miramichi Opry and Crime Stoppers of New Brunswick.
In 2018, Noel had the opportunity to perform on the stage of Nashville Nightlife Dinner Theatre, in Nashville, Tennessee with fellow Hall of Fame Member, Brenda Best. He has also gone on to become one of the regular performers on the New Brunswick Showcase.
Noel released a CD of cover songs a few years ago and is still performing today with his band “Country Connection” at the Royal Canadian Legion and Ste. Annes Court in Fredericton. He also appears with his band and as a solo act at various places including the Crabb Mountain Inn.
FREDERICK D. SHAW - Frederick was born in Fredericton, NB and comes from a musical family, his mother being a church organist for many years and his father singing in the church choir. He began playing and singing at an early age and was influenced by his neighbor, Weyman Thornton, a singer/songwriter and also by his son, Laurel Thornton. Fred entered many talent shows, winning his first at age thirteen in New Maryland, and participated in many kitchen parties and benefits.
In 1993, Fred and his family moved to Sussex, N.B. and became very involved in concerts and fundraisers all over the province as well as some in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Fred is a Wilf Carter tribute singer and loves keeping his music alive. He is known for his yodeling and country style of music. Fred was invited to attend the Wilf Carter Tribute Show in Canning, Nova Scotia as a special guest along with Randy Holler from Alberta, as well as several other entertainers. Fred remains a huge fan of Wilf Carter.
Fred became friends with Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter in the early eighties and attended over 40 concerts in the New England states and Atlantic Canada, occasionally helping the Waylon crew with security.
Fred was a full-time guest with “C Company” band from River Glade, NB for nine years. He released his first CD, “The Silver Eagle” in 2007 and his second, “Just Dreaming My Dreams” in 2010.
Fred organized a yearly “Crime Stoppers” benefit concert for twelve consecutive years at the Sussex High School that were very successful in raising funds for that program. He also hosted a “Wheels to Meals” fundraiser in Dumfries, NB for twelve years. He continues to play and sing at other musical events.
Fred would like to thank his wife, family and friends for all their support over the years.