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Brent Williams inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame

Brent WIlliams
Liverpool, NS – September 19, 2013 -
 
Legendary Country artist Brent Williams has been inducted into the "Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame" Brent's lengthy career has spanned a 55 year period. A plaque will rest at the Hank Snow museum in Liverpool, NS for fans and public to view.
 

Brent Williams

 
Brent Williams, the youngest of eight children, was born on a small farm in Hassetts, NS on March 25, 1940. Influenced by his mother’s love of music & encouraged by his brother to begin playing guitar, Brent went on to have a professional musical career spanning over 55 years. 
 
He was an original member of the bluegrass band “The Birch Mountain Boys” who toured the Maritime Provinces.  Brent, along with singing partner Harry Cromwell, created “The Brent & Harry Show” and while on the Gaspe Coast in 1963 joined up with the Marcel Martel Show from Drummondville, PQ.   A few years later Brent moved to Toronto and began a solo career in mainstream country. Whether playing at the Matador Club in Dartmouth, on stage at Seneca College in Toronto, as a guest on:  Don Messer’s Jubilee, Country Time, Make Mine Country, CJCH Jamboree, Maritime Playboys Show,  or recording at RCA Studios in Nashville, Brent’s musical talent and charisma leaves his listeners in awe. During the ‘90’s,  Brent’s cross-Canada tours became a regular with the biggest chain store in the world, Wal-Mart. Hosting many of his own stage shows gave him the opportunity to perform his award winning songs, many of which were top 20 chart busters.
 
During his career, Brent has shared the stage with numerous well-known artists including: Stompin' Tom, Dave Dudley, Family Brown, Oakridge Boys, Wilburn Brothers, Stoneman Family, Jean Shepard, Osborne Brothers, Prairie Oyster, Terry Carisse, Charlie Louvin, Freddie McKenna, Red Shea, Joyce Seamone, Carroll Baker, Shania Twain, Myrna Lorrie, Vic Mullen, Ned Landry, The Mercy Brothers, and Ronnie Prophet. 
 
Brent was one of the founding members of the Canadian Country Music Association, won the ‘Bon Soo’ Open Fiddle competition, recorded over 20 albums, received a Certificate of Merit (Condor/Marathon Music) Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences ‘76 & ‘77, and has been nominated for a CCMA award.
 
 
Brent continues to tour throughout the Maritimes and Canada.  For the past 10 years his career has taken a turn toward Gospel - recording and performing as part of his personal ministry. Whether your taste is for Gospel, or rich country vocals accompanied by acoustic guitar, five-string banjo, or picking blue grass or fiddle tunes ranging from old-time to Cajun, Brent Williams does it all.
 
Image credits: Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame, Brent Williams
 
 

Rural Black String Band Music by Charles Wolfe


The first time I think I ever seen Arnold Schultz … this square dance was at Rosine, Kentucky, and Arnold and two more colored fellows come up there and played for the dance. They had a guitar, banjo, and fiddle. Ar­nold played the guitar but he could play the fiddle-numbers like "Sally Goodin." People loved Arnold so well all through Kentucky there; if he was playing a guitar they'd go gang up around him till he would get tired and then maybe he'd go catch a train …. I admired him that much that I never forgot a lot of the things he would say. There's things in my music, you know, that comes from Arnold Schultz-runs that I use in a lot of my music (Bill Monroe, quoted in Rooney 1971).1

Quotes such as this one from bluegrass star Bill Monroe are by no means atypical. For ten years I have been interviewing at length older country musicians and folk musicians from the 1920s and 1930s about that misty borderland wherein traditional American folk music was somehow transformed into commercial country music; many, many of them mention bands such as Arnold Schultz's string band, point to them as influences, as models, as colleagues. They point to a genre of American music that most scholars have ignored and that most mem­bers of the general public do not even know existed: a genre that De­Ford Bailey, the famous harmonica player on the early Grand Ole Opry, defined for me as "black hillbilly music." "Sure," he said, "black hillbilly music. Everybody around me grew up playin' that. Fiddles and banjos and guitars; they weren't playin' no blues then. It was black hillbilly music" (Bailey 1975).

For years the emphasis of those studying black American folk music has been directed to religious music (the first really respectable music to study), to jazz (the first commercially successful brand of music), or to blues. Yet do these three forms really account for all of the rich variety of black music found in folk tradition-or just the most visible ones? What about the rural fife-and-drum tradition, which has lingered unno­ticed in Tennessee until this present generation? What about the tradition of black non-blues secular song? And what about the tradition of the rural string band music? To explore these aspects of black music requires a great deal more digging and musical archaeology but might yield in the end results as fruitful as those coming from jazz, blues, and religious music studies.

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1. Arnold Shultz, incidentally, went on to influence Kennedy Jones, who taught white musician Mose Rager, who taught Merle Travis and Chet Atkins.

DISCOGRAPHY

Virginia Traditions. BRI-001. Blue Ridge Institute, Ferrum College, Ferrum, Va. Blind James Campbell and his Nashville Street Band. Arhoolie 1015, recorded as recently as 1962. Altamont: Black string band music from the Library of Congress. Rounder Records or Compact Disc 0238. 0942-1946 recordings by the John Lusk String Band and the fiddle-banjo duo of Nathan Frazier and Frank Patterson, with extensive annotation by the author.}

Originally published in Black Music Research Newsletter 4, no. 2 (Fall 1980). Used by permission of Mary Dean Wolfe.

Crossing Country - by John Morthland

NOTE: This originally appeared in Oxford American, issue #21/22 (1997), revised May 2000 by the author.
 
Black people began adapting white music to their own ends almost as soon as they arrived in America. The earliest African-Americans, forced into slavery in New England around 1619, were allowed but one communal respite from work: the white man's church. Blacks sang the same religious musics as whites, most of it written by Methodist ministers from England and brought to this country by missionaries. Before long, blacks has grown especially partial to the stern but redemptive hymns of Dr. Isaac Watts, which were published in America during the Great Awakening of the 1730s. Those hymns remained the backbone of black gospel music all the way into the 1950's and '60's.
 
The musical miscegenation that began in those New England churches is arguably not as vital as it once was, but it continues today in various forms, from white rap, and black hip-hop that samples hard-rock guitar solos, to the blues that have been appropriated by whites and turned into simple party-down music since being abandoned by most blacks. As the blues example suggests, such interplay always has its ups and downs. You won't find many black people who recall with affection minstrelsy and blackface, the popular musical forms of their time, and you also won't find many whites who'll admit today that a performance at the House of Blues is the current equivalent of those forms.
 
In the 1920's, the earliest days of the recording business, cross-pollination was still going strong. Consider the instruments used by blacks and whites in their traditional musics. The fiddle, small and portable came to the U.S. with the earliest settlers, and blacks slowly adapted it. The banjo, originally an African instrument, was popularized among whites via minstrel shows and, by the 1830's, was common in country fiddle bands. The guitar, a European instrument first used in this country by well-bred Northerners, was made more accessible by the Sears catalog. Soon after the turn of the century, black railroad workers took the guitar into the Southern mountains, and whites picked it up too. The Dallas bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson cut the first steel-guitar record in 1926, and West Virginian Frank Hutchison five months later with the first country record to use steel. Whatever they started as, these were not white or black, country or blues instruments; they were Southern instruments, the sound of the Mississippi Delta, the Tennessee mountains, and the Kentucky bluegrass country. Traditional songs likewise bounced back and forth between the races.
 

Links To My Other Websites

Unity Bluegrass

This website predates African Bluegrass (in fact African Bluegrass began as a Tab on Unity Bluegrass).  It came about after my house flooded and I found a packet of information given to me by fellow bandmate David Neidig telling the history of the band we were both members of.  In it you will find pictures, short (out of date) biographies of those who were members when I was a part of the band, other memoribilia and RECORDINGS of the band.

Northern Illinois Bahá'ís

This was one of my first websites I ever hosted.  I am a Bahá'í and I have dedicated this website to my Faith as a service to those in my area.  In it you will find blogs, articles, videos, photos and an event calendar of local activities.

Pizza And Social Justice

"Come for the Pizza, Stay for the Conversation"

Pizza & Social Justice (PSJ) is a community organization dedicated to building a society free from racism and discrimination by fostering lasting relationships across all racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds; by recognizing bias in ourselves and our communities; and by working together to promote a more just society.

To achieve its mission PSJ employs education, discussions, guided conversations, social interactions and service projects designed to establish trust and build a sense of family in the communities it serves.  All of its programs are grounded in a fundamental belief that all humankind is one and that our diversity enhances our unity.

Proviso East Class of 1972

This website was for my 40th High School Class Reunion back in 2012 (I do HATE thinking in those terms).  I now use it to share bits of trivia and memoribilia from that time.  

Blog 24 x 7

This is the website where I get to rant and rave about other things I have a passion for (besides African Bluegrass)

Drupal Guy Blog

For these websites I use a CMS framework called Drupal.  It is open source and is supported by thousands of volunteers.  Since being laid-off in March, 2014 I have been immersing myself in Drupal working towards making a career of it.  This website is my ongoing story as I work towards becoming a full time Drupaler.

 
 

Jimmy Collier

Jimmy Collier stands out in a crowd with his trademark cowboy hat.  But it's the sound of the tall, sturdy troubadour's music that has magnetized listeners across the land.  Today with the technological ease of CD recording and internet communication, Collier can bring his music to fans without leaving his ranch in rural Mariposa.  That wasn't always the case.
 
For many years Collier went on the road to favor audiences across America and Canada with his smile, his irrepressible sense of humor, and his music.  In his heyday, he opened for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., appearing on Sesame Street and played Carnegie Hall.
 
Born in Fort Smith, Ark., Collier was raised by his grandparents, both of whom loved music.  He remembers his grandmother playing the piano on Sundays with all of his relatives gathered around and singing their hearts out.  His grandfather even created his own musical instruments and played nearly anything.  "I grew up with a lot of instruments around, and music."  
 
 

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