Wilson Moore, host of Bluegrass Jam on Amherst’s CFTA 107.9FM on Sundays from 6 to 7 p.m., will be admitted into Nova Scotia’s Country Music Hall of Fame this fall, so he is obviously of provincial-wide stature. But Wilson Moore is yet another of Amherst’s citizens whose influence is appreciated nation-wide and in the United States.
Wilson started collecting bluegrass recordings while still in his teens on a trip to the U.S. In the early 1970s he helped found the Nova Scotia Bluegrass Society and start the annual Bluegrass Festival, the longest-running in Canada and the second longest-running in North America. By 1977, he was invited to start a bluegrass program on CKDH radio station in Amherst. The Society expanded: “Established in 1980, the Downeast Bluegrass & Oldtime Music Society is an incorporated, not-for-profit organization who's objective it is To Promote and Preserve Bluegrass & Oldtime Music in Eastern Canada.”
Wilson moved to CHMA 106.9 FM in Sackville, New Brunswick. Since CFTA set up eight years ago, Wilson’s program has been heard on both stations.
All these years, with his wife, Sheila, and friends, Wilson was travelling at least annually to the U.S. to attend bluegrass festivals, making connections and expanding his expertise. Consequently, he is respected on both sides of the border.
He is an example of how someone from a small town can become an appreciated expert in his or her field of interest.
At an afternoon honouring Wilson at the Music Barn in Middle Sackville on June 9, a full house of over 300 people heard an impressive list of the positions he has held, including international organizations supporting Bluegrass. Ian McPhee, host of CFTA’s “Music Unlimited”, reminisced about starting the bluegrass program on CKDH 42 years ago.
But first we heard Ivan and Vivian Hicks play - and can they ever, Ivan on fiddle or guitar and Vivian on keyboard standing up. As requested by Wilson, they sang as well - and they are very good at that too. Again, international stature: see and hear them perform if you get the chance.
Next was Eddy Poirier and Grassline from Memramcook: excellent. Some of their members and the Hicks met Wilson when he first started broadcasting so it was interesting to hear them commend him for promoting bluegrass in Canada and fun to hear them reminisce.
Wilson referred to Eddy as “the grandfather of Bluegrass in New Brunswick.”
Unfortunately I had to miss the Bluegrass Diamonds from Moncton who are also a long-standing group.
Bluegrass and Old-Time Music is toe-tapping, cheerful music: often instrumental. Ivan and Vivian, on request, played “The Orange Blossom Special” which is breath-takingly fast. In their version, a mooing cow is on the track and, since it doesn’t move, the inevitable happens!
The Music Barn is a beautiful structure, especially on the inside, with all natural wood and hand-hewn beams. To get there, take exit 504 at Sackville, go right to Silver Lake, take the left fork to Midgic. The Music Barn is on the corner of Station Road. Tickets for this outstanding event cost $15. Profit was divided among the three performing groups and the two radio stations at which Wilson volunteers: over $800 each, quite a contribution by both Wilson and Brian Doncaster, owner of the Music Barn.
Commendation to CFTA as well for the calibre and diversity of programs they carry. udos to the numerous volunteers, including Wilson Moore, who account for much of the on-air time.
Dale Fawthrop has recorded me for a week of Grace McLeod Rogers, an internationally known writer from Amherst from the first third of the 1900s, for This is When. He expects it to be broadcast in July. Stay tuned!
To buy my eight publications, including two collections of my columns, go to the Amherst Artisan Gallery, Amherst Centre Mall and to Maritime Mosaic, Dayle’s, Victoria Street, Amherst. Coles carries My dear Alice. For six of my self-published books and booklets, go to the Cumberland County Museum and Archives; Flying Colours, Maccan; and Main and Station, Parrsboro.
Clare Christie is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.