2013 Country Music in Victoria Review

Written jan 2014.

This past year, Victoria country musicians have been busy with recording projects.

John McNeil, “Ole Sweet Dream” which i won a copy of at the Kings Creek Orin Smith Memorial Jam. It was a pleasure to see John Pimm and his wife of 17 years, Corrine, Harvey and Vicki Wanless, Cliff Chudy, Clint Hanson, and newcomer, Rob Jeffery.

i quickly grabbed John to get it autographed. A collection of originals with the added bonus of his daughter’s and a host of talented musicians.

“Clint Hanson EP”, self titled http://clinthansonmusic.com/home What can I say. It’s been a pleasure to witness to his development over the years.

“Yesterday’s Wine” Tom Gough recently produced cd includes a collection of country classics supported by his band, Yesterday’s Wine and produced by Dennis Ferbey. Tom has plans for more, so join them any Saturday at the Esquimalt legion country jam 2-6. No charge for musicians and 5 dollars for public

It has been my pleasure to have shared stages with him since his return to Victoria in the 80s. With my old bandmate, Doc Jenkins on pedal steel. Don Peterson’s tasteful lead guitar. The consummate drummer/entertainer, Randy Cross. Clayton O’Howe on bass and sound. Tom Gough and his lovely wife, Glenda Lea lead up this classy country collection of musicians.

Ron Jenkins “Back in the Day” a country music history of South Vancouver Island which provides 4 discs of Victoria country from 1948 – 2013. I am honoured to have been included. Ron is such a gentleman and inspiration for all of us as he continues to get out to play. Ron is hosting a jam on the last Sunday of each month at the Langford Legion.

Thank you John, Tom, Clint and Ron for keepin’ it country in Victoria and gracing us with your talents.

John MacNeil-Ole Sweet Dreams

John MacNeil

It was my pleasure to win a copy of John’s CD “Ole Sweet Dreams” at Orin Smith’s Memorial Jam. I’ve long admired John’s talents and this collection of songs with his daughter’s beautiful celtic tones is a treasure i’ll be enjoying for some time. Produced in Victoria at Oakstone, Dennis Ferbey

From my mother’s photo box


This is Louise Laing, born September 13, 1948 (she’s about 15 months in the photo) probably in Victoria, BC. Is this not the sweetest.

She comes to us courtesy of the grandmother I never met, in a box of photos she prepared for her adoptive daughter, Muriel Rose Smith (my mother) before she died of cancer when my mother was 19.

The box has travelled with me over the years in the boxes of family memories that I seldom looked at.

It holds the most information I have about my mother who was killed in a motor vehicle accident when I was just 20. Thirty-five years ago.

She was looking for the answers to questions after discovering during an estate settlement that she was adopted. A rather rude awakening I imagine. Mother started life with an incredible family that included the grandfather I knew and loved, Emerson Lincoln Smith. Grandfather owned the local ship chandlers, McQuade’s. He was an ace pilot and flew in both great wars. His wife, Dorothy Eileen Smith (nee MacAdam) is the woman I’m getting to know as I undertake to digitize the better of the photos.

I feel like I’ve been channelling the woman I never got to call Grandmother – as I transfer her notes from the backs of a good portion of the photos … each photo offers a look into a special woman’s life. She loved gardening, trains, travel and her adopted daughter.

It’s an emotional journey for sure, but like my mother I still look for answers to the questions I can’t ask her. Some I’ll never know. I’m going to have to learn to be okay with that, because in the end – I have been blessed to have my life benefit so directly from theirs.

Boxes and boxes … this will be my gift to my daughter, sisters, brothers, nieces and my largely extended family of steps and halfs. To all those who come after and care to know.

Life may have torn us apart but I will always hold you in my heart.