first songs at age 17 reveal a young man's tender heart
and plaintive voice captured with an inexpensive gut string
guitar, a restless soul and a Roberts 802 tape recorder.
The story of these, my 'baby' efforts as a young writer
of songs, will always resonate for me as a very special
moment in time. It was the early 1970's when family lived
at the corner of Churchill & Spring in Charlottetown,
Prince Edward Island, Canada. My artist friend and neighbour,
Johnny MacGillivray, pencil sketched me one day saying,
"here's your 1st album cover".
so it is.
was also the era of Jack MacAndrew and Gene Maclellan,
The Troubadours, Larry Mercey, my introduction to the
business of music publishing and the beginning of my nascent
career aspirations as a recording artist. It is, in its
essence, the first chapter in a story of a life blessed
with talent and opportunity encouraged by those who heard
in me the promise and potential for a long run journey
as a Songwriter/Artist. And so it has been.
am the firstborn of talented parents who sang and acted
in local musical theatre. Singing and performing ran deep
in the bloodline and playing guitar came naturally for
me too from the very first chords I strummed at 13. It
wasn’t long before I was singing and playing an
electric guitar in bands.
Sunn  and The East Coast Sound  were two of
the best young groups of their day. I loved singing and
playing in both. The Sunn played 'hard rock/R&B' while
The East Coast Sound played top-40 'pop/rock'. We were
damn good for young kids and we played every week-end
for two years adhering to a strong work ethic in our practices
and performances which were solid beyond our tender years.
the hot radio hits in those bands was a blast but my '67
Fender Mustang gave way to playing my acoustic guitar
again as I charted a path to becoming a singer/songwriter
in the mold of Lightfoot, Prine, Kristofferson & Cat
My weekly performances at a local coffeehouse in the fall
of 1970 brought me to the attention of Charlottetown Summer
Festival Theatre Producer Jack MacAndrew. Jack asked me
to be part of a new music troupe he was putting together
to perform for the next summer season at the Confederation
Centre of the Arts. We were called The Troubadours and
we were a solid hit for two consecutive seasons, 1971
MacAndrew also played a very important role in my life and music
business focus beyond The Troubadours. In the fall of '72 he
booked me to open a Maritimes tour with popular top-40 early
70's hit makers, The Poppy Family, which was fun and successful.
Jack later secured me a university tour across Canada in July
'75 and in August of that same year he spotlighted me on a co-billed,
high profile concert at Confederation Centre with rising young
star Gino Vanelli. Later in Toronto, when Jack was Chief of
Variety Programming for the CBC, he booked me on The Tommy Hunter
Show. He also bought me a good quality guitar which I could
not afford to purchase at the time. Jack MacAndrew created every
opportunity for me as a young upstart. No one ever did as much
to promote me in those days. He managed Gene MacLellan and helped
me and many others acheive goals towards artistic success.
will always be indebted to Jack MacAndrew for his kindness
and faith in me and for his guidance in helping me to overcome
real difficulties in my life through those hard years in order
that I might be able to climb up that big ladder to destiny’s
doorstep someday. It was essential support and it ensured
that I got my shot as a professional. Jack MacAndrew and his
wonderful wife Barbara are both special to me. They always
from Jack MacAndrew was essential in providing opportunities
and steady guiding support, but kindness demonstrated towards
me by others was important as well. I was fortunate to know
the late Gene MacLellan as a friend and as a songwriter.
lived on the Island and Jack was managing his affairs through
Gene's breakout success as a writer. Gene had written Anne
Murray’s big 70’s hit songs "Snowbird"
and "Put Your Hand In The Hand", both of which became
major hits of the decade as many stars, including Elvis, scored
big with Gene's songs.
Gene was withdrawn and reclusive by times, but he was a friendly
guy, and very giving in his nature. He always encouraged my
talents. He even loaned me the tape recorder I used to record
my first songs.
at top to Early Sketches/Churchill & Spring]
So, my thanks Gene. If it wasn’t for the cool Roberts
802 reel-to-reel tape recorder you loaned me, the songs on
Early Sketches/Churchill & Spring might never have been
captured for posterity. My 'baby' songs for sure, my first
efforts, but they're here and able to be heard because of
your kind generosity.