Canadian bluegrass band the Dixie Flyers will be honoured at the Ninth Annual Jack Richardson Awards (JRMAs) Sunday, Apr. 14 at the London Music Hall in downtown London.
Formed in 1974, London’s Dixie Flyers will be inducted into the JRMA Hall of Fame after an impressive career that includes nine recordings on Boot, Stony Plain and their own Flat-top labels,traveling and touring Canada in their own custom fitted highway coach, their own live radio show on BX93 (CJBX-FM)-”Live From the Wellington”, a syndicated TV series, Canadian and US tours,many appearances on national radio and television (CBC Radio’s “Morningside” with Peter Gzsowski always a favorite) – being included in “Canadian Encyclopedia of Music in Canada” – and producing a consistent ,high quality show with top notched players and singers and their own bluegrass festival.
The Flyers’ alumni reads like a who’s who’s of Canadian music scene:
“I think over the 37 years,the band has consisted of only about 20 different members” said JRMA steering committee member Darin Addison. “Even though the band is not active now and everyone in the band is getting older, I think it’s the right time to recognize the Dixie Flyers.”
Back in the day, The Dixie Flyers impressed bluegrass legend Bill Monroe.
The co-founders, guitarist and lead vocalist Bert Baumbach and mandolin player Ken Palmer, never expected to wind up in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada years ago or the London Music Hall of Fame, where they join Tommy Hunter ,Guy Lombardo, Kittie and Orchestra London
We thought nothing will ever happen with this thing. All of a sudden, Bert got us on the Carlisle Bluegrass Canada (festival). That was by 1975. We had a year to practise for that. We met Bill Monroe (there).”
The band came off the stage and there was Monroe — not a man who was easily impressed. “He said, ‘You boys are pretty good,’ ” Palmer recalled. “Here’s the guy that invented the music, and he’s there waiting for us when we come off the stage.”
Later, Monroe invited the young band to the famous Bean Blossom festival in Indiana. “The Dixie Flyers play good bluegrass, they play it the right way,” Monroe said of the band.
Recordings, TV and radio appearances, and hundreds of gigs with top-flight lineups followed before the band went on hiatus in recent years.
The official presentations will take place at the 2013 JRMA gala, scheduled for Sunday, Apr. 14 at the London Music Hall in downtown London.