Randy Owen

portraitrandyBorn and raised in Welland, Ont., Randy's award-winning broadcasting career began with two consecutive awards for the top mark in radio class at Niagara College. While a first year college student, he began working evenings and weekends at 1470 CHOW, his hometown country music station. Eventually, Randy worked his way to mid-day announcer and music director.

Randy spent nine years working afternoon drive at CKGL in Kitchener and went on to become music director. In 1988, he became the first (and only) person to win both national Canadian country music awards (RPM Big Country Awards, Canadian Country Music Association) for on-air personality in the same year.

In 1997, Randy hosted the popular cross-Canada country music request show "Cryin'', Lovin'' or Leavin''" via satellite for three years.

Randy came to Tillsonburg and Country 107.3 in October 2007, bringing a wealth of experience and love of country music, from the classics to today's hits.

Other career highlights include emceeing a concert in October 2009 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, serving as the voice announcer for the Ontario country music awards show, and inducting guitar great Wendell Ferguson into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Randy has interviewed a long list of country music personalities, including Johnny Cash, Johnny Reid, Garth Brooks, Gord Bamford, Vince Gill, Terri Clark, Faith Hill, Paul Brandt, Waylon Jennings, Shania Twain, George Jones and many, many more! And you may catch him singing a Cash or Haggard song at a jam or concert in the area.

Join Randy weekdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.


Reba

Randy Owen
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Happy 62nd birthday today to Reba McEntire!  A member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1986 and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011, she was born on a cattle ranch in Chockie, Oklahoma.  With 24 #1 hits in her career, Reba is only one away from tying Dolly Parton for the most chart-toppers by a female artist and she already holds the record for the female country artist with the most gold and platinum albums and the most #1 albums.  Her acting career includes several movies, a hit TV comedy series and current work on a drama for ABC-TV in which she plays a sheriff in a small town.  Last month, Reba released a double-album, "Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith and Hope," including the song "God and My Girlfriends," which Canadian Patricia Conroy co-wrote (and which Reba performed on the Today show).  The former horseback barrel ride was discovered by singer Red Steagall when she sang the U.S. national anthem at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City.

More Birthdays:  singer/songwriter Rodney Atkins turns 48; award-winning radio personality and songwriter Jerry House turns 67; and songwriter, harmonica player and CMA Instrumentalist of the Year (in 1972 and 1973) Charlie McCoy turns 76 (During the sessions for Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" album, Dylan didn't like using overdubs so Charlie played bass guitar with his left hand and trumpet with his right, without missing a beat.  Dylan stopped in the middle of the song, amazed!).

Passages:  bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs, in 2012 at age 88; singer/songwriter Glenn Barber, in 2008 at age 73; and singer Rusty Draper, in 2003 at age 80.

Wedding Anniversary:  singer/songwriter Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Matt celebrate 14 years of marriage.

Separation:  actress Julia Roberts and singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett, in 1995, after 21 months of marriage.

Health Issues:  in 1992, Tammy Wynette collapsed for the second time during a Australian tour, forcing the cancellation of the rest of the shows; and singer Eddy Arnold underwent heart bypass surgery in Nashville in 1990.

Grand Ole Opry Anniversaries:  Love & Theft made their debut in 2009; and singer/songwriter Tom T. Hall joined in 1980.

 

Six Years Ago Today: The Sad News Went Out

Randy Owen
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Six years ago today, the sad news that singer, songwriter and entertainer Terry Sumsion had passed away went out.  He had died from cancer the night before.  Although it's been six years, I still remember every detail.  Before he died, he had asked me to write his obituary.  I got started right away but always put off finishing it.  The night he died, I went back at it, working all through the night and into the early morning hours of the next day until it was done.  What I wrote was published on the Country 107 3 website and was picked up by several publications including Cashbox Canada, Country Music News and Terry's hometown newspaper.  Below, is the complete text of what I wrote in honour of my friend.

 terry sumsion

"THE BEST FRIEND A COUNTRY SONG EVER HAD"

     That was how a band member would introduce the late Conway Twitty.  When introducing Terry on stage, I would sometimes mention that quote and said it also applied very appropriately to Terry Sumsion.

     Last night, Sunday, March 26, 2011, Terry took his last breath.  Terry Sumsion has passed away at the age of 64 after a courageous, three-year-battle with esophegeal cancer at a hospice in Brantford, Ontario, surrounded by his loving family.

     Born February 7, 1947 in the small town of Burford, Ontario, the former truck driver would establish himself as one of the most powerful voices in country music, of country music, and for country music in Canada.  The story of his early years is not much different from that of other country singers, slugging away in bars, playing smoke-filled dives, and driving unimaginable distances just to get to the next gig, hoping for a chance at stardom.

     But Terry was different.

     That became apparent in the late 1970's when he first came to national prominence by winning the Male Vocalist category at the Canadian Open Singing Contest in Simcoe, Ontario...not once...not twice...but three consecutive years!  The early 1980's saw him and his band, Stagecoach, entertain on various stages, both big and small, across Canada and the United States and occasionally overseas.  His booming bass voice, backed up by some of the best musicians to hit the stage, was the perfect vehicle to promote his traditional style of country music for the next several decades.

     The title song of his first album, "Our Lovin' Place," became his "signature song."  Written by Wayne Heimbecker, a longtime friend and bandmember, it is his most requested song.  Truth be told now, however, Terry wasn't the first artist to record it.  Nashville legend Charlie Louvin, who passed away earlier this year, had recorded the song in Toronto for an album that never was released.  But Terry's version, the song he is most identified with, became HIS song.  It was the perfect marriage of a song and a singer.

     Terry would become close friends with country music stars like Gene Watson and John Conlee.  No wonder.  With his charisma, infectious smile, genuine big-heartedness and an incredible memory for names, anyone who came near him or spent even just a few minutes with him, felt like Terry had been a lifelong friend.  He gave his time and his undivided attention to many other singers and songwriters, professional or amateur, promoting them as best he could without asking for anything in return.

     Over the years, many more albums and songs would come along.  Although he was never signed to a major record label, Terry released voer thirty singles--ten of them made the Canadian country music charts--on various independent labels.  Many of his later songs and albums were self-released, including "Highway of Heroes," a song inspired by the stretch of Highway 401 in Ontario were soldiers, who have given the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, are returned to Canadian soil in a patriotic homecoming.

     "Highway of Heroes" was recorded soon after Terry was struck with the disease that would eventually kill him:  esophegeal cancer.  The diagnosis came in late 2007.  In January 2008, he underwent surgery in London, Ontario, have been told the operation could possible leave him without the power of speech, let alone his remarkable gift of singing.  But through the combination of chemo and morphine and rehab and sheer determination, he came back.  Terry was determined to sing again, record again, perform again, and even tour again.  Why?  For the fans.  His fans.  For every single fan who felt a special connection to him and his music.

     But the disease came back, too.

     Terry fought it.  He fought it because he wasn't finished sharing his remarkable talents and gifts.  He'd write songs, he'd record those song, he'd perform in concert.  But he did so, sometimes in pain from the cancer and the medication he needed to fight it.  While those close to him had an idea what he was going through, only Terry himself knew how bad the pain really was.  But he continued to fight bravely.  Very bravely.

     In May 2010, Terry signed with Bullet Records in Nashville, and later released the single that will probably be known as his swan song, "Dance With Me."  The lyrics, about a person facing his own mortality, have a special poignancy with his passing.  His last album, entitled "Encore," a project for his fans, was released just two weeks and a day before hs fight was over.

     Terry Sumsion was a uniquely gifted man who shared those gifts unselfishly with his family, his friends and his fans.  His family--his devoted and loving wife Jeannie, his children Tammy and Jeff, and several grandchildren--and all who knew him are in our thoughts, our prayers and our breaking hearts.  His family had, in him, a unique gift.  And how thankful we should be that, in the same way he shared his gifts with us, they, in turn, shared their remarkable gift with us, too.

 terry sumsion

 

 

Last Updated ( Monday, 27 March 2017 12:02 )
 

A Canadian Pioneer

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Happy 88th birthday today to singer, songwriter and broadcaster Bev Munro!  Born in Boissivain, Manitoba, his radio career began in Brandon with later moves to Dauphin, Regina and eventually Camrose, Alberta where he spent 30 years there on the air.  In 1959, the Canadian was named "Mr. DJ USA" with the legendary Ralph Emery of WSM Radio in Nashville.  Bev would perform on weekends with his band with artists like R. Harlan Smith, Chris Nielsen and Hank Smith recording his songs.  His signature song, "Babysitting With the Blues," led to tour dates with Kitty Wells, Faron Young and other legends.  In 2002, Munro was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Bev Munro
Bev Munro

More Birthdays:  singer/songwriter Mo Pitney, who got a standing ovation after his Grand Ole Opry debut performance of "Cleanup on Aisle Five," turns 27; guitarist Patterson Hood, of the band Drive-By Truckers, turns 53; singer Cathy Chambers (from my hometown of Welland, Ont.), a 1983 Juno award nominee, turns 58; Tillsonburg, Ont.'s Sharon Brinn turns 67 (she's one of the organizers of the local Tri-County Jam); pop singer/songwriter Nick Lowe turns 68 (he was once married to Carlene Carter); and singer Peggy Sue, sister of Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle, turns 74.

Also Born on This Date:  Newfoundland fiddling legend Emile Benoit in 1913 (he died in 1992)

Passages:  singer Henson Cargill, whose only #1 hit was "Skip a Rope" in 1968, in 2007 at age 66; Howard Dixon, of The Dixon Brothers, in 1961 at age 57; and country music pioneer Carson J. Robison, in 1957 at age 56;

In Concert:  one year ago today, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood began a series of concerts in Hamilton, Ont., with songwriter Karyn Rochelle and Canadian star Brett Kissel opening the show.  I was in the audience that night with Rob Kirkham of Neon Rain and would met Garth and Trisha backstage two days later.

Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks

"Live From New York:"  in 2007, Carrie Underwood, the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, performed "Before He Cheats" and "Wasted."

Station Visit:  in 2015, singer/songwriter Rebeka Stevens stopped by for a live interview on Country 107 3 and performed her single "Better in the Past."

Last Updated ( Friday, 24 March 2017 11:25 )
 

What a Difference a Year Makes

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Happy 57th birthday today to singer/songwriter George Fox!  Born in Cochran, Alberta, the 1989 Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Rising Star award winner went on to win Male Artist of the Year in 1990, 1991 and 1993.  George hosted the Canadian Country Music awards show 4 years in-a-row, from 1991-1994 (only Paul Brandt surpasses George in the number of times either hosted the show - Paul did it seven times, and Paul is the only other host to have done it at least four consecutive times).  As with most Albertan musicians, the Calgary Stampede was a big influence on George.  In 1987, as a struggling musician, he got second billing to a petting zoo.  The next year, he was opening for Randy Travis at the Saddledome.  What a difference a year can make!

george fox
George Fox

Also Celebrating Birthdays Today:  New Brunswick singer/songwriter Tristan Horncastle turns 31; singer/songwriter Brett Eldredge (currently on the charts with "Somethin' I'm Good At") also turns 31; singer Paul Martin, of the group Marshall Dyllon, turns 39; and drummer Kevin Griffin, of the group Yankee Grey, turns 52.

Tristan Horncastle
Tristan Horncastle

Also Born on This Date:  Jim Anglin, of The Anglin Brothers, in 1913 (he died in 1987); and "Fiddlin' John Carson, whose radio debut in 1922 may have been the first broadcast of country music, in 1868 (he died in 1949).

Wedding Bells:  in Carter Family history, Maybelle and Ezra Carter were wed on this date in 1926.

Passages:  singer/songwriter Cindy Walker, in 2006 at age 86 (among the hit songs she wrote were "Cherokee Maiden" by Bob Wills and Merle Haggard, "I Don't Care" by Webb Pierce and Ricky Skaggs, Jim Reeves' "Distant Drums" and Roy Orbison's "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream"); songwriter and producer J.D. Miller, in 1996 at age 73 (he wrote the lyrics to "It Wasn't Got Who Made Honky Tonk Angels");

Road Accident:  in 2008, Tejano country singer Emilio Navaira (he usually just went by his first name) suffered a severe brain injury after his tour bus crashed on Houston freeway.  He had been driving the bus and was the most seriously hurt of the seven people on board.  He recovered, but passed away last year at the age of 53 of natural causes from cardiovascular disease.

Station Visit:  in 2010, singer/songwriter Bryan White co-hosted for 90 minutes with Craig Fox and The Morning Crew on Country 107 3.

Got Your Back:  in 1993, during a surprise concert in Red Bank, New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen ripped off his shirt and did a version of Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart."  He told the audience it was a "damn good" song.  There is an audio only recording of the moment on YouTube.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 March 2017 10:51 )
 

The Legend and the Legacy

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Canadian country music icon Dick Damron turns 83 today!  Born in Bentley, Alberta, he plays banjo, violin, steel guitar and blues harp in addition to guitar.  Damron's career spans several decades, includes over 25 albums and several awards including induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the International Country Music Hall of Fame.  His legend and legacy also includes his most famous song, "Jesus, It's Me Again," which has been covered by such country music stars as Carroll Baker, Charley Pride and Larry Mercey.  Dick has performed with and shared the stage with country music legends on some of country music's biggest shows like the Grand Ole Opry, the Calgary Stampede and the Wembley International Country Music Festival in London, England.  Few artists have represented Canadian country music like Dick Damron.  (Pic:  with two Canadian Country Music Hall of Famers, Dick Damron and Murray McLaughlin)

damron

More Birthdays:  actress Reese Witherspoon, who won several awards including an Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter in the movie "Walk the Line," turns 41; singer/songwriter James House turns 62 (Canadian group Prairie Oyster had a hit in Canada in 1992 with House's song "Here's to You"); adult contemporary star Roger Whittaker turns 81; and singer Bob Homan turns 87.

Also Born on This Date:  western swing bandleader Hoyle Nix in 1918 (he died in 1985); singer, songwriter and steel guitarist Cecil Campbell in 1911 (he died in 1989); and musician Charlie Poole, who made over 100 records including some of the first string-band recordings, in 1892 (he died in 1931).

Passages:  Dave Guard, one of the founding members of The Kingston Trio, in 1991, of cancer at age 56; singer and fiddle player Stoney Cooper, in 1997 at age 58; Uncle Dave Macon, the first star of the Grand Ole Opry, in 1952 at age 81.

That Was Fast:  six years ago today, George Canyon's "Better Be Home Soon" album was released and became the fastest-selling album in his career.  It debuted at #1 on the iTunes Country Music charts and achieved gold status in just three weeks!

That Was Consistent:  seven years ago today, Reba McEntire's album "Keep on Loving You" was certified gold.  Every studio album she released since "My Kind of Country" in 1984 has gone gold or higher, extending her lead as the female artist with the most Record Industry Association of America sales certifications in country music history.

Saving the Music:  one year ago today, Merle Haggard's classic song "Mama Tried" was among the 25 sound recordings preserved by the U.S. Library of Congress.  Ironically, Haggard died two weeks later.

Creepy:  at the urging of his mother, Hank Williams Jr. made his stage debut in 1958 in Swainsboro, Georgia at the age of 8.  She would make him wear his late father's stage costumes.  It took years before he developed his own style and came to terms with being the son of one of country music's legends.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 March 2017 12:35 )
 

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