The Boggy Creek ~ Call of the Wild Festival Years

Performer Profiles II


Wayne Rostad is known throughout Canada as the "Writer of Songs" and his album titled the same is outstanding proof of this. As Country writer Dave Mulholland says, "Rostad's music is the essence of good country; and escape to realism; a style that celebrates the emotional spectrum, from joy to despair, all with passion." Rostad has had several hits over the past year including "Willie Boy," "Writer of Songs" album, "Rideau Street Queen," just to mention a few. Basically from Ottawa now but earlier from Quebec, Rostad is one of a handful of Canadian talent whose ever-broadening horizons are taking him from the local to the national scene. It isn't enough to have well intentioned sentiment with his music. The true artist has to be able to write lyrics and melodies that stand up over time. Rostad has that ability. Part of his ability is technique, but Rostad puts a little of his soul into each song he writes. 

Wayne has travelled the country performing to sell-out crowds. Recently he served up the Rostad unique style at the Downs Motor Hotel in Winnipeg to full houses each night. Last August he drew some 2,000 people at his first annual Gatineau Clog that also featured many ot he top award winning Canadian artists. 

It has been a slow climb for Wayne over the years but how he has reached for the sky. I remember the time he took part in a production called "Gander Days" in Newfoundland that drew over 12,000 people. He worked as a disc jockey for a local Newfy radio station in Grand Falls and enthralled everyone he met with his singing and down home stylish fare as he presented himself to the wary Newfoundlanders. Rostad has got what it takes to make it big in the Country Music business and he proved this by winning the 1979 Big Country Outstanding Performance by a Country Male Singer. 


The Duck Donald Bluegrass Band out of Winnipeg is as much at home with a young audience as they are with a more mature group of people. Recently the group has been attending workshops at various schools, bringing country and bluegrass music to the students. On the club circuit the group has been appearing in pubs throughout Western Canada. They are regulars at any number of festivals and bring to their audience an honest, sincere form of music that has made them ever popular with everyone.

Duck Donald (his real name) is the impresario of the group, having been a professional musician for many years. He has toured throughout the United States and Canada. A mastery of the mandolin, guitar, jew's harp and dulcimer, combined with a high tenor voice that can bring tears to your eyes and a vast knowledge of old time bluegrass and country music adds up to the kind of performer you just can't ignore. Darcie Deaville played in Alberta with Village Paint and more recently with the Cathy Fink and Duck Donald Band. She's now blossoming with the new Duck Donald Band. An extraordinary flat picker, she plays lead and rhythm guitar as well as a really hot fiddle. She sings some leads and provides very sweet harmony.Barry Dunford, originally with the Easy Street in Winnipeg, comes to the group from the Blues band, Houndog. He is now the backbone of the Duck Donald Band playing solid bass, singing smooth harmony and occasionally deigning to sing lead on one of his original compositions . . .  which is something to watch.

Truly, Manitobans can be proud of their own bluegrass band out of Winnipeg. They are kept busy and will be adding a great lift to the Call of the Wild Festival this year.

No. . .  The Dixie Flyers are not from the Southern United States. They are one of the most accomplished Bluegrass groups of Canadian origin, working out of London, Ontario and recording for Boot Records. The Flyers have graced many Bluegrass Festival stages throughout Canada and the United States, including Carlisle, Millbrook, Mariposa, Winnipeg, Waterford, Blackfalds, and Hillsburg, just to mention a few. In 1979 the Flyers came West and appeared at the first annual Call of the Wild Mountain Music Festival and were so appreciated they have been invited back numerous times.

They provide a tight rhythm section and an equally proficient instrumental and vocal prowess. Not to be outdone in the humour category, The Flyers havea a certain sense of humour that endears them to crowds of all ages.  Aside from festivals, the group has appeared at universities, clubs, dances and several television appearances including the Ronnie Prophet Show, Tommy Hunter, Sunparlour Country out of Windsor, Ont, George Hamilton IV Show, along with others. The Flyers consist of Bert Baumbach on guitar, Ken Palmer on mandolin, "Deadly" Dave Zdriluk on stand-up bass, David Jack on five-string banjo and Peter Robertson on fiddle.

Aside from performing, the group provides workshops dealing with the functions of instruments, istory of music and the origins of Bluegrass and how it's put together. They provide these demonstrations during noon hours and other free time at various educational institutions. "Many adults don't know where Bluegrass music comes from although most know what it sounds like," said Bert Baumbach. "We have to know a wide variety of music and often we will do Country, novelty tunes, Gospel and even the odd rock and roll song -- Bluegrass style, of course," he said. The Flyers have several albums on Boot Records, including "Cheaper To Lease, Just Pickin'".

Baumbach says Bluegrass is growing in popularity and starting to grow. Although it has American traditions the Flyers do their own Canadian brand of Bluegrass. "We do festivals almost every weekend during the summer and with 18 to 20 festivals every weekend throughout Canada and the United States, this gives us a wide berth as to where we can travel," said Bert. Although the group is kept busy, they do get some time for hobbies which includes fishing, and becoming backyard mechanics.

During the setting up stages of the 1979 Call of the Wild the Flyerscame in early and dug right in to help. They worked on some of the construction jobs and travelled around the area doing promotion for the festival. This shows just what kind of sincere entertainers the boys are and how interested they were to see the festival take off. This year most of the construction is completed and the group will spend more time on promotion, especially in the Roblin, Dauphin and Yorkton areas. They are expected to make several appearances at local clubs, radio and television stations along with record bar appearances in all three centres.

The Dixie Flyers are extremely devoted to the roots of traditional Bluegrass, but rather than allowing this to be an inhibiting factor, they've made the investigation of traditional music something that enriches their own sound and style. This is what makes the Dixie Flyers a truly professional Bluegrass group that through the past five years have taken several top awards in the Bluegrass field. Festival goers can expect this professionalism to ring out loud and clear as the Flyers take to the stage.



Wayne Fehr was born in Altona, Manitoba where he spent the first ten years of his life. During this time he acquired a taste for country music and at the age of nine, his fingers first plucked the strings of a borrowed guitar. It was not until his twelfth Christmas was he to receive his own. Wayne's first public appearance was at the age of 13 when he won a spot on a variety television show by winning an amateur talent contest. At the age of 16, he left school to join a travelling dance band for three years and left in 1969 to form his own group. The group was named the "Spittin' Image." Having the band was one thing but soon it became obvious that Wayne had to get out to promote the group. He travelled from town to town and convinced hotel owners that they needed country music in their establishments. Wayne's approach to the problem worked because they soon had more work than they could handle and were developing quite a following. In 1971, Wayne and Spittin' Image decided to try their luck on the road. They organized an across Canada tour. Initially they met with tremendous success but as time progressed jobs became harder to get and one year after inception the tour and the band disbanded. Wayne arrived back in Manitoba at ta low ebb and found himself out of the music business for two years when he encountered some personal problems.

In 1973 Wayne met his wife Rita and she joined his old group Spittin' Image. This lasted only a few months and Wayne and Rita joined forces with his uncle and formed a group called "The Country Kinfolk." After playing together for a year the Country Kinfolk cut an album which featured two of Wayne's own songs, "The Wedding Song" and "Cajun Lulabyou." The Country Kinfolk continued to play together until the winter of 1976, when coming home from a show they were involved in an automobile accident. Wayne's wife Rita was fatally injured and Wayne was hospitalized with a badly shattered leg. Wayne remained in hospital for six months and it was during this convalescence that he wrote several of the songs that appeared on "Mood Country" his first album on the Sunshine Record label. The songs included Memories, Painted Desert, I will Love You, Talk to Me and First Love. The album was released in January 1977, six months after his release from hospital. Wayne's second album, "Buckskin and Satin" was recorded in early 1978 and released in the fall of the same year.

In 1979 Wayne insisted in organizing the first Call of the Wild Mountain Music Festival with the festival president, Lewis Kaselitz. He appeared at the festival much to the pleasure of some 8,000 people who came. During this time Wayne also wrote "Once In A Lifetime" b/w "Dance Hall Cowboy" which was recorded by Sheila Dawn from Altona, Manitoba. He later wrote Sheila's second release, "First Snow Of The Year" which has appeared on hit parade charts across Canada and on RPM, the official country music hit parade chart for Canada. Wayne had done much to further Sheila's career, especially in the early stages when she was just starting out in the music business. Wayne has become one of Manitoba's most promising Country Music performers, having his songs charted on many country hit parades across Canada.



Portage La Prairie born Dale Russell is more of a craftsman than a poet and his albums have put into practice his theories about songwriting. Some of his songs tell stories and may even contain a moral. "There are songs that were simply fun to do because I was able to play the words and make the most extensive use of the melody lines," Dale said. "Billy Bottle" is partly fact and partly fiction. "Billy is in part a mythical character every musician has run into in one bar or another. But its also about white man's injustice against the Indians," he said.

Dale is a genuinely talented individual who happens to write and sing some fine contemporary country songs. He's refreshing, comforting and personable as a musician as well as an individual. "I like an active role and when I'm not performing, I like to produce and write," he said.

Aside from the record business Dale is busy with studio work, some commercials, producing albums and looking after a publishing house that is mainly geared to Western Canada and Ontario. He admits he opened his publishing house in order to protect his own material. "I believe in people and  performing for them," he said. The market for music is North America and he believes in being a Canadian. . . "but the market is ten times bigger south of the 49th," he said. "But, I am a Canadian and a Manitoba boy. . . the important thing is that I know who I am and what I want to remain. . . a Canadian," Russell said.

Russell has appeared in many clubs, concerts and variety shows starting first in the Folk music field. But he has been able to adapt to any type of music and has tried rock, jazz and country. He considers himself a country music performer and enjoys doing that the best. Last year he did a great job at the Call of the Wild Mountain Music Festival and later in September was showcased in Toronto at the Country Music Week awards program. He appeared at Diamond Lil's being backed up by Red Wyng with Laura Vinsen. He even has a fan club that was organzied recently and information on this can be found by contacting Sunshine Records. 

"The fruition of my dreams took a long time, and the future looks promising, however, it could have never been realized without the help of numerous musicians who've influenced me and taught me. I owe them a great deal," said Dale. To musicians, "making it" means a recording contract, choice concert dates and an easing off of dues. Music, then, becomes a hustler's business, where the prerequisite is natural curiosity and a willingness to gamble. "Curiosity and a desire to learn and experience the essence of every kind of music style always pays off. If you're the least bit competent in each style, it means you're a better musician. In turn, it means you're in more demand than the musician who may stick to the one style," said Dale. During the early years Dale was well rooted in country music but soon moved to other styles. He won a Manitoba-wide music competition and was voted the year's most promising young musician. The prize was a recording contract which never materialized, but this did not discourage the young musician enough to alter his course.

A family man with a little girl, Dale was never without a gig, and for a while seeing Dale with his guitar case seemed as natural as a prairie winter. Dale spent two seasons with Sounds Country, a regionally broadcast program based on the Grand Ole Opry concept which was taped for the Winnipeg CTV affiliate. Personally he likes fishing and water skiing. "I don't like to kill things so I don't do much hunting," he said. He continually learns from his peers and guitar masters and is surely destined to greater things in the very near future.


Up until a few months ago, Stoneground could only be heard on back porches and in living rooms. Times have changed and they are getting around more. The group consists of Orlo Sukkau on banjo, Ed Penner is on mandolin, Tom Janzen is on bass while Gord Johnson plays guitar for the group.

The group is basically from rural Manitoba although Johnson hails from Ottawa and has been in Manitoba for two years now. During the 1979 Festival Stoneground appeared as the Tom Janzen Band and did an excellent blend of Country, Bluegrass and Gospel music. 
Stoneground exemplifies the fine quality of home-grown Canadian talent that is so abundant throughout Manitoba.



Entertaining is a way of life for many Maritimers and Cape Breton's Cornelia and Billy MacLeod fell into that way of life naturally. Cornelia started at a young age, coming from a musical family and played variety shows and dances during her teen years. She started playing piano when she was four years old and it was a normal thing for the family to get together every night for a jam session.

Billy picked up the guitar for something to do since the family had no television and little money for other entertainment. After graduating from the U.S. School of Music correspondence course he found some friends needed a bass player for their band and he took the job. Bill knew Cornelia in high school and later this relationship blossomed into a romance and eventual marriage. After the two were married Billy worked at the mill and Cornelia taught school, having graduated from university and teachers college with a specialty in music. Later the same year the duo went to Germany for three weeks on their first engagement by the Canadian government at the International Tourism Fair. Upon their return a Montreal agency signed them to a three month engagement in Morocco which proved to be a sad experience for them. They lost a lot of money, their equipment, but according to Cornelia, "we learned more with that experience than we would learn in 10 years of entertaining in Canada."

This Cape Breton Duo has been on the road for the past six years after spending two years working weekends around Nova Scotia. To their credit they have the Calgary Stampede, Klondike Days, International Tourism Fair, Cape Breton's Tarbot Folk Festival, the Atlantic Folk Festival and a host of clubs and taverns. The duo churns out great country sounds as well as many favourite folk pieces that keeps any audience on their toes. They specialize in Maritime music and many of the top country hits, throwing in a few of their own. Cornelia recorded her first album in French, bringing a different dimension to the music business and both have recorded country singles on the Audio Atlantic and Solar record labels. For the future the Duo hope to record an album of original material. "It's tough to find a good label and get a release," said Cornelia during a recent interview. Television is something else they want to get into more, "but that too is tough," said Billy. The Duo have appeared on Sing Along Jubilee and Country Time in the past. Their long-term goal is to get out of the club circuit in the next five years and to do more one-nighters and festivals. They also want to do more writing and are slowly getting into publishing now. As for hobbies, Cornelia enjoys sewing and Billy likes golf, water skiing and leather work. "Time doesn't allow us hobbies right now," said Cornelia. "There's always something to do during the day and we are on stage six nights a week. I really want to take some time to learn the fiddle though." "One thing that is very satisfying is the feeling that since I have an education, I can always go back to teaching if something goes sour in the entertainment business," said Cornelia. Both Cornelia and Billy also have that degree of humour that is emblematic of the East Coast entertainer. . .  something that any audience appreciates. It's just another dimension of this great duo.



The Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Boys originally formed several years ago, but it is only in the past few years the Boys have really begun "playing around." Since then it is a rare sight if, at a bluegrass festival or jam, they are not headline performers. Working out of their Abbotsford, B.C. base, the Boys can be found at the two major festivals in Washington state. They have appeared at the Whitehorse Mountaineers festival in Darrington, Washington, as well as at their monthly jam. They were invited to compete in the band contest at the annual Mount Vernon Washington festival, and facing very stiff competition, from an all American field, from as far away as North Carolina. The Boys walked away with the top award in the band competition. In this competition there were some 30 bluegrass groups, all American. The Rocky Mountain group were the only Canadians in the competition.

Closer to home, they are at the fore in the growing British Columbia bluegrass scene. They have been featured performers and continually invited back at festivals in Coombs, B.C. and shared the stage with Larry McNeally at the Hemlock Valley festival sponsored by Labatt's. In the off season they can be found playing to appreciative crowds at local pubs and fiddler's conventions, as well as at their own monthly jam sessions which they hold to encourage the growth of bluegrass music in Canada.

The group is comprised of David Bell, originally from London, Ontario. Dave started playing bass at 15 years of age near the beginning of the folk festival revival. He quickly switched to guitar and has only returned to the bass after joining the group a few years ago. Dwayne Gear, originally of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan is the guitarist. With the group only a year, Dwayne's fine tenor and lead singing has given the Boys that real mountain feeling. This is understandable since he learned much from "the masters" in North Carolina and Georgia. He's no slouch at playing the Herrington either. The grandpappy of the group and the one who put it all together is the fine mandolin player, Brian Hartwig, originally of Sherbrooke, Quebec. Beginning as a mandolin player several years ago when bluegrass music was unheard of in British Columbia, Brian has shown many the light. A new banjo player has been added since the exit of Phil Wiebbe. Little information is available at the present time on the new banjo player so readers will have to wait until the Festival to learn more about him.



The toe tapping of a boot; the accelerating fingers; the rapid action of the bow and the sound of astonishing tones flowing like heat waves on a hot summer day; combined with a short quick smile and the wink of the eye basically sums up Reg Bouvette and his fiddle music. In 1967, Reg renewed his career professionally with the release of a single called Reginald's Waltz. This waltz was later recorded by Don Messer and Andy Dejarlis. In 1968, Reg was playing pubs with a group called the Rhythm Rangers and running his own trucking firm as well, In 1972 Reg sold out his business and began playing full time. In 1973-1975 Reg won the Manitoba Fiddling Championship. 

Reg Bouvette has toured most of Canada's major cities playing at rodeos, concerts, dances and special events, such as the Commonwealth Games, Klondike Days, The Pas Trapper's Festival and the Call of the Wild Festival. To date Reg has to his credit three albums recorded by Sunshine Records, which feature many of his own compositions. The albums are titled Home Brew, Red River Jig, and Looking Back. These albums encompass a cross section of fine old time bluegrass and country fiddling. The end result being a sound totally unique to Reg Bouvette.

Reg Bouvette is a four-time Manitoba fiddling champion, a winner, participant and judge at numerous National and International fiddling contests.  Reg's weathered, leathery face hs been peering over the top of a fiddle for more than thirty five years. Hailed as a major contributor to Canadian country music, Reg Bouvette has recorded for the first time in recording history and authoritative survey of traditional "Old Tyme" Canadian fiddling and country tunes. "Finger snappin'"; toe tappin', fiddle music at its very best is what Reg Bouvette is all about.

Lonestar Cattle Company is a five-piece country rock act from BC's Okanagan Valley. They have become a top-drawing attraction in major Western Canada clubs such as Calgary's Ranchman's and Vancouver's Cowboys. Along with club dates, they also perform at festivals, music talent conferences in Calgary and Oregon, and the prestigious Nashville Fanfare.

Group  personnel consist of Gaylord Wood on lead guitar, fiddle and lead vocals; Tim Newcombe on rhythm guitar and lead vocals; Tim Vogt on bass guitar and harmony; Buzz Byer on pedal steel and Sheldon Scott on drums. Lonestar Cattle Company performs a wide variety of country music material, from Rodney Crowell to Hank Williams, Bob Wills to Marshal Tucker, as well as original tunes. Whatever the tune, they're bound to make Festival goers smile with their sweet country rhythms and high energy foot stompin' music.


Gene Bretecher of Winnipeg, Manitoba, arrived at the Call of the Wild Festival in an unopposing manner. ONe might think he was just an ordinary businessman coming to  enjoy a weekend of camping and fun. But that thought was immediately dispelled when took to the stage with his five string banjo. His fingersraced across the strings like a lightning bolt making the mellowist sounds anyone could imagine. He is one of the top five string banjo players in Canada and possesses a unique sound and style.

Gene has taken this sound and style and captured it very vividly on his Sunshine Record album "Banjo Holiday." Although the album is not pure bluegrass, the unique blend is almost native to this area of the country. He is an ongoing student of bluegrass and folk styles in general and hosts a regular show on the subject weekly on CHMM-FM radio in Winnipeg. Gene is also in great demand, not only as a musician with various groups but aslo as a record session player. He has appeared all over North America and has appeared regularly at festivals throughout the summer months. 

But, the banjo is not his whole life. Gene is a successful businessman and is the Manager of the Assiniboine Credit Union in the City of Winnipeg. This has placed him in good stead with his peers who not only recognize his prowess  as a musician but respect his success in business.

A new face to the festival scene this year will be 28 year-old Tim Erickson of Winnipeg, Manitoba who will perform a somewhat forgotten type of country music known as "Country Blues." Tim has been entertaining for about 15 years but not professionally for nine years. In the earlier days Tim played with a rock group and later in coffee houses around Winnipeg. He is in the process of putting a trio together and hopes it will be ready for the Call of the Wild Festival. 

Tim also plays the mouth harp and enjoys music by Ray Charles, Mississippi John Hurt and Elvis Presley. He will bring to the festival a dimension of country music little heard lately and should prove to be a fine added attraction to the festival line-up of stars. Last year he performed during the amateur hour sponsored by the festival and did a fine job. The amateur hour will be featured again this year, opening the way for new bluegrass and country performers to show their stuff. Aside from being a singer, guitar and harp player, Tim is also a song writer having penned "Just Leave Me" which he will perform at the festival. Tim is married and has one daughter. They all plant to attend this year's festival. 


On the morning of a mid-summer solstice, the Earl of Dunleath was awakened by the sweet strains of musical melody adrift on the fragrant air and wafting through the rich tapestry which covered the heavy stone window. "By the mad mistral winds that sweep the East Eden," he cried, "Who goeth there?" He threw back the embroidered tapestry to behold four of his peasants dallying in sweet repose, humbly issuing forth sweet strains of runic rhyme from lute and base and drum. The Earl of Dunleath was angered and the stout-heared yeomen of Dunleath were forced to vacate the lands and go dwell with the kindly Earl of Brown in the next county. This displeased the Earl of Dunleath and a magician was sent to imprison their souls in a hard substance, which they did. But years have passed and descendants studied the ancient ore to revive the Dunleathian spirits.

In this modern time, a four-piece group with musical tastes between country and bluegrass has nudged their way forward to entertain many residents of Saskatchewan and western Canada. The name, "Dunleath" is derived from a small hamlet in Southeastern Saskatchewan not far from the Manitoba border. Some of the members of the group reside in Dunleath, Saskatchewan, while others live in Saskatoon. 

The group consists of Randall Torrie on drums, Brent Brown on lead guitar and vocals. Bruce Brown on bass and lead vocals, while Wes McDonnell plays acoustic guitar and sings as well. This group has recorded an album on the "Dunleath" label and are in the process of working up material for a new album. They are heralded as one of the top up-and-coming groups in Saskatchewan and will be making their first appearance at the Call of the Wild Festival. 

1. Call of the Wild Introduction
2. Festival Memories ~ Behind the Scenes
3. Early Beginnings
4. Don Ross Scrapbook
5. Performer Profiles I
6. Performer Profiles II
7. Photo Gallery

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Copyright 2001/2004/2011 Bill Hillman