fbpx
-4.5 C
Elmira
Monday, December 16, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

An album to call his own

TRENDING

Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new family...

Talking sports, and then some

If you’re looking for an in-depth analysis of major sports leagues, the On the Rise podcast has got...

News Briefs

Woolwich nixes traffic islands Displeased with the troublesome pedestrian islands installed during the Region of Waterloo’s reconstruction of Church Street...

Police out in force with RIDE programs through the holidays

With the holidays just weeks away, police have their festive RIDE program in full swing. Police services across...

THIS WEEK

Elmira
overcast clouds
-4.5 ° C
-2.8 °
-6.7 °
85 %
2.1kmh
90 %
Mon
1 °
Tue
-1 °
Wed
-4 °
Thu
-11 °
Fri
-4 °

He’s appeared on radio and television, been a member of a variety of bands, performed with the symphony and contributed to piles of albums. But fiddler Mike Slauenwhite had never made a record of his own. Now, at 74, he’s done just that.

Mixing It Up came at the impetus of Floradale music producer Lynn Russwurm, a longtime collaborator who calls Slauenwhite a gem of a player who never sought the limelight.

Fiddler Mike Slauenwhite has been playing since the age of eight, and has performed classical, country and Broadway music for decades.
Fiddler Mike Slauenwhite has been playing since the age of eight, and has performed classical, country and Broadway music for decades.

Unheralded, perhaps, but not unknown to aficionados. A Kitchener native, he’s spent his life playing in the area. Those who saw the Westernaires years ago have heard his fiddle work. Having evolved into the Silver Bar Ranch Boys, the band spent three seasons on CKCO-TV, beginning in 1954 – one of the station’s earliest shows. The show aired every Saturday evening from 7-7:30 p.m.

Slauenwhite also appeared on CBC, radio and television. Many nights of the week, you’d find him performing with Clarence Petrie and The Nighthawks. Later, he was part of the Barn Dance Band, an outfit with a long history, and ties to Russwurm.

He wasn’t always decked out for a hoedown, however, having spent almost 20 years in the string section of the K-W Symphony Orchestra.

Through it all, he’s maintained a love of music and the instrument he began playing at the age of eight. Even now, being treated for cancer, he still gets out to play. That includes dropping in to jam at the Commercial Tavern in Maryhill, which will host his CD release party Apr. 11.

“I still enjoy playing, for sure. I’ve always enjoyed playing. I never pursued it solely as a profession, but it’s been a very good part-time job,” he laughed.

Modesty and the drive to keep a day job in support of a wife and four children kept Slauenwhite from getting the kind of recognition he deserves, suggested Russwurm. The two first played together back in the 1950s.

“Mike is suffering from cancer, and we thought we’d record this for him – he’s never had an album for himself,” Russwurm said of the Mixing It Up. “It’s something to record his great playing; something for his kids, his family.”

The CD features 14 songs – including “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You,” “San Antonio Rose” and “Lady Be Good” – that Slauenwhite and Russwurm felt would be indicative of his country fiddling.
“These are tunes that I’ve played for a long time,” said Slauenwhite.

“I have to give credit for this to Lynn – he’s really been pushing this. I guess I’m not a great self-promoter,” he added, again laughing.

In recording the album, Slauenwhite also enjoyed something of a walk down memory lane. Russwurm played bass and rhythm guitar. On Dobro and guitar was Robert Tremblay, who first joined him on stage in the mid-1950s (they were both with the Silver Bar Ranch Boys as teenagers). Another collaborator of many years, Ron Coulthard, contributed piano and guitar. Wellesley’s Grant Heywood, of the celebrated Heywood Family, played drums. The only newcomer was Darin Parise on banjo and flat top.

“I’m really happy with how it turned out,” Slauenwhite said of the album. “I’ve been getting some nice comments about it.”

The CD release party for Mixing It Up is set for Apr. 11, 2-5 p.m., at the Commercial Tavern in Maryhill. Along with Mike and some of those from the CD, other guess acts will be performing that day.

1 COMMENT

  1. Michael is a violinist Par Excellance! He is gifted, talented and very humble.He has a wonderful sense of humor and is a warm and caring person. He once told me, “I am just a simple man”. Michael has played his violin for me, over his computer at a time when I was coping with recovery from ill health and the loss through death of the love of my life. I lived in Missouri and he was in Canada. I will never forget the many, many times he would play whatever I requested. I am fortunate and blessed to know this special person.

Comments are closed.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

LIVING HERE

Embracing the trappings of the season, writ large

A local decorator has transformed her Wellesley property into a winter wonderland, carrying on a decade-long tradition for a good cause. The final product is truly a festive sight, featuring...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Kings take two of three in a busy weekend schedule

It was a mixed bag for the Sugar Kings, who won two out of their three games during a busy weekend that saw...

Buddy’s trek from the North Pole brings him to the stage in Cambridge

They’ll be no rest for Santa after his big day December 25, as he’ll be on stage into the new year due to...

The trek south was long and gruelling, but they’ll do it again

It was a long haul complete with many hurdles, but having completed the 4,300-kilometre ultra-marathon last month, organizers are already planning for the next...

Christmas is definitely a spectacle in this show

Requiring the efforts of several performing groups and a host of singers, dancers and musicians, the Yuletide Spectacular Christmas show offers up everything short...

Talking sports, and then some

If you’re looking for an in-depth analysis of major sports leagues, the On the Rise podcast has got you covered.
- Advertisement -