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An afternoon of classic country and square dancing

An afternoon of classic country and square dancing

The sounds of old-time country music, accompanied by some good, ol’ fashioned square dancing, will abound as the Golden Country Classics Band visits the Commercial Tavern on Feb. 21.

Band member Rod Salisbury says this will be the first time the five-piece band has played the Maryhill venue, where country music is always on tap.

“The atmosphere is so down to earth, comfortable and a very welcoming feeling,” Salisbury said.

Salisbury plays piano, Lionel Gidney is on bass, Sam Leitch plays fiddle, Wib Tupling is their rhythm guitarist, and Brian Stevenson rounds out the band, keeping time on the drums.

The band formed about eight years ago. Since then, one band member has passed, Tom Neelands, who was their original rhythm guitarist.

Salisbury first learned how to play the piano and fiddle in 1994 and started performing with a group of musicians every month at a fundraising jamboree in Caledon, including current band drummer Stevenson. A few years later they added another monthly jamboree to their agenda in Alton, and another in Erin a couple years after that.

The band officially formed due to Neelands wanting them to play at the Erin Fall Fair, which has become an annual event for them.

“We’re going to have old time country music, fiddle, piano, vocals as well. And there will be square dancing. A lot of people don’t do it anymore. And when there’s people who still do it they want to go out and participate,” Salisbury said.

The Commercial Tavern welcomes the Golden Country Classics Band to Maryhill next weekend for an afternoon of country music and square dancing.[Submitted]
The Commercial Tavern welcomes the Golden Country Classics Band to Maryhill next weekend for an afternoon of country music and square dancing. [Submitted]

Some of the music they cover include Hank Williams, Charlie Walker, Charlie Pride, and Tommy Jackson-style fiddle. The fiddling will be performed by Leitch, who used to tour with Stompin’ Tom Connors, and recorded two albums with him.

Salisbury notes the old country music is all about weaving a good tale.

“It tells a story, whether it be hurtin’, cryin’, there’s not much cheerful in country music. It will be an afternoon for all ages to come out and hear,” Salisbury said.

It’s likely they’ll feel right at home in Maryhill, as they’re all “farm boys,” Salisbury adds.

And the connection to the old hotel isn’t just through a love of quality country tunes. Leitch also just so happens to be tavern owner Paul Weber’s father-in-law. Weber’s wife Donna will even make an appearance on piano.

“We really enjoy Paul’s style of music and him and his family as a whole, great musicians as well,” Salisbury said.

They perform a few times a month at barbeques, dances, jamborees, and always at the Caledon Fair. They’ve even played for former Ontario premier David Peterson. And Salisbury promises it will be a toe-tapping good time.

“If you’re a lover of old-time country music straight from the heart, that’s how we play,” Salisbury said.

Doors open at the Commercial Tavern on Feb. 21 at 2:30 p.m. The show runs from 3-6 p.m. and cover is $10. For a full list of upcoming shows visit www.commercialtavern.ca.

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