George Hector was born in 1911 in Elm Hill, near Gagetown, as the only boy among five children to LeBaron Hector and Jessie Haines. His great grandfather received a grant deeded by a Peterson family member when they arrived in the area from the US during the Civil War. Growing up in Gagetown’s diverse population, George was nurtured by his parents, both of whom were singers, to develop his musical talents. His father held various jobs, including sawing ice, driving cattle, working as a deckhand, and farming.
George’s interest in music was sparked by his mother, who played the accordion. He became captivated by the banjo at a young age, and his father bought him a second-hand banjo, though he never took lessons.
Later in life, George worked as a chauffeur for the late Howard P. Robinson, earning $22.50 a week and the nickname “The Singing Chauffeur.”
An influential local musician in the East Coast country music scene, George Hector is remembered for his contributions to community events, radio, and later television.
He started by playing local barn dances as a part-time hobby for minimal pay, quickly becoming a community favorite. His regular appearances at these events led to greater opportunities, such as the “Don Messer Radio Show” in 1934 and his own “Maritime Farmer Barn Dance show” on CHSJ radio, which began in 1938 and ran for twenty years. The Maritime Farmers later transitioned to television, maintaining their popular show for an additional six years.
In 1966, George moved to Toronto, where he worked a day job and played clubs at night. In the 1970s, he performed a one-man show featuring patter, jokes, and sing-alongs.
Hector’s only album, released in 1982, featured banjo-led instrumentals with Ned Landry on the fiddle and some original songs sung by George. He later released a cassette in the 1980s titled “Further Along,” but the majority of Hector’s performances took place at local fairs and square dances he helped keep alive.
George Hector was likely the first Africadian to have a regular spot on Maritime television and possibly the first to record an album since the departure of the Bohee Brothers from New Brunswick nearly a century earlier.
George Hector passed away on October 17, 2004, at the age of 93.
A prominent figure in New Brunswick country music, Hector was inducted into the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame and received the ECMA’s Stompin’ Tom Award.
This post has already been read 2988 times!