Ned Landry

Ned Landry, Fiddler

Ned Landry

Ned Landry was born in 1921 in Saint John. He was a multitalented musician known for his skill in fiddling, composing, and singing. Despite teaching himself to play the violin as a young boy, Landry first gained public attention in 1934 as a harmonica player on Don Messer’s CHSJ radio show ‘Backwoods Breakdown’.

In 1939, Ned Landry and the New Brunswick Lumberjacks placed second in CBS radio’s ‘Major Bowes’ Amateur Hour’ in New York. He then made history as the first old-time fiddler to perform on television in Boston. Landry recorded eight LPs for RCA Victor, as well as albums for Arc, MMC, Afton, his own Landry label, and Prime Time. 

Major Bowes Amateur Hour 1935
Major Bowes Amateur Hour 1935

A frequent winner in the open class of the Canadian Open Old Time Fiddlers’ Contests, Landry appeared on various radio and TV shows throughout the 1950s and 1960s, including CFBC radio, Saint John, and ‘Don Messer’s Jubilee’. He traveled extensively throughout Canada, performing his several hundred fiddle tunes, composed in various Canadian styles. Some of his most popular titles include Ontario Swing, Bowin’ the Strings, and Hillbilly Calypso.

In recognition of his contributions to Canadian music, Ned Landry was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1991. He continued to perform at festivals, including those for the Prince of Wales in Fredericton and Walt Disney World in Florida. In 2002, he received the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award at the East Coast Music Association Awards, as well as a lifetime contribution award from the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship, which now offers a trophy named after him. He was also inducted into the North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame. Landry remained active in his career, composing new fiddle tunes such as his “Governor General’s Waltz,” and recording music. His archives are held at the National Library of Canada. Ned Landry died in 2018 in Saint John.

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