Sunday, December 20, 2009

Newfoundland Bluegrass Pioneer Dies

A bluegrass pioneer and legend in the province has passed away. Rex Yetman was born in Jamestown, Newfoundland and was best known as the mandolinist from the York County Boys, Canada's First Bluegrass Group. For nearly 60 years, he played and sang bluegrass music. Yetman first heard bluegrass music as a child from the Grand Ole Opry on his family's radio, but it wasn't until he moved to Ontario that he started to play. In 1953 Yetman met a fiddler named John McManaman. The two would sneak backstage and get musicians to teach them how to play. Along with guitarist Mike Cameron, fiddler Brian Barron and bassist Fred "Dusty" Legere, they became known as The York County Boys. They appeared on shows like The Tommy Hunter Show, Carl Smith's Country Music Hall, and were once opening acts for Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. In 2006, Yetman won an East Coast Music Award for Bluegrass Recording of the year as part of the band Crooked Stovepipe. Yetman passed away on Friday, he was 76. His funeral will take place Monday at St. James Anglican Church in Jamestown.

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