Gary Fjellgaard. Singer-songwriter, guitarist, b Rose Valley, central Saskatchewan, of Norwegian descent, 14 Aug 1937. He performed intermittently (eg, in 1958 as Gary "Rock and Roll" Rogers with Evan Kemp and the BC Trailriders) while working in the logging industry near Prince George, BC. Forced by a back injury to quit logging, Fjellgaard turned exclusively to music in 1970. Although his songs and singing style show the influence of contemporary folk music, drawing comparisons to Gordon Lightfoot, his success came largely in country music, taking him from bars and coffeehouses in Western Canada in the early 1970s to country and folk festivals and concert stages nationally by the late 1980s. He made several appearances 1988 and 1989 in Europe and received the Gram Award (Holland) in 1989 as most promising new international artist.
The 1990s and Beyond
Through the 1990s Fjellgaard continued recording and touring, and signed with Edmonton's Stony Plain Records in 1996. He teamed with fellow singer-songwriter Valdy in 1999, a partnership that proved very popular with audiences throughout Canada and the US; the duo continue to perform together and have recorded two albums (2000, 2007). Fjellgaard has produced CDs of cowboy songs under his own label, Slim Creek Music, and he continues to record and perform. Fjellgaard has appeared at the Big Valley Jamboree, the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, and Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and he has toured with Johnny Cash and Ronnie Prophet.
Fjellgaard's influences include Wilf Carter. In addition, he draws from his own country background to write songs that capture the essence and romance of cowboy life. Fjellgaard is an accomplished singer and guitarist, and his skilled yodelling is a popular part of his live performances.
Awards and Recordings
Fjellgaard has won Canadian Country Music Association awards, including song of the year for the single "Riding on the Wind" (1985), and for the song "Heroes" (a hit as recorded by the Mercey Brothers); as best male vocalist of the year (1989); and for best duo (1989) with Linda Hunt, his partner in the hit "The Moon Is Out to Get Me," which was also recorded by George Hamilton IV in 1995. He won further awards for his collaborations with Linda Hunt in 1990 and 1992 as well. He was named male vocalist of the year three years in a row at the CARAS West Coast Tribute Awards (1987, 1988, 1989). Fjellgaard was also named best male vocalist of the year by the British Columbia Country Music Association (1984, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1993), which in 2004 inducted him into the BCCMA Hall of Fame. He received the BCCMA entertainer of the year award twice (1990, 1992) and received a Juno Award as country male vocalist of the year (1993). Fjellgaard was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
Popular Fjellgaard singles include "Caribou to Nashville" (1978), "Ten Years Old and Barefoot" (1982), "Finest Dancer" (1983), "Walk in the Rain Tonight" (1987), "The Colour of Your Collar" (1989), "Somewhere on the Island" and another duet with Linda (Hunt) Kidder, "In My Heart" (1990), as well as "Dance with This Old Cowboy" (1991), and "Drifting Cowboy" (1992).
Me and Martin. (1976). Royalty R2000-24
Ballads and Beer. (1979). Royalty R2000-36
Time and Innocence. (1983). Slim Creek SCR-323/Savannah SRL-9832
No Time to Lose. (1986). Savannah SRL-9826
Heart of a Dream. (1989). Savannah SRL-9833
Winds of October. (1991). Savannah SRL-9837
Believe in Forever. (1994). Savannah SRL-9845
Under Western Skies. (1996) Stony Plain SPCD-1226
The Best of Gary Fjellgaard. (1997). Stony Plain SPCD-1241
Contenders: A Duet with Valdy. (2000). Stony Plain SPCD-1262
Grande Olde Ride. (2001). Slim Creek Music SCM-11
Caragana Wind. (2005). Slim Creek Music SCR-12
Contenders Two: Still in the Running. (2007). Stony Plain SPCD-1321
All in the Journey. (2009). Slim Creek Music SCR-14