ART SIMPSON (1990 Inductee)

Art was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on March 19th, 1921, and shortly after, moved to the Ottawa Valley. He received his first guitar at age 14 and was very soon playing in dance halls and clubs. This was the start of a long career in music.

He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 and was stationed in Shelbourne, Nova Scotia. While serving there, he was a guitar player in the Air Force Band.

Returning to Ottawa in 1946, Art played a leading roll in forming a show called the Bytown Jamboree, based out of the old Auditorium on Argyle Street. They also would take the show on the road, visiting small towns all over the Ottawa Valley.

In Sept 1949, he was offered an opportunity to play steel guitar for the legendary Eddy Arnold. Unfortunately, due to family obligations, he had to decline.

In the early 1950s, his band, "The Valley Pals", was working very regularly with the Bytown Jamboree show and backed some of Nashville’s best, including Doc Williams, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Ernest Tubb, Smiley Burnett, Grandpa Jones, and the great Hank Williams.

In the mid 1950s, along with Vince Lebeau, Paul Landry, Orval Prophet, and Champ Champagne, Art entered a talent contest at the Old Auditorium. In front of 4500 spectators and competing against 20 other top acts, they took home the first place prize. This was a very proud moment for Art and the group.

Over the years, Art performed with a number of Ottawa Valley bands playing pedal steel guitar, lead guitar and bass guitar, and was one of the early pioneers in the Ottawa Valley music scene.

In August of 1998, Art died of Huntington’s Disease, and left behind a career that lasted over 55 years.

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