WILF ARSENAULT (1993 Inductee)

Wilf Arsenault was born in the little town of Egmont Bay, Prince Edward Island in the mid-1930's and became interested in guitar and country music early in life, listening to CJRW Summerside and WWVA Wheeling, West Virginia. Radio was the big thing then and, with the help of his parish priest, Father Charles, Wilf even pressed a little record that was played on the radio in his local community. Wilf worked church suppers, square dances and jamborees in his home area throughout his teens and moved to Ottawa in the Fall of 1960.

After meeting country artist Ralph Carlson, Wilf began working in the Ottawa area, playing the old Chamberland Hotel in Aymer, Quebec where he backed Hugh Scott for a number of years and recorded two albums with Hugh. He also played guitar with a number of Pop bands such as the Len Weeks Orchestra. Wilf is one of the few country guitarists who can play Jazz and Big Band with the best of them.

In 1975, Wilf, his wife Kitty, daughter Kim, and son Stephen, returned to Prince Edward Island to live but, less than two years later, they were back, having missed the Ottawa Valley, where they decided to resettle permanently.

There probably is not an Ottawa Valley singer that Wilf hasn’t worked with at some time in his long career. As well, he has played guitar behind some of the "classic country" artists such as Doc Williams, Dave Dudley, Mac Wiseman and Hal Lone Pine and has recorded on the Rodeo, Melbourne and Snocan labels. In previous years, he worked extensively with Bob Sally and Good Tyme Country and, in 1986, joined Ralph Carlson & Country Mile. When Country Mile disbanded in 1998, Wilf joined with Ralph and Doug Sinclair to form W.R.D., a strong traditional country trio conceived by Shirley Sinclair. Ralph passed away in October 2002, but W.R.D. continues to play regular dates at Legions and other venues in and around Ottawa.

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