Gallant, Gordon

Gordon Gallant was born in St. Charles to parents James and Olive Gallant. Gordon is very talented and can play the fiddle, guitar and sing. Gordon started playing the Hawaiian guitar on his own when he was ten years old that was given to him by his father James and he still has it till this day. His first gig would have been when he was ten, as his father used to play the fiddle for school dances so Gordon joined him on guitar and has played ever since. James Gallant would be paid three dollars regardless of where he played for profit. 

At the age of fourteen, Gorden met his lifelong love to be, Helena Holland from North lake, who was twelve at the time. Helena was the daughter of Frank and Mary Holland. Helena also had music in her family and she had been playing the pump organ since she was ten years old. She started out as a child practicing on her own until she picked up the chords and then started singing. One fond memory of Helena’s is when she was in Montague and spotted a red guitar at Peppler’s store hanging up on the wall. She admired the guitar and asked about it. Peppler mentioned that there were two people in before her that wanted the guitar. He told Helena “take it home and pay for it when you can. You are an honest person and you will be back”. Helena could not believe her ears as she did not have two cents on her at that time. That very same red guitar has since been passed down to her son Kevin and she still feels the same as the day she received it.

Gordon and Helena married on August 31st, 1952. They lived in St. Charles for some time before moving to Cardigan Head in 1969. In 1971 Gordon started his first band, “The Rovers Four,” with Chester Llewellyn, Viola Fisher, Art MacSwain and daughter Maxine Gallant. Their first performance was at the Kingsway Motel of that year and drew in a huge crowd. At that time “The Rovers Four” was the only country band that was around in the community. Gordon can remember being nervous playing the first night with the large crowd that was gathered as people were lined up at the door with no more seating and were even sitting on each other’s lap! 

Gordon and Helena raised their four children around music when they were young and it still follows them all till this day. Their daughter Maxine MacLeod has been singing since she could walk, explains her mother. Maxine has many albums out and was nominated for three EMCA’s. Their daughter Bermuda also sings but does not perform in public but rather with the family. Kevin and Glenn both sing and play the guitar. Kevin writes and records his own songs for people he knows mostly. The music in the family lives on through them.

Gordon’s last band, “Keep it country,” included Jack Myers, Lowie Langille and John Hume. They played their last performance for an anniversary in July, 2010. He has also won the Stompin Tom award in 2000 and attended the award ceremony in Sydney. Gordon continues on his own time at performing gigs at the Riverview Manor, Gillis Lodge, Souris Manor and many other senior lodgings in the community. I asked him if he missed being in a band and he asked me not to mention it and laughed. The reason he had chosen to play these small gigs are because, he comments “I miss it as it was all my life”. Gordon has a CD released dedicated to all his Saturday night performances, “All my Saturday Nights”. On the CD he wrote a song for his wife Helena, his greatest support, called “My wife” and praises her for all the years they had together. Gordon mentioned that Helena attended as many nights as she could when he performed missing not very many over the years. The CD can be purchased at Stewart and Becks Montague, Montague Craft Shop, Souris Coop and you can contact him at home with the number in the phone book.

Click the link below to hear Gordon play "Honkey Tonk Angels"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpRc3LXJ6us&feature=player_detailpage

Written by: Crystal Callaghan from the memories of Gordon Gallant

In Partnership with