Gary Greene of Lower Argyle, Yarmouth County, is slated to be inducted Sept. 16 in Truro, one of five to enter the Hall of Fame this year. Greene says he was surprised when he got the news but that he is very appreciative.
A former Maritime old-time fiddling champion – a title he won in 1994 – Greene was asked to recall how he first got into music.
“My mother and father told me that they had me start playing the piano when I was four years old,” he said, “but I never started playing the violin – which is what I mainly play now – until I was 12.”
He remembers “a second cousin on my father’s side” playing the fiddle at square dances, which Greene says is how he started to develop an interest in it.
He also became a fan of Don Messer, saying he never wanted to miss a second of Messer’s television show, which for years was one of Canada’s most popular TV programs.
Greene recalls taking a break from the fiddle from his late teens until perhaps the age of 30 or so, a period during which he played in a number of rock-and-roll and country-rock groups. (His band mates included his brother Duke, another well-known local musician.)
Greene eventually went back to the fiddle, however, and over the years he has played at many events and venues, including the Grand Masters fiddling event in Ottawa, where he played several times and was one of the judges one year.
“That was sort of a highlight for me, that they would select me to judge,” he said.
Greene plays, or has played, a number of instruments – including piano, bass, guitar and mandolin – and he has released four CDs, recordings on which he played everything himself.
Said Garry d’Entremont, who nominated Greene for the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame, “I have known Gary for a very long time and, through his extensive music activity, he is very well known throughout the Maritimes and beyond. He is considered an expert in his music and in his fiddle playing.”
Greene says he still plays the fiddle quite a bit. During a typical practice session, he says he might do 20 or 25 tunes. You may catch him at a festival here or there.
“I love it,” he said.