“Ironically, while female country artists appeared more frequently on the country hit charts in the 1970’s, only ONE of more than 50 who made their chart debuts during the ENTIRE DECADE, earned a #1 DEBUT hit, and that was achieved by Nova Scotia’s Joyce Seamone, with her 1972 indie release, Testing 1-2-3”. Quote taken from the article, Canadian Country Ladies, Charting History in the Early Years (1950’s-70) by Larry Delaney… Country Music News, February, 2007.
Not much has been documented about the First Ladies of Canadian Country Music. Only two ladies charted in the 50’s and that was Betty Cody, who later married Hal Lone Pine, and Myrna Lorrie. A few more followed in the 60’s including Lucille Starr, who’s French Song, by the way, never made the country music charts. In the 70’s came Anne Murray, Sylvia Tyson, Carroll Baker, Shirley Eikhard, Honey West, a few others, and of course JOYCE SEAMONE.
Joyce was born in Maplewood, Nova Scotia. As a small girl, she sang in church and school. As she grew older she performed in variety shows, contests and a few times on radio and TV. When she graduated from New Germany Rural High School, she started working for the Royal Bank of Canada. She married in 1964 and in 1967 was transferred to the Royal Bank, Woodstock, Ontario. There she continued to become involved in music making many musical friends and joined a local band. After being “discovered” by Doug Taylor, an A & R man for Marathon Records in Toronto, she recorded her first record and it resulted in a # 1 Country Song in Canada, Testing 1-2-3. She received a Gold Record for record sales in excess of 80,000 albums and 10,000 eight tracks. With that success she left her day job, put together a band and developed a show and travelled. This opened up an opportunity for her to meet people in the business who were movers and shakers and more successful than she was. Her travels led her to perform at Natal Da
After three LP’s she eventually left Marathon’s label and signed with a different label, Boot Records, owned by Stompin’ Tom. She recorded several sessions with Boot. One was recorded in Nashville at Jack’s Tracks with Garth Fundis as the engineer on the board. Although she had several charted singles in the top twenty, none ever reached the success that Testing 1-
Joyce finally left life on the road and started working for Ralston Purina Canada, in Woodstock. She continued to perform, playing clubs, TV, concerts, festivals, all the while receiving airplay across Canada.
Eventually in 1987 family illness drew her back to Nova Scotia. She continued in music and eventually started her own label, Gemini Records. She was very serious about recording a cd that featured her own songs and approached Georges Hebert, long time guitarist for Anne Murray, who agreed to produce “The Other Side of Me”. She received airplay overseas which led to trips, with her band, Total Country, in 1996, 1997 and 1999 to perform and promote her music. She travelled to Holland, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden.
In 1999, she travelled overseas with her band to perform in several countries. She broke her leg one hour after arriving in Holland to perform at an international festival. That ended her overseas concerts that year and many dreams fell by the wayside. Because she was hospitalized in Holland for several weeks, and unable to return home as expected, she missed the opportunity to be the opening act for well known Canadian singer, Michelle Wright, back in her hometown of Bridgewater.
She has been the subject of study for, “Singing Out! Canadian Women in Country Music” and is included in the Encyclopedia of Canadian Country Music. She contributed contact information to the writer of that book, where he could get in touch with other artists. She has had one of her poems published, and also a story published in Music Horror Stories.
In 1998, Bridgewater, N.S., was celebrating 100 years. She wrote the winning song, “Bridgewater Is the Place to be” in their song contest. It was released as a one song special CD.
In 2000, Centre School, Lunenburg Co., NS, included her song, If You Feel like Doin’ It, in a special Millennium Music Project. The CD was called “Heartbeats”. Besides being on that CD, the song was also released on a compilation CD, Kids tunes, by Piano Press, California. The same song was recorded by Ontario artist, Erick Traplin, on one of his children’s CD’s “ Bubbles”.
In more recent years she has become involved with the NSCMHF (Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame) both as a Director on the board and Honorary Chair for the Anniversary Committee in 2007 and 2008. This year she is the Chair for their Induction Celebrations. In 2004 she was inducted into the NSCMHF and has attended all of their 11 years celebrations.
She has also been involved with all of the 18 years of the Hank Snow Tribute Weekends and has acted as the host for the yearly Songwriters Circle as well as performing.
Between 2004 and now, she has taken on the role of music Coordinator for the Annual Fox Mountain Country Music Festival, held the first weekend of every August. It has become her personal passion and she has seen the festival grow substantially over the past six years.
She is presently the host of her own half hour TV show “IN CONVERSATION”, which started in 2008, on Eastlink Television.
Little did she know when she signed in the 70’s with Boot Records, Stompin’ Tom’s label, that in 2009 she would be the recipient of the Stompin’ Tom ECMA award for Mainland Nova Scotia.
She continues her passion in music by singing with her band, Total Country, writing songs, speaking at events, consulting on all kinds of musical related information, acting as MC for events, and performing private house concerts.
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