Canadian Songwriters Pen Bluegrass Songs

The following article was published in the November 2009 Issue of Country Music News
P.O. Box 7323, Ottawa, ON K1L 8E4. Ph: 613-745-6006.
Research and compilation by Larry Delaney,
Publisher and Editor of the monthly magazine.

A CMT SPECIAL FEATURE - Researched and compiled by Larry Delaney

Canadian-born songwriters are renowned internationally for penning some of the most popular songs recorded by Nashville artists. In fact, CMN annually (January issue) publishes a listing of songs recorded during the year by Nashville artists.Typically, that annual CMN feature makes reference to "country" recordings, but it should be noted that many Canadian songwriters have also contributed to the Americal "Bluegrass" scene.In order to provide an accurate overview of the depth of Canadian songwriter's involvement in the American bluegrass recording scene, CMN has compiled this extensive listing of songwriter's credits in Bluegrass music.

Unlike the 'country' side of things where numerous songs written by Canadian songwriters are 'charted' on the Billboard Country charts, seldom does a Canadian bluegrass songwriter get to see his/her song reach the 'charts' in the USA. Bluegrass Unlimited the bible of bluegrass music for the past four decades publishes a monthly Top 30 'National Bluegrass Survey' hit chart, the only one of its kind, and seldom does a song written by a Canadian songwriter find its way to that chart ... however, there have been exceptions.

Fred Eaglesmith

FRED EAGLESMITH, the lone Canadian songwriter to score a #1 hit on Bluegrass Unlimited Hit Charts with his "30 Years of Farming" song recorded by James King

LIMITED CHART ACTION NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF SONGS RECORDED.

Likely the only Canadian-written song ever to top the

Bluegrass Umlimited hit chart came in modern time when James King scored with the #1 hit 30 Years Of Farming, a tune penned by Fred Eaglesmith (b. Hamilton, Ontario). Just recently there was a surprise entry on that chart when the bluegrass group The Circuit Riders made it on to the B.U. charts with a bluegrass version of the Neil Young penned song Powderfinger.

GORDON LIGHTFOOT SONGS FAVORITES WITH U.S. BLUEGRASS bands

While Canadian songwriter action on the U.S. bluegrass charts is somewhat of a rarity, it is not because of a lack of songs recorded, as is attested to in the followin list.

It is not surprising to find the songs of Gordon Lightfoot (b. Orillia, Ontario) being the most prominent of this list. Quite early in his career, Lightfoot's songs were covered by bluegrass artisys like Mac Wiseman, and Tony Rice who recorded entire albums of Gordon Lightfoot songs. (See CMT June 2009 for special feature on "The songs of Gordon Lightfoot"). At latest count, there have been some 75 cuts by U.S. bluegrass artists of a Gordon Lightfoot song.

Gordon Lightfoot

GORDON LIGHTFOOT, the most popular Canadian songwriter with American recording artists.

Another song that has frequently been recorded by U.S. Bluegrass artists is the Don Devaney (b. Halifax, N.S.) tune, "Listening To The Rain", which at last count had been covered nine times.

Adam Mitchell's (Ontario) popular tune "Out Among The Stars", noted best for versions by country artists Merle Haggard, Joe Sun, Waylon Jennings, etc. has been cut by some seven different bluegrass bands, including the legendary Seldom Scene.

There are many oddities among this listing.
Canadian songwriter Paul Anka (b. Ottawa, Ontario), noted more for his Pop songs, had his Buddy Holly popularized nugget "It Doesn't Matter Any More" recorded by a variety of U.S. Bluegrass bands and Leonard Cohen (b. Montreal, QC), also better known for his Pop songs, had his tune "Tonight Will Be Fine" recorded by the fabled duo Flatt & Scruggs.

Flatt & Scruggs also scored a Top 20 hit on the Billboard Country charts with the bluegrass-flavoured song"Just Ain't", a tune co-written by Canadian husband/wife team of Ginger & Hal Willis (b. Rouyn, QC). Folk/Rocker Robbie Robertson (b. Brantford, ON) of The Band fame has also seen several of his songs cut by U.S. Bluegrass artists.

One of the latest cuts by a U.S. Bluegrass artist of a Canadian-penned song comes from award-winnung musician Randy Kohrs who has recorded the song "Quicksand", written by Codie Prevost (b. Rose Valley, SK). Kohrs has entitled his latest album with Prevost's song.

(The following notes added by BMAC staff writer. Information supplied by Larry Delaney).

((This is a dynamic project.))

Since the original article was published in Nov 2009, several more Canadian songwriters have been successful in having their tunes recorded by U.S. Bluegrass bands.

Mike O'Reilly (b. Ottawa, ON) has had his song "Court Of Love" recorded by U.S. bluegrass artist Rhonda Vincent. This will bring the number of O'Reilly's songs recorded by U.S. Bluegrass bands to eight, placing him in the top echelon of Canadian songwriters in this list.

Also
Hod Pharis (b. Calgary, AB) has had his song "I Heard The Bluebirds Sing" recorded by Dirt Road Sweethearts.

Canadian Songwriters Recorded By U.S. Bluegrass Band - THE LIST

Songwriter Songtitle Recorded By Notes
Ward Allen Maple Sugar Sweetheart Mac Wisman  
Leroy Anderson There's a Treasure In Heaven Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver  
Paul Anka It Doesn't Matter Anymore The Grass Cats  
Paul Anka It Doesn't Matter Anymore Lare Williams  
Paul Anka It Doesn't Matter Anymore Frances Mooney  
Paul Anka It Doesn't Matter Anymore Kukuruza  
Lee Bach Talking To Your Picture Scenic Route  
Lee Bach Someone's Child Tim Graves  
Lee Bach Borrowed Angel Bobby Osborne  
Lee Bach South Pa Bobby Osborne  
Polly Beauchamp; Rebels Ye Rest Seldom Scene  
Victoria Banks Sitting On A Goldmine Marty Raybon  
Willie P. Bennet White Line John Starling  
Willie P. Bennet White Line Jonathon Edwards  
Ray Bonneville Forty Nine Keeps On Talkin' Tim O'Btien  
Norm Bowser Road To Jericho Charlie Waller & The Country Gentlemen  
Norm Bowser Road To Jericho The Principals  
Norm Bowser Keep Following Moses Charlie Waller & The Country Gentlemen  
Norm Bowser Keep Following Moses The Principals  
Lisa Brokop The Day Before You Melonie Cannon  
Barry Brown Carpenter of Wood Bluegrass Cardinals  
&Barry Brown Carpenter of Wood Brush Arbor  
Barry Brown It's Lonely I Can't Stand Williams & Clark ExpeditionD  
Alfred Bryan A Cradle In Bethleham Bass Mountain BoysD  
Alfred Bryan A Cradle In Bethleham Vince Gill  
Lorne Buck Mountain & Memories The Country Gentlemen  
Lorne Buck Mountain & Memories Southern Rail  
Lorne Buck Mountain & Memories Curley McCormick  
Julie Chadbourne A Sinner's Plea The Rarely Herd  
Julie Chadbourne Tears From My Broken Heart The Rarely Herd  
Kerry Chater I Know A Heartache When I See One The Grass Cats  
John Clinch Arrow Through My Heart Lost Highway  
John Clinch Thanks Again Sally Jones  
Bruce Cockburn One Day I'll Walk Front Line  
Leonard Cohen Tonight Will Be Fine Flatt & Scruggs  
Jim Cuddy/Greg Keelor 5 Days In May Salamander Crossing  
Clint Curtiss Angel In Disguise Charlie Monroe  
Clint Curtiss Angel In Disguise Bill Monroe  
Don Devaney Listening To The Rain The Osborne Brothers  
Don Devaney Listening To The Rain Special Concensus  
Don Devaney Listening To The Rain Frances MooneyD  
Don Devaney Listening To The Rain Crossfire  
Don Devaney Listening To The Rain Idle Time  
Don Devaney Listening To The Rain Pam Gadd  
Don Devaney Listening To The Rain Ronnie Reno  
Don Devaney Listening To The Rain Clearwater Connection  
Don Devaney Listening To The Rain Blue Shades  
Don Devaney Comin' Home To Kentucky Kane's River  
Don Devaney Comin' Home To Kentucky Cabin Fever Band  
Don Devaney Comin' Home To Kentucky Doc & Merle Watson  
Fred Eaglesmith 30 Years Of Farming James King  
Fred Eaglesmith Flowers In The Dell James King  
Fred Eaglesmith John Deere Art Stevenson  
Fred Eaglesmith The Rocket Art Stevenson  
Fred Eaglesmith Wish I Was A Freight Train Blue Moon Rising  
Fred Eaglesmith Wish I Was A Freight Train The McLains  
Fred Eaglesmith Carter Ralph Stanley II  
Shiley Eikhard Something To Talk About Lonesome Road  
Tammy Fassaert Just Passin' Through Amy Gallatin  
Roy Forbes Still A Fool Laurie Lewis  
Roy Forbes Ring The Bells At Midnight Cathy Kallick  
David Francey Two Faced Love Del McCoury  
David Francey Mill Towns Del McCoury  
David Francey Mill Towns The Wright Kids  
David Francey Mill Towns Diamond Hill Station  
David Francey Wind In The Wires Kane's River  
Gary 'Pig' Gold Family Tree Dixie Bee-Liners  
Carl Goodman Satan's Chains Ralph Stanley  
Carl Goodman Satan's Chains The Isaac Family  
Carl Goodman Satan's Chains New Harvest  
Carl Goodman Satan's Chains The Principals  
Carl Goodman She Wore Pretty Dresses The Principals  
Carl Goodman She Wore Pretty Dresses Charlie Waller & The Country Gentlemen  
Carl Goodman Is There Room In His Kingdom New Harvest  
Slim Gordon What A Waste Of Good Corn Licker Mac Wiseman  
Slim Gordon Pistol Packin' Preacher Mac Wiseman  
Ray Griff It Rains Just The Same In Missouri Mac Wiseman  
Ray Griff It Rains Just The Same In Missouri Pete Corum  
J.K. Gulley In My Father's Field John Cowan  
J.K. Gulley Nothing But The Blues John Cowan  
J.K. Gulley Back To Your Arms John Cowan  
Caitlin Hanford Muddy Waters Alecia Nugent  
Dallas Harms Paper Rosie The Osborne Brothers  
Sharon Horovitch Jonah's Wall Southern Rain  
George W. Johnson When You & I Were Young Maggie Reno & Smiley  
George W. Johnson When You & I Were Young Maggie The Stanley Brothers  
George W. Johnson When You & I Were Young Maggie RECORDED  
George W. Johnson When You & I Were Young Maggie Raymond Fairchil  
George W. Johnson When You & I Were Young Maggie James Alan Shelton  
Sally Jones Some Leavin' Too Chris Jones  
Sally Jones Just A Town Chris Jones  
Sally Jones Witness Chris Jones  
Sally Jones Sound I Hear Casey & Chris Henry  
Jack Kingston C.N.R. Special The McCormick Brothers  
Fred Lavery Get Me Through December Alison Krauss  
Ray Legere Mama's Rocking Chair Southern Rail  
Gordon Lightfoot Alberta Bound Jesse McReynolds  
Gordon Lightfoot Alberta Bound Green Sky Bluegrass  
Gordon Lightfoot Bitter Green Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Circle Is Small Dale Ann Bradley  
Gordon Lightfoot Circle Is Small Lonesome River Band  
Gordon Lightfoot Cold On The Shoulder Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Cold On The Shoulder Except 2  
Gordon Lightfoot Cotton Jenny Mac Wiseman  
Gordon Lightfoot Did She Mention My Name Mac Wiseman  
Gordon Lightfoot Did She Mention My Name Deannie Richardson  
Gordon Lightfoot Don Quixote Don Quixote  
Gordon Lightfoot Fine As Fine Can Be Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Girl From The Canyon Paul Adkins  
Gordon Lightfoot Go My Way Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Go My Way Claire Lynch  
Gordon Lightfoot Go My Way Front Porch Stringband  
Gordon Lightfoot Go My Way Some Assembly Required  
Gordon Lightfoot Go My Way Meridian  
Gordon Lightfoot Home From The Forest Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Home From The Forest Downhill Bluegrass  
Gordon Lightfoot If It Should Please You Jesse McReynolds  
Gordon Lightfoot If You Could Read My Mind No Limit  
Gordon Lightfoot If You Could Read My Mind Dave Moody  
Gordon Lightfoot I'm Not Sayin' Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot (In The) Early Morning Rain Mac Wiseman  
Gordon Lightfoot (In The) Early Morning Rain Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot (In The) Early Morning Rain Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe  
Gordon Lightfoot (In The) Early Morning Rain Bobby Atkins  
Gordon Lightfoot (In The) Early Morning Rain Emerson & Waldron  
Gordon Lightfoot (In The) Early Morning Rain Dale Anne Bradley  
Gordon Lightfoot (In The) Early Morning Rain Tim O'Brien  
Gordon Lightfoot (In The) Early Morning Rain No Limit  
Gordon Lightfoot (In The) Early Morning Rain Paul Ansell  
Gordon Lightfoot Let It Ride Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Long Way Back Home The Gibson Brothers  
Gordon Lightfoot Mother Of A Miner's Child Country Gentlemen  
Gordon Lightfoot Old Dan's Records Mac Wiseman  
Gordon Lightfoot Peaceful Waters The Isaacs  
Gordon Lightfoot Rainy Day People Mac Wiseman  
Gordon Lightfoot Rainy Day People Larry Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Redwood Hill Country Gentlemen  
Gordon Lightfoot Redwood Hill The Chapmans  
Gordon Lightfoot Redwood Hill Just Friends Bluegrass Band  
Gordon Lightfoot Redwood Hill Meridian  
Gordon Lightfoot Redwood Hill Fescue  
Gordon Lightfoot Ribbon Of Darkness Mac Wiseman  
Gordon Lightfoot Ribbon Of Darkness Chris Jones  
Gordon Lightfoot Ribbon Of Darkness Bobby Osborne  
Gordon Lightfoot Ribbon Of Darkness Cumberland Gap  
Gordon Lightfoot Ribbon Of Darkness Lonesome Road  
Gordon Lightfoot Same Old Obsession Mike Auldridge  
Gordon Lightfoot Shadows Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Sit Down Youg Stranger Country Gentlemen  
Gordon Lightfoot Sixteen Miles Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Song For A Winter's Night Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Song For A Winter's Night Sawmill Road  
Gordon Lightfoot Song For A Winter's Night Emily Singleton  
Gordon Lightfoot Steel Rail Blues Mac Wiseman  
Gordon Lightfoot Steel Rail Blues Deannie Richardson  
Gordon Lightfoot Summertime Dream Mac Wiseman  
Gordon Lightfoot Sundown Mac Wiseman  
Gordon Lightfoot Ten Degrees and Getting Colder Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Ten Degrees and Getting Colder J.D. Crowe & The New South  
Gordon Lightfoot (That's What You Get) For Lovin' Me Mac Wiseman  
Gordon Lightfoot (That's What You Get) For Lovin' Me Kentucky Colonels  
Gordon Lightfoot (That's What You Get) For Lovin' Me Flatt & Scruggs  
Gordon Lightfoot (That's What You Get) For Lovin' Me J.D. Crowe & The New South  
Gordon Lightfoot The House You Live In Mac Wiseman  
Gordon Lightfoot Walls Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Whisper My Name Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot You Are What I Am Tony Rice  
Gordon Lightfoot You Are What I Am J.D. Crowe & The New Sout  
Colin Linden Love's Like Rain John Cowan  
Charlie Major/Barry Brown It's Lonely I Can't Stand Williams & Clark Expidition  
Jim Matt Old Fella Chris Jones  
Adam Mitchell Out Among The Stars Seldom Scene  
Adam Mitchell Out Among The Stars The Chapmans  
Adam Mitchell Out Among The Stars Claire Lynch  
Adam Mitchell Out Among The Stars Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pederson  
Adam Mitchell Out Among The Stars Modern Hicks  
Adam Mitchell Out Among The Stars Randy Kohrs  
Adam Mitchell Out Among The Stars Kirby Knob Boys  
Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now Nitty Gritty Dirt Band  
Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now Randy Scruggs  
Charlie McKinnon The Ghost of Bras D'Or Mac Wiseman  
Charlie McKinnon My Cape Breton Home Mac Wiseman  
Gene MacClellan Snowbird Josh Graves  
Gene MacClellan Snowbird Bobby Atkins  
Gene MacClellanR Snowbird Bull Harmon  
Gene MacClellan The Reunion Song Ricky Scaggs  
John McDonald/Tim McDonald Nobody Loves You Like Me Rarely Herd  
John McDonald/Tim McDonald Lift Those Chains Rarely Herd  
John McDonald/Tim McDonald Steel Town Rarely Herd  
John McDonald/Tim McDonald Perfect Fool Rarely HerdD  
Mike O'Reilly Baby Girl Mill Run  
Mike O'Reilly Be Quiet When Willie Walks By Country Gentlemen  
Mike O'Reilly Blow Wind Blow Mill Run  
Mike O'Reilly Cold Cheater's Heart Del McCoury  
Mike O'Reilly Henry Walker Del McCoury  
Mike O'Reilly King's Shilling Del McCoury  
Mike O'Reilly Lily Hoskins Ronnie McCoury  
Mike O'Reilly Court Of Love Rhonda Vincent  
Hod Pharis I Heard The Bluebirds Sing Jim & Jessie McReynolds  
Hod Pharis I Heard The Bluebirds Sing Pine Mountain Railroad  
Hod Pharis I Heard The Bluebirds Sing Cumberland Grass  
Hod Pharis I Heard The Bluebirds Sing The Greenbriar Boys  
Hod Pharis I Heard The Bluebirds Sing Dirt Road Sweethearts  
Stu Phillips Lonely City Park Mac Wiseman  
Codie Prevost Quicksand Randy Kohrs  
Tracy Reynolds Dad's Old Mandolin Little Creek  
Line Richard Little Angels Rhonda Vincent  
Hank Rivers (Lariviere) Maple Sugar Sweetheart Mac Wiseman  
Ryan Roberts Alone Jeannette WilliamsD  
Ryan Roberts Dried Roses Justin Carbone  
Ryan Roberts Leaving This Old Town Special ConsensusD  
Robbie Robertson Evangeline Steep Canyon Rangers  
Robbie Robertson Ophelia The U-Liners  
Robbie Robertson Ophelia The Gibson Brothers  
Robbie Robertson The Shape I'm In Pat Flynn/Andy Thorn  
Robbie Robertson The Weight Del McCoury  
Stan Rogers Lock Keeper Kelly Lancaster  
Stan Rogers The Marty Ellen Carter Sawmill Road  
Robin Roller Take The Bible In Your Hand Petticoat Junction  
Robin Roller My Heart Won't Let Your Memory Go Away Valerir Smith  
Maurice Ruddick Springhill Disaster Bill Clifton  
Deric Ruttan Lot of Leavin' Left To Do Blue Storm  
Buffy Sainte-Marie Universal Soldier Flatt & Scruggs  
Buffy Sainte-Marie Men Of The Fields Bill Staines  
Gordie Sampson Get Me Through December Alison Krauss  
Joseph M. Scrivens What A Friend We Have In Jesus The Stanley Brothers  
Joseph M. Scrivens What A Friend We Have In Jesus The Osborne Brothers  
Joseph M. Scrivens What A Friend We Have In Jesus Reno & Smiley  
Joseph M. Scrivens What A Friend We Have In Jesus Doc Watson  
Joseph M. Scrivens What A Friend We Have In Jesus Skyline Drive  
Joseph M. Scrivens What A Friend We Have In Jesus The Tilley Family  
Joseph M. Scrivens What A Friend We Have In Jesus Stones River Ranch Boys  
Joseph E. Seitz The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise Reno & Smiley  
Joseph E. Seitz The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise Raymond Fairchild  
Joseph E. Seitz The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise Randall Hylton  
George Beverly She I'd Rather Have Jesus Alison Krause  
John Sheard Muddy River Alecia Nugent  
Naoise Sheridan Seven Hillsides Ricky Scaggs  
Reg Smith Atlantic Lullaby Mac Wiseman  
Hank Snow I'm Movin' On Mac Wiseman  
Hank Snow Music Makin' Mama From Memphis Charlie Waller  
Hank Snow Music Makin' Mama From Memphis Randall Hylton  
Hank Snow My Mother Bill Clifton  
Hank Snow My Nova Scotia Home Mac Wiseman  
Hank Snow The Golden Rocket Jim & Jessie McReynolds  
Hank Snow The Golden Rocket Hot Rize  
David Talbot Bevan's Lake Crossing The Grascals  
David Talbot Cut Your Wheels The GrascalsD  
Wally Traugott Snowflake Breakdown John McCutcheon  
Wally Traugoty Snowflake Breakdown Casey Driessen  
Dougal Trineer More Often Than Once In A While Del McCouryD  
Scott Turner Laughin' Guitar Country Gazette  
Ian Tyson Four Rode By Lost Highway  
Ian Tyson Four Rode By Sawmill Road  
Ian Tyson Four Strong Winds Flstt & Scruggs  
Ian Tyson Four Strong Winds Tony RiceD  
Ian Tyson Four Strong Winds Cliff Waldron  
Ian Tyson Someday Soon High Hills Bluegrass Band  
Ian Tyson Summer Wages J.D. Crowe & The New South  
Ian Tyson Summer Wages Tony Rice  
Ian Tyson Summer Wages Chesapeake  
Lillian Crewe Walsh Ghost of Bras D'Or Mac Wiseman  
Lillian Crewe WalshR My Cape Breton Home Mac Wiseman  
Paul Weber She's No Lady Lonesome River Band  
Hal & Ginger Willis Just Ain't Flatt & Scruggs>  
Hal & Ginger Willis Just Ain't Hot Rize  
Hal & Ginger Willis Just Ain't Gene Wooten  
Tom Wilson As Far As Love Goes Sawmill Road  
Tom Wilson The Rose Of Donnally's Hollow Sawmill Road  
Jesse Winchester Brand New Tennessee Waltz Ralph Stanley  
Jesse Winchester Brand New Tennessee Waltz Dean Sapp  
Jesse Winchester Brand New Tennessee Waltz Coldwater Creek  
Jesse Winchester Brand New Tennessee Waltz Blue Ridge  
Lori Yates Lonesome HighwayG The Rice Brothers  
Lori Yates Lonesome HighwayG Continental Divide  
Neil Young Heart Of Gold The James Family  
Neil Young Love Is A Rose Jim Smoak  
Neil Young Powderfinger The circuit Riders