Born in 1947 in Saskatoon, Lorence William Hud played guitar and piano growing up, and was in front of audiences when he wasn't even in Junior High School yet. "I got my first break in music when I was eight years old, that's when jazz legend Gordie Brandt took me under his wing in Saskatoon - Even sent me on the road," he said. "Gordie was the greatest guitar player that I have ever seen, and I have seen alot of great guitar players."
Before studying Music at the University in Saskatoon, he'd already been in more than his share of bands. "There were Lot of bands. The Shadows, Prairie Sons, Keymen... big bands as well, sitting reading charts. Gordie recommended me and that was it. After that the phone didn't stop ringing. Everybody listened to Gordie because he was a musical genius," Hud said.
He formed For Keeps while in University with Colin Wedgewood, Doug Melville-Ness, and Mickey Ellis. They signed with Doug Hutton, who'd up to that point had dabbled in just about every aspect of the business in Saskatchewan and Alberta (club manager, promoter, booker, etc, and later released a couple of singles on his own). His new venture was Chariot Records, and he produced the band's 45, "Morning Town," written by the group, to minimal fanfare in early 1967. Still, it was picked up by RCA Canada, who re-released it later that year b/w "Highest Degree."
Their next release was in '68, following some sessions in Vegas that wound up on Apex - "Natural Loved Boy" b/w He moved to Ontario before the end of the decade and played the coffee shops while honing his craft as a singer/songwriter. He caught the attention of reps at A&M, who signed him to a two-record deal. It culminated a year later with his self-titled debut album in 1972. Recorded in Toronto with a final mix at A&M's Hollywood studio, it was only released in Canada and Japan. Hud wrote and arranged all the tracks, and also handled all the instruments in the mix of pop/rock with folk ballads.
The lead-off, "Sign of the Gypsy Queen" would turn out to be the money maker, when April Wine covered it a decade later. But the original version was also a hit at the time. It climbed to #16 on the RPM singles chart, and cracked the top 10 on both the East and the West coasts.
"I wrote "Sign of the Gypsy Queen" in 1971 and first recorded it that year at RCA in Toronto, with engineer George Semkiw and producer Bill Misener (Paupers, who was A&R for RCA," Hud said. "Mark Smith was at that session, and later went on to engineer Bachman Turner Overdrive. I signed with Sound City in L.A. because of Mark, who also produced Rick Springfield at Sound City, as well as Les Emerson.."
He and his band spent much of the next few years on the road - at Massey Hall Place des Arts and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa with the Ventures, the famed Riverboat in Yorkville, and several dates with Paul Williams, Peter Frampton, and opening for Stampeders on their tenth anniversary tour. among others. hE ALSO MADE APPEARANCES ON TV, including on Ian Tyson's and Tommy Banks' shows.
Next up before the end of the year was the second single, "Master of Pantomine" - the tale of a down on his luck fellow who gets by with the change in his guitar case. It failed to crack the top 40, but other noteable tracks included its b-side "Siren of The Night, as well as "Summer Rose" - taken to the top 40 on the country chart in '83 by Wayne Rostad. Some shows throughout central Canada followed with the full band, highlighted with a stop at Massey Hall,
For the follow-up album, A&M shipped Hud off to Nashville for a few months. Norbert Putman (Joan Baez, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Brewer & Shipley) was brought in to produce the project. With an array of studio musicians and outside writers, the album was the polar opposite of its predecessor in that regard, and had less of a folk/pop feel and an appeal with more of a country undertone.
DANCIN' IN MY HEAD, with its first single, Neil Goldberg's "Guilty of Rock 'n Roll," was on the store shelves in the summer of '73. Failing to crack the top 40, it was followed by "Madame La Rue" b/w and "Sweet Janie Malone," both also missing the top 40. "The Song That Annie Sings," with its straight-out country feel, was also a minor country hit in pockets across Canada. Unhappy with management, Hud came to an amicable split with A&M before the end of the year, and did some intimate shows again with just him and guitar and piano, then retreated out of the limelight.
A&M released a pair of singles held over from the Nashville sessions, "(Out On The Road) Rollin' Along" and "Love You All Night Long." Relocating to LA for a few years, he came out of the shadows in 1983 with the 4 TRACK MINI-LP on Quality, recorded at Sound City and produced by Moe Bottom and engineered by Stampeders' Rich Dodson.
"I hung out with my old pal Will Jennings who wrote the theme for The Titanic, etc," he said. "Will and I wrote the song that Annie sings - his idea. When I came back I enrolled in the Commerce and Finance program at U of T but got called back out onto the road."
In the mid '80s Hud moved to the Cayman Islands, where he had a studio and became a devout Christian, moving back to Canada in 2002 to care for his mother.
Starting in 2007 he was in the news again, but this time for a different reason. A lengthy dispute ensued regarding a damaged drain and the resulting repairs on his property near Verner, Ontario. Over the next few years, he was unsuccessful in his $28 million total in lawsuits against the provincial and municipal governments for damages, and was turned away when he petitioned both Prime Ministers Harper and Trudeau to have his case heard in a lower court. This led to another unsuccessful lawsuit.
In 2017, a 28 hour armed standoff at Hud's home resulted in weapons charges against him, as well his American friend, Sheila Yarnell. She spent a short time in a maximum security prison, and after she was deported back to the US, she asked President Trump to intervene on Hud's behalf and give a call to Trudeau. She was unsuccessful in getting his involvement. Charges against him from the province were withdrawn in '19, and the matter is still before the courts.