Originally from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, country crooner Ernie Williams moved to Boscombe and farmed in Alberta’s Lakeland by day and strummed the gee-tar by night. He was a regular at the monthly hoedowns and Oprys around the area starting in the 1980s.
He assembled Westwind, a band that consisted of Les Vincent on bass, drummer Ron Danyluk, and the guitar trio of Hank Rogers on steel, Rich Chichak on rhythm, and Rich Cherneski on lead, and recorded some raw demos that were shopped around to labels around western Canada. But the labels’ big fish weren’t biting, so the band travelled to the big city (Edmonton) and recorded some tracks at Lestra Electronic Industries. The result was his only album, SCARLET LEAF OF CANADA, issued by his own label, Great Canadian Records, in the early ’80s.
A throwback to a time when the term ‘country’ was naked without ‘and western,’ the album was 11 original tracks that embraced the true essence of the origins of the genre. Little post production clouded the music and a straight forward appeal kept the waters from getting muddy, with tracks like “Gold Dust Dan,” Road To Anywhere,” “In The Hands of the Lord,” and a pair of Yuletide songs – “O Mister Snowman” and “Country Christmas.”
But unable to capture the interest of any radio station programmers, the album got no airplay and so was sold at the dances and bars as Williams continued to moonlight on the circuit for a few years.