We couldn’t possibly have known, when we sat down in Heather’s Bar and Grill in Mazatlan Mexico, that we were in a Canadian owned establishment (an ex-patriot Vancouver girl). In addition to a good home cooked meal at a reasonable price, we were charmed and entertained by a prairie boy performing on the small stage. A favourite haunt of Canadian snowbirds, ‘Heather’s’ regularly features the country lad from Bentley, Alberta with his guitar and a small group of support musicians. It was only after dinner and entertainment that we learned that her performer was none other than Canadian Country Music (CCMA) Hall of Famer, Dick Damron. Dick was born in the village of Bentley Alberta, in 1934, and now divides his time between Mazatlan and Bentley. He has played and entertained across Canada, the US, Europe, Great Britain, and now the thriving tourist destination of Mazatlan where he appears regularly. The bohemian lifestyle of the travelling musician is beginning to show through the fissures of a life lived hard and fast; however, the music and lyrics still register when the affable Dick plays, cajoles and identifies with his audience. Few Canadian Country music artists have worked as hard or long as Dick Damron. Born Joseph Glenn Damron, Dick got his first guitar at the age of five. Early in his career, Dick roamed between country and rock bands. He formed and performed with the Round-Up Gang on CKDR Radio Red Deer and played with the Nightriders. Recording his first albums in 1959 and 1960 on his Holiday label, Dick had his first hit, 'Countryfied' on Apex in 1970. George Hamilton IV used the piece for his theme song on his Canadian TV show later in the late 70’s. Dick appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in 1972, and travelled annually to Europe in 1978-80 and 1982-87. He performed in England at Wembley International Country Music Festival in 1976 and 1978 and toured The Netherlands and Germany. In Canada, Dick appeared on many TV country music and variety series, and performed at the Calgary Stampede, in clubs and concerts, at festivals and fairs. He initiated the Dick Damron Country Music Festival in 1977 and 1978 at Bentley and was involved in the early 1980s in the Cattle Country Jam at Brooks, Alta.
The Damron discography includes twenty-seven albums and a host of popular singles. Damron received recognition as a top country composer in 1976 and country male singer annually 1977-9, and for best country single ('Susan Flowers') in 1977. He won Canadian Country Music Awards as male vocalist, entertainer, and instrumentalist of the year in 1983, 1985 and 1989 respectively, and for song of the year ('Jesus It's Me Again') in 1984. Dick has had dozens of nominations, awards and honours over his five decades in music. They are a testament to the enjoyment of his chosen profession and identity with his audiences. Moving slowly into ‘later life’, Dick decided to add to his written record by penning some longer lasting written works. In addition to his autobiography he has penned two novels the latest official Canadian release in Bentley at his favourite haunt ‘The Monkey Top Saloon’ this past June 23rd. Dick is an example of never growing too old to play and having a great time. He is a credit to the musical arts.