Fiddler JJ Guy, who grew up in the small town of Lintlaw, is now the first Saskatchewan resident to be inducted into the North American Fiddlers' Hall of Fame (HoF) in New York state.
The announcement of the induction was unexpected by Guy who now resides in Saskatoon.
“I was shocked,” he told Yorkton This Week. “I received notification by email and I had to reread the email twice to believe it was true. I was / am currently on tour in BC at the time and I told my touring partner Gordon Stobbe who instantly congratulated me.”
Stobbe is himself a member of the Hall of Fame inducted in 2019.
“The nomination was presented by the former president of the BC fiddlers who asked me if it was okay to submit my name,” continued Guy. “I agreed but with so many deserving names yet to be inducted I really didn’t give it a second thought.
“It was truly a shock.”
Not surprisingly the fiddle community was quick to reach out with congratulations.
“I have received so many congratulations from friends, family and fans but the congratulations from my industry's peers are truly special,” said Guy “Some of my heroes who have also been inducted, (Patti Kusturok, Gordon Stobbe and Calvin Vollrath), have congratulated me which is truly special to me.”
Guy said he was not aware of other Saskatchewan inductees which adds significance to his being selected.
“Although off the top of my head I can think of a few that should be,” he offered. “Players like John Arcand (to name one) have really paved the way in Saskatchewan fiddling.
“Being the first Saskatchewan inductee is an honour and humbling at the same time knowing many of great Saskatchewan fiddle players who have paved the way before. Also makes me very proud to represent my home province.”
While Hall of Fame inductions tend to be for people in the twilight of their careers, Guy is only 42.
“I think that is one of the things that made the induction so shocking,” he said. “I feel my career is just in full swing and I have lots to give for many years.
“As I said in my induction speech, I’m nowhere close to being done. (There’s) lots more to accomplish.”
But, mid-career, or not, the honour is likely to remain a top-of-the-list career highlight.
“This may be my biggest recognition honour, and I am extremely flattered by this induction but every time I hear someone play a tune I wrote or co-wrote, that is pretty special too,” offered Guy.
Guy said it has always been about the music, not dreaming of a hall of fame plaque one day.
“I always focus on creating music for my fans. I never seek out recognition,” he said.
But, the induction is likely to have some influence on his career moving forward, but just how Guy said he doesn’t know.
“I can’t really say yet. I mean it does sound pretty impressive saying you’re a member of the North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame, but what it all means remains to be seen,” he said, adding, “possibly some new performance opportunities.”
Unfortunately, Guy did not get to travel to New York for the induction as the ceremony was a virtual one due to COVID-19.
“So, I pre-recorded my acceptance speech and watched live online,” he said.
Guy joins such other notable Canadians as Don Messer was inducted in 1977, Ned Landry in 1988 and Roy Acuff in 1996.