b: Paul Valdemar Horsdal on September 1, 1945 in Ottawa, Ontario
The son of Danish parents, Valdy began playing the guitar as a teenager, took piano lessons for five years, and learned orchestration from Professor Robin Wood, the dean of a music school in Victoria, British Columbia.
His love of playing guitar and piano drew him to Montreal in 1964. He joined the folk group The London Town Criers who would tour coffeehouses from Montreal to Regina. Briefly he joined The Prodigal Sons which was a folk/country hybrid but ended up in Toronto in 1965 and played bass for upcoming country star Blake Emmons.
By 1966 he moved to Victoria where he studied orchestration at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. After graduating, he worked the local club circuit and eventually attracted a manager in Keith Lawrence. Lawrence secured him a record deal in 1971 with Haida Records. The label sent Valdy to A & M studios in Hollywood with Keith Lawrence's brother Claire Lawrence (Collectors, Chilliwack) to produce
The result was the A & M Records distributed debut album 'Country Man. The album's first single was "Rock And Roll Song" - the recollection of facing a zealous audience at the Aldergrove Rock Festival in 1968 - which made the Canadian Top20 chart position. The song would go on to be recorded by many other artists including John Kay & Steppenwolf. The album's second single, "A Good Song", would make the Canadian Top10 and eventually be re-interpreted by the venerable Quincy Jones (who sang lead on the recording) under the title "Just A Man".
The sophomore album was another Claire Lawrence production called 'Landscapes' and featured the title track and "Simple Life" as singles.
Valdy's 1974 album 'Family Gathering' was recorded at Toronto's Massey Hall. The album resulted in his second straight gold record and his first Juno Award for 'Outstanding Folk Performance of the Year'.
For his third studio release, 'See How The Years Have Gone By', A & M decided to send Valdy back to Hollywood, this time with Doors producer Paul Rothschild to re-recreate his most popular songs as an introduction to the US market.
By 1976 Valdy had switched management and had put five albums in the rear-view mirror - following his team up with The Hometown Band featuring Shari Ulrich and ex-members of Skylark - and was second only to Gordon Lightfoot in record sales for a Canadian folk singer. In August, he represented Canada at the International Song Festival in Sopot, Poland.
In 1978 he recorded a more upbeat environmental album called 'Hot Rocks' whose title track refers to spent nuclear fuel and was the album's first single. "Sister I Love You" followed up the charts and also made its way into the Top40 on the heels of a heavy road schedule.
In 1982 he left A & M Records and released two albums on Sloth Records - '1001' and 'Valdy's Kids Records.
In 1985 he landed on Duke Street Records for the album 'Notes From Places'. Recorded at Little Mountain and Le Studio in Morin Heights, Quebec, the country-flavoured offering produced only one single - the world renowned "Sonny's Dream" written by Ron Hynes. He was nominated by the Juno Awards for the 12th time - as 'Country Male Vocalist of the Year'.
Over the years, Valdy has collaborated with other singer/songwriters, such as Max Bennett on "Simple Life" and Bob Ruzicka on "Leaving Ain't The Only Way To Go" and "Easy Money".
In 1992 he signed an eight year contract with the adult arm of the children's label Oak Street Music. His first album, 'Heart At Work', was released in April 1993. "Double Solitaire" was the album's first single.
From his home base on Salt Spring Island, Valdy would venture out on the occasional tour in the 2000s with Gary Fjellgaard (whom he's recorded two albums with) and a resulting live release called "Viva Valdy".
Valdy has wontwo Juno Awards for 'Folk Singer of the Year' and 'Folk Entertainer of the Year', and has received seven additional Juno nominations; His fourteen albums have achieved sales of nearly half a million copies, four of which are certified gold; Chosen "Songwriter of the Year" and received CARAS awards in Folk/Bluegrass categories.
His songs were featured in the 1972 Steve McQueen film 'The Getaway'; he was a panelist on the popular 1970s show 'Front Page Challenge'; Valdy also appeared on the CBC-TV show 'The Beachcombers' as the environmental activist "Halibut" Stu and was in the reunion production of 'The New Beachcombers' performing his original song "It's The Water"; Valdy was the host of "BC Music Project" music video show and the winner of the 1989 'Gold Ribbon Talent Development Award'.
Valdy has toured a dozen different countries, from Denmark to Australia, and been an often-invited performer at the prestigious Kerrville Festival in Texas.
Valdy received the Order of Canada in June 2011.
with notes from Kathy Hahn
Rock And Roll Song/Hello Mr. Record Man (Haida) HS-101
A Good Song/Mm Mm Mm Mm (Haida) HS-104
Landscapes/Arnold's Cove (Haida)
Simple Life/[same] (A & M) DJ-1474
Renaissance/Rock And Roll Song (A & M) AM-377
Yes I Can (Anyway You Want Me)/Coldwater Castle (A & M) AM-413
Peter And Lou/Weather'd Hands (A & M) AM-418
Hometown Band/ (A & M) AM-432
Dirty Old Man/Livin' Out On The Road (A & M) AM-461
Hot Rocks [stereo]/Hot Rocks [mono] (A & M) AM-469
Sister I Love You [stereo]/Sister I Love You [mono] (A & M) AM-473
Easy Money/Comin' Home (Sloth) SS-101
Just Like A Movie Scene/Thank God He's A Stranger (Sloth) SS-103
Leavin' Ain't The Only Way To Go/Dream The Night Away (Sloth) SS-107
Daddy's Okay/Livin' In A Kids World (Sloth) SS-108
It's That Melody/Tlell (Duke Street) DSR-71010
Sonny's Dream/Julie (Duke Street) DSR-8010
Roll Man Roll
Living Next To A Candy Store
Hey Mr. Michael Wilson
Link In A Chain (PEG - US) 872
Dreams About You (PEG - US) 925
Country Man (Haida) HI-5101
Landscapes (Haida) HI-5104
Family Gathering (A & M) SP-9013
See How The Years Have Gone By (A & M) 4538
Valdy & The Hometown Band (A & M) 4592
Hot Rocks (A & M) SP-9034
Passport: Best Of Valdy (A & M) SP-9038
1001 (Sloth) SL-1001
Valdy's Kids Record (Sloth) SL-1002
Notes From Places (Duke Street) DSR-31010
Valdy: A Classic Collection (A & M)
Heart At Work (PEG - US) 012
Smorgas Bard (ROR) 101
20th Century Masters - Millennium Collection: Best of Valdy (Universal) 0625055
Viva Valdy – Live at Last (Rack On Tour/WEA) 776127221528
with GARY FJELLGAARD
Contenders (Stony Plain) SPCD1262-2000
Contenders Two: Still in the Running (Stony Plain) PRO-177034
Valdy's Official Website
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