Dixie Flyers

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This article is about the bluegrass band. For other uses of the term Dixie Flyers, see Dixie Flyer (disambiguation).
Dixie Flyers
Origin London, Ontario, Canada
Genres bluegrass
Years active 1974 (1974)–present
Labels Boot, Flat top
Website dixieflyers.ca

The Dixie Flyers is a bluegrass band based in London, Ontario, Canada. The band first came together in 1974,[1] and has become one of Canada's best known bluegrass bands.[2]

Original members of the band were guitarist Bert Baumbach, mandolinist Ken Palmer, harmonicist Willy P. Bennett, bassist Brian Abbey and Dennis LePage on the banjo.[3] Although lead vocalists Baumbach and Palmer have been continuous members, over the years the band has seen a number of changes in the lineup.[4] Dixie Flyer band members have included:[2][5]

  • Guitar: Bert Baumbach
  • Fiddle: Gordon Stobbe, Peter Robinson, and John P. Allen.
  • Mandolin: Ken Palmer (died October 30, 2013)[6]
  • Bass: Brian Abbey, David Zdriluk, Chris Ingram
  • Banjo: Dennis LePage, David Jack, David Talbot, Paul Hurdle and Walter Maynard
  • Harmonica: Willy P. Bennett and Mike Ethelston
  • Dobro: Al Widmeyer, Blair Heddle

The Dixie Flyers played at the Carlisle Bluegrass Festival in 1975,[3] where they met Bill Monroe, and were subsequently invited to play at Monroe's Bean Blossom Festival in Indiana, USA. [7][8] The band also played at the Cambridge Millrace Festival[9] and the Blueberry Bluegrass Festival in Stony Plain, Alberta.[10] They also played several times at the Canterbury Folk Festival in Ingersoll, Ontario.[11] The band performed regularly at the Flint Folk and Bluegrass Festival in Michigan.[6]

The Flyers recorded a series of albums on the Boot Records label during the 1980s.[2] They were the hosts of a television show called Bluegrass Express on CFPL in London in 1985 and also took part in a weekly radio show for seven years.[12][3] The band appeared on the Tommy Hunter Show, and for a time managed the Back 40 Bluegrass Festival at Woodstock, Ont. [2]

In 2013 the Dixie Flyers were inducted into the London (Ontario) Music Hall of Fame.[8][13]



Name of Album Label Year
Light, medium, heavy Boot Records 1977
For our friends Boot Records 1980
Just pickin' Boot Records 1978
Cheaper to lease Boot Records 1978
Five by five Boot Records 1981
New horizons Stony Plain 1984
Business as Usual Boot Records 1987
Live at the Wellington Tavern Flat Top 1980
Right on track Flat Top 2005



  1. ^ "Ken Palmer put the ‘man’ in mandolin –R.I.P.". Toronto Moon.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Dixie Flyers", The Canadian Encyclopedia, retrieved 4 March 2013
  3. ^ a b c Reaney, James, "Flyers mark 30 years of gigs", London Free Press, 5 June 2004
  4. ^ Meyer, Sean, "Celebrating 35 years of making music ", The Londoner, 5 May 2010
  5. ^ Schneider, Jason, "Dixie Flyers Right on Track", album review at exclaim.ca
  6. ^ a b c Ken Palmer passes". Bluegrass today, 3 November 2013.
  7. ^ Adler, Thomas, Bean Blossom: The Brown County Jamboree and Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Festivals University of Illinois Press, 2011,
  8. ^ a b Reaney, James, "Jack Richardson music awards", The London Free Press, 26 February 2013
  9. ^ Reid, Robert, "Dixie Flyers land in Cambridge for bluegrass concert", The Guelph Mercury, 29April 2010
  10. ^ Festival History - Blueberry Bluegrass Festival
  11. ^ Canterbury Festival - Archives
  12. ^ "Dixie Flyers" , Allmusic
  13. ^ "The Dixie Flyers Receive JRMA Hall Of Fame Honours". Country Music Association of Ontario Newsletter, 2 May 2013.

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