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 were a bluegrass band based in London, Ontario, Canada. The band first came together in 1974,[1] and became one of Canada's best known bluegrass bands.[2]

Original members of the band were guitarist Bert Baumbach, mandolinist Ken Palmer, harmonica player Willie 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]

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 1970s.[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]

After a last stand with The Flyers at the Elgin County international plowing match in the fall of 2010, Ken Palmer retired due to heart problems.[13] The band played on briefly without him before going on indefinite hiatus. On October 30, 2013, Ken Palmer died at the age of 65 after a bout of pneumonia contracted after a heart transplant. [14] A few months earlier, in the spring of 2013, the band had been inducted into the London (Ontario) Music Hall of Fame, with both Palmer and Baumbach in attendance.[8][15]



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. ^ http://blogs.canoe.com/brandnewblog/entertainment/ken-palmer-has-retired-from-the-dixie-flyers-last-fall/
  14. ^ http://www.lfpress.com/2013/10/30/london-musical-hall-of-famer-ken-palmer-dies
  15. ^ "The Dixie Flyers Receive JRMA Hall Of Fame Honours". Country Music Association of Ontario Newsletter, 2 May 2013.

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