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Valdy performing in 1976.jpg
Background information
Birth namePaul Valdemar Horsdal
Born (1945-09-01) 1 September 1945 (age 77)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
GenresFolk, country
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
Years active1960s–present

Paul Valdemar Horsdal, CM (born 1 September 1945[1]), commonly known as Valdy, is a Canadian folk and country musician whose solo career began in the early 1970s. He is known for "Rock and Roll Song", his first mainstream single.[2][3] Valdy is the winner of two Juno Awards for Folk Singer of the Year and Folk Entertainer of the Year, and has received seven additional Juno nominations. His fourteen albums, including four which are certified gold, have achieved sales of nearly half a million copies.

Early life and education[edit]

Valdy was born and grew up in Ottawa, Ontario,[4] the third child of Danish portrait photographer Paul Horsdal and Lillian Horsdal (née West), an English nurse and writer.[5] He studied guitar and piano,[6] and attended Lisgar Collegiate Institute.


Early career[edit]

Valdy was a member of The London Towne Criers during the 1960s and subsequently joined Montreal band The Prodigal Sons. He then moved to Victoria, where he worked with various rock and country musicians, including Blake Emmons.[2]

When he was 25 Valdy bought several acres of land in Sooke, BC and began farming.[7] He began performing as a solo artist, and in 1972 recorded his "Rock and Roll Song" on Haida/A&M; it became a hit.[8][9] His music was featured in the 1972 Steve McQueen film The Getaway. In 1973 he won a Juno Award for Outstanding Folk Performance.[10]

Valdy recorded a live album, Family Gathering, through A&M; it was recorded at Massey Hall in Toronto and released in 1974.

Valdy appeared on the CBC TV show The Beachcombers as the environmental activist "Halibut" Stu. He also secured a part in the reunion production of The New Beachcombers performing a song he wrote, "It's The Water," as part of a jug band.


In 1986, Valdy made a guest appearance as himself in the popular 1980's Canadian children's television show, Today's Special (episode entitled: "trash"). He also guest appeared as himself on Sharon, Lois & Bram's Elephant Show in the third season episode titled "Growing Up".


In 2000 Valdy released the album Contenders with country musician Gary Fjellgaard.[11] He continued to tour with Fjellgaard for many years.[12]

Valdy recorded 2003's Viva Valdy: Live at Last during the Rack-On-Tour. On 21 November 2005, Valdy was awarded the National Achievement Award by SOCAN at the 2005 SOCAN Awards in Toronto.[13]


Valdy was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in June 2011.[14][15] In 2012, he released his 18th album, Read Between the Lines, and toured across Canada in support.[16][17]

In 2013 Valdy toured in Canada with New Zealand guitarist Graham Wardrop.[15] In 2014 he continued to perform at folk festivals, including Kingsville Folk with jazz pianist Karel Roessingh and Nadina Mackie-Jackson on bassoon.[18]

As of 2018, Valdy continues to regularly tour across Canada, including a performance on the main stage at the Mariposa Folk Festival.[19]


Married (1986) to Kathleen Fraser Horsdal, a teacher, hospice worker and song cowriter. His daughter Chelah Horsdal is an actress.



Year Album CAN
1972 Country Man 39
1973 Landscapes 39
1974 Family Gathering 35
1975 See How the Years Have Gone By
1976 Valdy and the Hometown Band 40
1978 Hot Rocks 65
1979 1001
1980 Passport: Best of Valdy
1981 Valdy's Kids Record
1986 Notes from Places
1988 Classic Collection
1993 Heart at Work
1996 Smorgasbard
1999 Contenders (with Gary Fjellgaard)
2001 Valdy: Millennium Collection
2003 Viva Valdy: Live at Last
2007 Contenders Two: Still in the Running
(with Gary Fjellgaard)
2012 Read Between The Lines


Year Single Chart Positions Album
1972 "Rock and Roll Song" 31 17 Country Man
1973 "A Good Song" 9 9
"Simple Life" 22 16 Landscapes
1974 "Landscapes" 87
"Renaissance" 23 Family Gathering
1976 "Yes I Can" 12 63 Valdy and the Hometown Band
"Peter and Lou" 15 58
1978 "Dirty Old Man" 38 singles only
1981 "Easy Money" 17
"Thank God He's a Stranger" 28
1985 "Sonny's Dream" 17 Notes from Places
1993 "Link in a Chain" 36 Heart at Work
1994 "Dreams About You" 48


  1. ^ "Want Ads: Births". Ottawa Journal. 3 September 1945. p. 12.
    "Want Ads: Births". Ottawa Citizen. 3 September 1945. p. 12.
  2. ^ a b "Valdy (biography)". The Canadian Pop Encyclopedia. Jam!/Canoe. Retrieved 6 May 2009.
  3. ^ Michael Bennett (30 September 1972). "Western Canada:Activity abounds on all fronts". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: 48–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  4. ^ "Valdy". The Canadian Encyclopedia, by Holly Quan, 7 February 2006
  5. ^ Cooperon, Veronica (15 March 2017). "Your Country, Your Story: Canadian Folk Singer Legend, Valdy". CHEK News.
  6. ^ " Valdy". AllMusic, biography by John Bush
  7. ^ Wong, Hugo (29 December 2017). "Legendary folk singer "Valdy returns to Sidney for fourth show in four years"". Sooke News Mirror.
  8. ^ "Valdy performs to sell out crowd at the Grist Mill". Keremeos Review. 2 September 2014.
  9. ^ David Makin (5 October 2015). Reantasy, Montreal: The Book to Read, the Place to Be. AuthorHouse. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-5049-5071-8.
  10. ^ This Year's Winners. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 7 April 1973. pp. 56–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  11. ^ Thom, Eric (1 April 2000). "Valdy & Gary Fjellgaard Contenders". Exclaim!.
  12. ^ "Contenders, still: Valdy on why he's still on the road". Sean Brady Kamloops This Week, 26 October 2018
  13. ^ "2005 SOCAN Awards". SOCAN website
  14. ^ "Appointments to the Order of Canada". Governor General of Canada. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  15. ^ a b "Folk stalwart Valdy at home on the coast". Mike Devlin, Times Colonist, 8 October 2013
  16. ^ "Street Sounds: Folk troubadour remains relevant". Vernon Morning Star, Dean Gordon-Smith, 9 Nov. 2012
  17. ^ "Valdy in Province For Tour, New Album". CBC East Coast Music, Bob Mersereau, 4 Oct 2012.
  18. ^ "Review: Kingsville Folk 2014". Folk Roots Radio, JAN HALL
  19. ^ Taylor, Nathan (7 July 2018). "Mariposa Folk Festival a record breaker". Barrie Today.

External links[edit]