The ECMA Stompin’ Tom Awards exist to honour all the hard-working, unsung heroes who make music for the love of it, not the money. When Stompin’ Tom Connors was awarded the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award during the 1993 ECMA in PEI, he accepted on the condition that it would bring recognition to the real heroes of Eastern Canadian music who had day jobs all their lives and didn’t really have the option of making a living playing music in the “pre-industrial age”. He established a set of criteria to be used in identifying eligible candidates and this year, a committee of Atlantic Canadian folklorists chose Cape Breton’s The Radio Ranch Boys as one of five recipients of 1998 ECMA Stompin’ Tom Awards.
“We had more nerve than a rotten tooth,” says Traynor Donovan from the podium as he dedicates the award to the late Mickey MacIntyre and Sid Martell who were members of the group which formed in the 1950’s. “Six guys in a Volkswagen with a doghouse bass, one head stickin’ out on each side,” was how he described their travel arrangements back in the days when they’d play as often as six or seven nights a week.
The other members of this pioneer band, along with Donovan, MacIntyre and Martell are Byron MacPhee, Sean Waye and Joe Waye.