Keith Nicholson | Bowing Down Home

Keith Nicholson, 2006

Biography

John Donald Keith Nicholson grew up during PEI's traditional period of music and dance, and often frequented local house parties. His mother sang and played piano. Among his near neighbors during his youth were fiddler Elliott Wight and piano player Margaret Ross MacKinnon; fiddlers Danny MacLean, Clarence MacLean, and Jimmy Halliday lived just a few miles down the road.

Nicholson's family came to southeastern Queens County with the original settlers organized by Lord Selkirk aboard the a ship called the Polly. All four grandparents are descended from the Polly party: the Nicholsons, MacKenzies, MacEacherns, and Beatons.

Keith joined the Canadian Armed Forces in the late 1950s and served until forced to retire by a heart condition. After his retirement, he settled in Ontario, but returned to southeast Queens County each summer for an extended visit.

Nicholson played some as a youngster, gave up fiddling for a long while, then came back to it later in life. His playing had a decided central-Canadian flavor, and he was also much influenced by Southern US fiddling: in part from listening during his youth to broadcasts emanating from country-music radio station WWVA, Wheeling, West Virginia.

Other voices on the oral history selection are those of accompanists Hancock and Gillis.

Tune Selections

Nicholson, Keith - Mrs. McLeod of Rasay Accompanied by: Howard Hancock, gtr; Norman Gillis, bass
Eastern Queens
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Nicholson, Keith - Operator Reel Accompanied by: Howard Hancock, gtr; Norman Gillis, bass
Eastern Queens
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Video Clips