Celebrated as "Canada's Number One Cowboy Singer," Earl Heywood was a pioneering force in the development of Canadian country music. Born on a farm outside of Exeter, Ontario, on March 12, 1917, Heywood launched his career in 1941 as host of his own daily radio program on Chatham station CFCO. A year later he relocated to the Wingham area and station CKNX, where he remained for the next four decades. As lead vocalist and musical director for the weekly series CKNX Barn Dance, Heywood quickly emerged as the station's highest-rated performer, bolstering his fame via live appearances at dances and events throughout the southwestern Ontario region. In 1946, he was also appointed host of CKNX's Serenade Ranch, which ran for seven years. In 1948 Heywood signed to RCA Victor, and with backing outfit the Serenade Ranch Gang scored such self-penned hits as "The Alberta Waltz" and "The Tears of St. Anne." In all, he wrote and recorded some 300 songs across the span of his career, including sessions for Rodeo and Banff released under the Heywood Family aegis and featuring wife Martha and children Patricia and Grant. As CKNX began expanding into television, Heywood was tapped to headline the musical showcase Circle 8 Ranch. He also appeared on series including The Range Riders Show and Western Roundup. Inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989, Heywood also co-founded the Wingham-based Barndance Museum and Entertainment Society, and with Martha continued hosting traditional country dances throughout the 1990s. He died September 17, 2006, at the age of 89.