b. 12 March 1926, Mulgrave, Nova Scotia, Canada. The family were musical and he learned guitar as a boy, later adding piano, banjo, mandolin and fiddle. In the early 40s, greatly influenced by Hank Snow, he began singing in dancehalls and other venues in the Maritime provinces of Canada. During World War II, he worked on coastal boats, the railroad and accompanied by a drum playing elder sister, he played piano and sang for dances in army canteens. In 1948, he had his own show on CKCR Kitchener, Ontario, where he met and later toured with Kidd Baker. In the early 50s, he was a member of the CKNXTravelling Barn Dance Gang at Wingham and was also on network radio broadcasts. During the 60s, he fronted his own band playing the nightclub circuit and often accompanied American stars, including Cowboy Copas, Mac Wiseman, Carl Smith and Grandpa Jones, on their Canadian tours. He made his first recordings, including three popular self-penned numbers, ‘The Bachelor’s Train’, ‘I’ll Remember You Darling’ and ‘Your Memory Haunts Me’, in 1957. He eventually retired to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia but in the mid-80s, he was still making appearances at festivals and reunion concerts. MacDonald’s singing always showed the careful phrasing and delivery of Snow; at times he sounded very like his idol particularly on his recordings of Snow’s songs such as ‘Mother’ and ‘Brand On My Heart’.
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