Little Buddy Hirtle

Little Buddy Hirtle

 

Sherman "Little Buddy" Hirtle was born in 1933 on Tancook Island
in beautiful Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. When he was young,
his sister Norma called him “Buddy” and the name stuck.

Little Buddy first got his start in music through his mother
who taught him how to play hymns on the pump organ.
"My mother was musical. She made me take lessons on the old
pump organ, I knew every hymn in the book."

At age 12, his father bought him a mandolin for Christmas. "I said, 'What in the devil did you buy that for?' I wasn't interested."

Eventually, he picked up the strange instrument and learned to play from another mandolin player on Big Tancook Island.
Influenced by his grandmother's Hank Snow and Carter Family records, Little Buddy solidified his interest in country music
when his family traded a bag of potatoes for a battery radio. He listened to the country sounds on WWVA, a West Virginia station,
and began to emulate the artists heard on the programs.

"I always liked Doc Williams songs. I joined his fan club when I was 12, then I hitchhiked into Halifax and met him.
We were friends ever since. He lived in West Virginia and I talked to him every second week on the phone until he died.

At about 16 years Buddy, Norma and another girl hitchhiked to Liverpool to see Smilin' Ivan. That was the plan,
but when the girls took off and left him in Martins Point, Buddy headed down the road to Jim Hamm's place.
Two weeks later when the girls got home, Buddy was nowhere to be seen. "I never showed up," he says. "
They were wondering where I was, then they heard me on the radio playing with Jimmy."

They played every day except Sunday. "People looked in through the glass on the door," he recalls. "
The studio wasn't that big, and it had a big grand piano. There were no tape players. As soon as the on-air sign came on,
we didn't say anything bad!"

David Flack was with CKBW Radio in the late 50s. He recalls, "Little Buddy and Fiddlin' Jim Hamm were sponsored
by an American Christmas tree company for a live, 15-minute show in the studio. It was the first time I met Little Buddy
and his pal, the late, Jim Hamm. I thought to myself, ‘He's a pretty good guitar picker, and a pretty good singer.
They make a good team.’ He was a very likable young man.”

"At one time we played every night of the week except Sunday," Little Buddy said. "On Sunday, we partied."
The band played anywhere that would have them, even if it meant rowing to the venue. "You couldn't start a dance at 8 o'clock.
You had to wait for the tide," he laughs about shows on Bells Island. "Some nights the dance didn't start until 12,
then we played until half-day Sunday until the tide went out again. We had to go to Bush Island, then get in a dory
with all of our gear and then row to Bells Island."

For over 60 years, Little Buddy has entertained the people of Nova Scotia and at age 79, he still has no plans to slow down!
Check out the “Shows” page and go see Buddy and his friends!
…and don’t forget to introduce yourself!

(portions of this bio taken from southshorenow.ca)

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