By Dale Clifford, Peterborough Examiner
Local country music singer Diane Leigh has been described as an inspiration and trailblazer for women in the industry.
For this and other things she has accomplished over the years, she was rewarded with induction into the 2015 Canadian Country Music Association (CMA) Hall of Fame.
The 74-year-old Toronto native, who has called Fowlers Corners and the Anchor Bay Road Camp near Buckhorn her home and summer home respectively the past 40 years or so, will be ceremoniously inducted as an artist during Country Music Week, in Halifax from Sept. 10-13. Her son Daniel plans to accompany his mother.
Leigh, recognized as one of the first Canadian country female artists to achieve national recognition with awards and television exposure, said she was shocked when she first heard the news last month.
“I was overwhelmed and couldn’t believe it,’’ she said. “It was a great honour and it meant a lot to be acknowledged by your peers. I thank everyone for my nomination and all those who made it possible. It is a very special award.’’
Leigh, whose professional career spanned about two decades, first performed as a featured vocalist at 19 in the Toronto pop band, The Sapphires in her home town and by the early 1960s she was a featured vocalist in the western group, Sons of the Saddle, worked the Toronto club scene as a solo act and toured briefly playing drums in Patsy Cline’s road band.
In 1963, Leigh recorded her first solo session in Nashville, attracting chart action on Canadian radio. Throughout her career, Leigh accumulated 16 charted singles, was on the RPM Country Charts with six Top 10 hits and three #1 hits. In 1994, music trade publication, RPM, considered her the ninth top Canadian country artist of the past 30 years based on her standings in the publication’s charts.
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