|Place of birth:
|Wilson Glen, Manitoba
|Place of death:
|Portage La Prairie, Manitoba
|Year of birth:
|Year of death:
|Source of information:
This is from the auto-biography that Grant wrote for the liner notes of his 1974 Voyager LP "Tunes from Home" (now available as CD 312)
"My family was musical, nearly everyone in it played. There were a few oldtime fiddlers around besides my family, but not many. My parents played for a lot of dances in Ontario before moving to Manitoba, and played quite a few there. They did pretty well all oldtime dances - square dances, four steps, three steps, seven steps, and sometimes clogs or step dancing for entertainment before the main dance would start.
"My mother had an organ and I played with that as soon as I could sit up close to it. One of the first waltzes I could play on it - I was about five years old - was the Missouri Waltz. Then I got a banjo in the early ‘30’s and I played banjo for eight or ten years, and then I picked up the fiddle. This was in about 1935. I didn’t have any formal training at all. There wasn’t anybody close to give lessons and no money to pay anybody then if there had been. During the 1930’s there wasn’t much money with the depression on. I learned listening to the radio and listening to my folks.
"I entered my first fiddle contest in 1939 in Portage la Prairie. At that time there had been a few contests around, but not too many - not like there are now. They used to have them in Winnipeg and in Portage. There was a while during the war there when they didn’t have any, but after the war was over, they started picking it up a little bit and now they’re getting to be quite a popular thing. I won my first contest in Portage in 1939. They had judges that were well qualified for oldtime music because they knew oldtime tunes quite well, as that is all there was. You had to play a waltz and a breakdown in three minutes. They usually had somebody ring a bell, but most of the fiddlers didn’t know for sure whether they were to stop when they rang the bell or finish the tune. I played a lot for dances starting in about 1932."
Grant was Manitoba fiddle champion in 1953, 1954, and 1955. In the 1970's, Grant would visit us in Seattle every March. He would drive across the country and appear unannounced at our doorstep, and when we asked him how long he was planning to be around, he would say that he had “no plans, no plans.” Then he would stay with us until it was time to go back home to Manitoba and take care of the farm. [Vivian Williams]