John Allan Cameron sang on CBC Halifax TV's Singalong Jubilee and Ceilidh, among other country and pop music programs, before starring in his own series on CTV (from Montreal, 1975-6) and CBC (from Halifax, summer 1979 and winter 1980-1). He appeared in 1970 at the Grand Ole Opry (Nashville), played in coffeehouses in various Canadian centres, and performed with Tommy Makem and Anne Murray in concert and on TV. Cameron sang at the Mariposa, Newport, Atlantic, Winnipeg and other folk festivals, and he performed in Celtic festivals and Highland games throughout North America and in Europe. Cameron was a member in 1977 and 1979, and the producer in 1989, of shows that performed at Canadian military bases in Germany and the Middle East. In 1989 he took dramatic roles at the Stephenville (Nfld) Festival and at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, and in 1998 and 1999-2000 was a featured performer in the Mirvish theatrical production 'Needfire: Passions of the Heart.' Cameron was host and honorary chairman of Fiddles of the World (Halifax) in 1999 and of the Celtic Colours International Festival (Cape Breton) in 1998 and 1999. From 1985 until 2005 Cameron served as Honorary Chieftain of the Fergus (Ontario) Highland Games.
John Allan Cameron's repertoire included Cape Breton fiddle tunes and 'mouth music,' Scottish and Irish folk songs and stories, bagpipe music adapted for 12-string guitar, and songs byBruce Cockburn, Gary Fjellgaard, Allister MacGillivray, Stan Rogers, Bob Ruzicka, and others. Cameron was known as the godfather of the Celtic revival, and in the year before his death was honoured in several tribute concerts by artists he had mentored, including Sandy MacIntyre, Ron Hynes, Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster, Jimmy Rankin, Rita MacNeil, Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea, The Barra MacNeils. MacIntyre produced a 40-track compilation CD, featuring artists who performed with or were influenced by Cameron (Yes! Let's hear it for John Allan Cameron! Scotsmarket 2006).
John Allan Cameron received the East Coast Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995, and in 2003 was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada.
Cameron's archive is at the Beaton Institute of Cape Breton University.
The Minstrel of Cranberry Lane. 1970. AL7-1650 Apex
Get There by Dawn. 1972. ELS 382/ES-90089 Columbia
Lord of the Dance. 1972. ELS 383/ES-90102 Columbia
Weddings, Wakes & Other Things. 1976. 2-GES-90343
Freeborn Man. 1979. CSPS 1432/GMI-002 Glencoe
Song for the Mira. 1981. CSPS 1640/GMI-003 Glencoe
The Best of John Allan Cameron. 1982. GAMC 3004 Great Atlantic Music Co.
Good Times. 1987. FR-019 Freedom
Wind Willow, MSCD-9128
Classic John Allan, vol 1-2. 1992. MSCD 9231 Margaree Sound
Classic John Allan, vol 3. 1996. 02 50444 Margaree Sound
Glencoe Station. 1996. 02 77657/5049 21 Atlantica Music
The Children's Collection. 1982. C 101 Tapestry
Portrait of a Scottish Fiddler. 1996. CUL 009D Culburnie
High Flight. 1999. WRC8-7319 8 Wing Trenton Pipe Band
Author Richard Green, Florence Hayes
LeBlanc, Larry. 'Folk purism not for John Allan Cameron,' Music Scene, 274, Nov-Dec 1973
Howell, Bill. 'The thinkin' man's Stompin' Tom,' Maclean's, Dec 1973
Brown, Dick. 'For the love of it,' Canadian Magazine, 20 May 1976
Cameron, Silver Donald. 'John Allan Cameron, entertainer,' Atlantic Insight, Nov 1980
MacGillivray, Allister. The Cape Breton Fiddler (Sydney, NS 1981)
Delaney, Larry. '...It's a wonderful life!! John Allan Cameron,' CMN, vol 12, Jun 1991
MacIntyre, John. 'John Allan Cameron: Cape Breton's Musical Ambassador,' The Atlantic Advocate, Aug 1991
MacDonald, Sandy. 'Roving Gypsy Boy,' The Daily News (Halifax), 25 Apr 1996
Landa, Lloyd. 'John Allan Cameron,' Country Music News, vol 19, no 4, Jul 1998
Quill, Greg. 'John Allan Cameron Made Celtic Cool,' Toronto Star, 20 May 2006
Celtic Spirits (NFB 1978)
Celtic Tides (Putomayo World Music 1997)
Celtic Soul: The Life and Music of John Allan Cameron (Creative Atlantic 2006)
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Country Music Association
The Canadian Country Music Association website. Check out the national country music awards, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, links to country music stars, and more.
Folk on the Rocks Festival
The website for the annual Folk on the Rocks Festival in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Click on the “1980 Lineup” for vintage bios of some of Canada’s greatest folk singers.
Cape Breton Celtic Festivals
Dedicated to Celtic music, song, and dance. Click on the "Celtic Colours" link for the latest festival highlights and biographies of participating musicians. Requires various media players. From the Virtual Museum of Canada.
John Allan Cameron
A profile of Celtic folk singer John Allan Cameron. From the Ian Davies Entertainment Agency.
Remembering Canada's 'godfather' of Celtic music
Listen to a CBC Radio clip about the life and career of John Allan Cameron, legendary Maritime musician and Celtic music pioneer.
Cape Breton Céilidh
This site is devoted to Gaelic culture and heritage of Cape Breton Island. Meet the Gaels of Cape Breton and explore their ancient language and its vibrant traditions of song, storytelling, music, and dance. From the Virtual Museum of Canada.