Cherny, Al

Al (Alexander Peter) Cherny (b Chernywech). Fiddler, b Medicine Hat, Alta, of Ukrainian parents, 1 Nov 1932, d Missisauga, Ont, 23 Aug 1989. As a youth he studied violin with Frank Nowak and in his teens he played country music on CHAT radio, Medicine Hat. In 1951 he joined Vic Siebert and his Sons of the Saddle, a cowboy music group in Calgary, and 1952-9 he was a featured performer on 'CKNX Barn Dance' from CKNX radio, Wingham, Ont. At the Canadian Open Old Time Fiddlers' Contest he won the novelty class in 1959, 1960 and 1961, and the open class in 1960 and 1961. Cherny was a regular performer on CBC TV, first 1963-5 on 'Country Hoedown' and thereafter (until his death) on 'The Tommy Hunter Show'. He also appeared with Hunter on CBC radio's 'Country Holiday' and on CBC-sponsored tours during the 1960s of Europe and the Middle and Far East.

Considered one of Canada's finest professional fiddlers of his day, Cherny had become a leading studio musician by the early 1970s, recording as a sideman with Gary Buck, Dick Damron, Hunter, Sylvia Tyson, Jesse Winchester, and others. Under his own name, Cherny had one LP released by Arc, nine (including reissues and collections) by RCA, and two (drawn from RCA material, including Golden Ukrainian Melodies) by Tee Vee Records. He recorded several of his own fiddle tunes (published by Dunbar Music). Cherny received a Big Country Award as top country instrumentalist in 1978 and was inducted posthumously into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989.