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Remembering Jack Kemp...

1923 - 1995

The first thing that Jack rewarded himself with when he returned from WWII was a brand new 1945 Gibson L7 guitar before going to work as an engineer on a Steam Locomotive along with life long fiddler friend Charlie Morrisson. They both grew together as musicians playing squaredances, kitchens and community halls in rural northern Ontario's Parry Sound region.

CNR 6200 at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa.
(Note Atlas missile at far right.)

Jack worked as a railroad engineer on the old 6200 up until the introduction of the diesel engine at which time he shifted his focus toward musical instrument restoration. This would become his livelihood for the remaining thirty years of his life.

Amoung the other fiddlers that he would accompany in Toronto on a regular basis were his kid neighbor Graham Townsend who was originally from Buckingham Quebec and master irish fiddlers Tom McQuestion and Billy Crawford, both of whom had emmigrated from County Antrim, Ireland to Toronto where they became Graham's primary fiddle teachers. Unfortunately Jack's music was never recorded but his spirit and musical styles have since had an influence and served much inspiration to two younger generations of musicians that have come through the same violin shop.

 

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