A local band is set to be inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame next month. “South Mountain” will be the recipient of the honour – not the town, but a band of the same name with members from the local North Dundas town.
“South Mountain” was formed in 1989 by Laurie LaPorte-Piticco and Steve Piticco. Both were residents of the town of South Mountain at the time, and Laurie still is. Other founding members were Todd Nolan from Hamilton, Don Reed from Sudbury, and Bill Carruthers from Tilsonburg. “The band’s music was definitely classic country with a bluegrass roots flavour,” said Laurie. “Our sound was built around the three vocals, Steve’s guitar and Don’s Fiddle. It was a great loss to the country music scene when our drummer Billy passed away in 2019.”
Laurie described the immense success that the band had in its heyday. “We were very fortunate to have won the 1991 Canadian Country Music Vista Rising Star award, and had been nominated several times for group of the year,” she said. “We hosted our own TV Show out of Pembroke and Ottawa on CHRO at the time, then A Channel for four years, called Canadian Country Express. Several appearances were made on television – Canadian Country Music Awards, Tommy Hunter Show, Breakfast television, etc.”
The group ended up touring in Europe, based out of the Netherlands, where they were nominated for The International Dutch Country Music Awards, with Steve winning the Dutch Country International Instrumentalist Award on several occasions. The band toured a handful of countries over the years, including Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, and of course, Canada and the USA.
On home soil, “South Mountain” had several CD’s and top 10 singles on the radio. The town of South Mountain even had an awards appreciation night for the band, as a “thank you” and a gesture of pride for the representation on Canadian radio stations.
Things have cooled down in more recent years, particularly since the onset of the pandemic. “South Mountain has had a number of band member changes over the past few years, and since COVID happened they really have not played,” said Laurie. “Steve was the only original member left playing with the Band.”
Of course, band members touring internationally for years are bound to have countless interesting stories and experiences, but one in particular stands out in Laurie’s mind. “Once, playing a festival in Winchester City Holland, we had just finished our set and I went out front in the crowd to see another band,” Laurie said. “While there, this man approached meandtoldmehehada sister that lived in a small town in Canada called South Mountain. Well it ended up his sister was my neighbour. Such a small world!”
“South Mountain” will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame at Centrepointe Theatre on September 25, along with three other bands. Local artist Marleen Fawcett will also be performing at the show. “It’s a great honor to be chosen from a group of our peers,” said Laurie. “I am sure residents who were fans and still are would love to know about it.”
Tickets are $45.75 and can be purchased from the box office.