Meet Peter Trenholm, the Biggest Hank Williams Fan in the World

“I grew up on classic country and gospel, and I still find joy in the songs of my lifelong musical hero, Hank Williams."

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Peter Trenholm as a teenager
Courtesy Peter Trenholm

Ode to Hank Williams

Hello friends, I am Peter Trenholm. The Trenholms came to the new world from England in 1772. I have four brothers and four sisters, and am the eighth child born to Hudson and Mary (Peers), coming into this world on July 29, 1949. I was raised in the beautiful seaside village of Pugwash on the north shore of Nova Scotia. My wife, Myrna, and I have four children and 13 grandchildren. My first memory of music was at age five, listening to my parents’ small Admiral radio and, at 14, I taught myself guitar. In 1963 I saw Doc Williams in concert, which was my first exposure to this thing called country music—and I liked it! Soon after, I heard the music of Hank Williams for the first time and I’ve been hooked ever since.

I’ve performed at dances, weddings, funerals, prisons, exhibitions, benefits, festivals, seniors’ care facilities, all-denominational church functions, you name it—over 1,000 concerts in all. I began performing in the 1980s at country, bluegrass and gospel concerts. Special among these is the prison ministry that Myrna and I shared for eight years. Fans soon began asking for recordings. I issued my first album, His Love Is Free, in 1995, which was the first of four albums produced by one of Canada’s finest musicians, Ray Legere. Thanks to its success, I was honoured to receive an invitation to perform on Rita MacNeil’s television show. I’ve also been a featured vocalist at Atlantic Canada’s Steel Guitar Club annual concerts, and for ten years appeared on Fred Isenor’s very popular television show, The Bluegrass & Country Jamboree. In 2015, I performed at the world-famous Cyrus Eaton dining hall in Pugwash, this being the original location where the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs were first held in 1957. It was a privilege to perform at such a historic site.

The first-ever gospel tribute to my musical hero Hank Williams happened in 2007. As a guest speaker, I told Hank’s story and performed with local artists. This concert was so successful it was repeated three times in two years. I was also involved with tribute concerts to Jim Reeves and Tom T. Hall. In 2010, I performed my own tribute to Hank Williams, receiving a standing ovation from a full house.

I’ve been to Alabama several times and participated in the annual Hank Williams birthday celebrations there. I’ve written several articles on Hank, published in the Georgiana Fan Club newsletter. I’m a lifetime member of the Hank Williams Appreciation Society and of the two museums in Montgomery and Georgiana. As a Hank Williams Sr. and Classic Country Music historian, I’ve met many of Hank’s relatives and friends. For the past nine years I’ve produced Hank Williams radio tributes that aired January 1st, the anniversary of Hank’s death.

Having been nominated by Canadian country musician Michael T. Wall for entry into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame, I was invited to perform at the organization’s 37th annual country and bluegrass festival in Lemars, Iowa, in 2012. It was thrilling to meet and perform on the same stage as Grand Ole Opry star Lynn Anderson, John-Rex Reeves (nephew to Jim Reeves) and Terry Smith (three-time Grammy award winner for writing Far Side Banks of Jordan, recorded by Johnny Cash). I was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the president Bob Everhart while performing for 1,200 festival fans. It was a humbling and proud moment during my musical career. In 2019, I was invited back to receive their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Find out the most popular song from the year you were born.

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Peter Trenholm with his wife, Myrna
Courtesy Peter Trenholm

International Appeal

I joined the team of Diamondback recording artists from California in 2014, releasing singles to the European and North American markets. Joyce Ramgatie from the Netherlands publishes The Global International Mainstream Country Music Charts. DJs from around the world report their radio playlists to Joyce; in return, she produces Top 200 Artists and Top 40 singles lists in Europe. I’ve been number one on three occasions since 2014, the same year my recording of “Truck Driving Man” was a number two hit on the Top 40 singles charts. Rainer H. Schmeissner of Germany issues Country Ideals and I’ve been published five times in this fine country music magazine.

My music has also been showcased by Dann Hansen (Den- mark), Miroslaw Desperak (Poland), Bryan Chalker (England), Darren Mullens (China), and Big Al Field from Triple “U” FM stations in Australia, where I was asked to tour in 2017.

I’ve also had success on the northern U.S. gospel charts with my own composition, “Passing Through.”

To date, I’ve issued 26 albums—ten gospel, 14 classic country/bluegrass, and two devoted to Christmas. Currently I host my own radio program, The Gospel Trail, which airs weekly in Kentucky, Scotland and Nova Scotia. Response has been phenomenal and showcasing national and local artists, both past and present, helps me promote the music I love.

I’m not a preacher, just someone who likes to share gospel and classic country/ bluegrass. At 70, I’m still performing and releasing CDs, for which I am thankful. While the music has been and still is wonderful, it is all the friends I’ve made along the way that have made this journey so special. To my beautiful wife Myrna I say, “Thanks for allowing me to be part of your life for the past 50 years.”

Next, discover what your favourite type of music says about your personality.

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