Special to the Nor’Wester
Bugs and Debbie Greene are musicians, entertainers, recording artists and music video producers. They have given new life to the people and places of Green Bay, through music and song. The musical performing duo have spent the last 2 months touring Green Bay filming local talent and the scenery within our communities, which will be featured on their upcoming musical tour DVD called The Green Bay Musical Tour/Cabin Party. Their music videos are produced not only for the purpose of entertaining, but for the purpose of promoting businesses and tourism in rural Newfoundland, something they are both very passionate about.
Their interest in the Green Bay area started when they came to Kings Point for the first time to perform for the opening night of Music and Friends Dinner Theatre. They were inspired by the warmth of the people and the beautiful scenery so decided to feature Green Bay in their latest video project. Bugs said “we love the scenery here in the winter, so we headed out to see more and we got hooked and decided we had to introduce our fans to the beauty of Green Bay this time of year.”
Bugs and Debbie have performed in King’s Point twice in recent months and for any of you who have seen their show you will agree that they really know how to entertain and warm up to an audience. They are very quick to get the attention and participation of the audience with their musical talents, quick wit and improv ways. Their interaction with people does not end on stage. They are just as warm, witty and charming off stage as they are on stage. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting them its an encounter you won’t soon forget.
Maybe you have caught a glimpse of them around this past while as they have spent time filming in each and every community in Green Bay . You may have seen Bugs sitting on the wharf in Triton playing the accordion or Debbie singing on the beach in Brighton, and wondered who they were. They have spent the past couple weeks in the Green Bay South area and they thoroughly enjoyed their time with the people of Triton, Pilley’s Island and surrounding communities. They couldn’t believe how warm and inviting the people were. The Mayor of Triton, Jason Roberts came out to welcome them and assisted with their tour of the region.
I had the opportunity to see them in action while they were filming in Little Bay. They visited the Little Bay Community Centre and Fire Hall to join in the ladies afternoon tea, where they filmed local accordion player Phil Matthews while he was playing for the ladies and then featured a solo performance by Phil on the beach. Phil is just one of many local musical talents that will be included on the music video. Others being highlighted include Larry and Nolan Newbury of Springdale, Ron Roberts of Kings Point, Bill Matchum of Roberts Arm, Dennis Gill and Nelson Whalen of Pilley’s Island, and Terry Whalen and Ford Parsons of Triton.
Bugs and Debbie were both born and raised in Newfoundland and hold their roots very dear to them. Bugs was born in Placentia Bay and comes from a musical family. He is no stranger to the music business having started at the young age of 5 performing on CBC’s The Joan Morrisey Show. Then he went on to play in his high school band for years. Bugs plays guitar, accordion, fiddle and mandolin on stage and behind the scenes spent time writing and recording. In 1985 he wrote and recorded the popular song entitled ‘Barney’s Reel’. It was an instant hit with radio and T.V. and was recently bought by the hit show ‘Republic of Doyle’ to be used in their series. Debbie was born in Corner Brook and joined Bugs on stage 14 years ago singing and playing the spoons, and their son Evan, who is a champion step dancer, performed with them for 11 years and contributed a lot to the show. They have travelled extensively throughout Canada and the United States.
For many years they were performing in musical shows for T.V. across the Atlantic provinces with Eastlink during which time they had a 5 piece band which consisted of hand picked Newfoundland musicians who came from all across Canada to film the T.V. shows twice a year. Unfortunately musical shows in their specific genre produced for the larger cable companies were cancelled and Bugs felt that this left a void across Atlantic Canada and U.S. for their style of Newfoundland music. It was at this time he decided to start up his own production company. Bugs and Debbie work as a team in their production efforts, both involved in the filming, production and directing of their musical videos. Since starting their own production business they have completed 7 musical tour DVD’s which highlight the different regions of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Green Bay Musical Tour DVD will be Volume 8 in the series.
The music video tours they produce work hand in hand with the work they do with Marine Atlantic every summer. They have been providing entertainment for passengers on board the Marine Atlantic ferry service from North Sydney to Port aux Basques for eleven years. The ferry is their home every summer and they said “we fit right in there because there are no tourism professionals on board to help travellers with their trip, so I guess we are it.” They greet passengers as they come on board and direct them to where they can watch their musical video tours on a big screen and then they follow up with a live show in the lounge and after the show they join the passengers and answer their questions and recommend places to see, places to stay and places to eat in Newfoundland. Bugs said, “when they watch our live show and see our video tours, the tourists really feel connected to us and love the fact that we are there to help guide them.”
I’ve had the opportunity to preview the work they have done on the upcoming musical video and I must say folks that Newfoundlanders and tourists alike are in for a real treat. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that it is a musical tribute to Green Bay featuring local musical talent, tourism highlights and the people who make a difference in our communities. The DVD will be released on May 4th.
This summer Bugs and Debbie will be promoting Green Bay to thousands of visitors to our province. They will be on the front lines promoting tourism in our area. They are helping to put Green Bay on the Tourism map. This could mean great things for all the businesses and tourist operators in our region. Bugs and Debbie are extremely passionate about this part of their business. They love Newfoundland and most especially, outport Newfoundland, and they feel that’s what the tourists want to see when they come here. The dynamic duo are true ambassadors to Newfoundland and we should be proud that they have included Green Bay in their musical and tourism endeavors.