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Remembering Dave Lemay

It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly 20 years since David Lemay was shot and killed at OC Transpo along with three other men.

Dave was a mechanic on duty when a disgruntled, deranged, former employee went on a deadly shooting spree late one afternoon. The event stunned the nation and devastated both lives and communities.

For Dave was also a very talented musician and record producer. During the 1970’s he, along with the group Red Cedar, put a number of hit songs on the Canadian country music charts and toured the country. Although he played drums for that group Dave could play several instruments well and was a quality songwriter to boot.

During the the early 90’s he, along with musician/producer/songwriter Kirk Armstrong, opened a studio in Carleton Place and began producing local artists and one of them was me. And the legacy of David Lemay just keeps living on and if anything, continues to grow more and more as time passes.

Although he did recording sessions for several people, as far as I know, the ones we did together were the only ones that were ever released and or charted.
Two albums; “Visions From A Distant Past” (1992) and “Tidal Wave” (1995) were produced by Dave and the selections from these two recordings have been re-released in various compilation Cd’s over the years. They all contain that “Dave Lemay touch.”

Dave was also a dedicated family man and one who possessed a great sense of humor.

I remember recording my song, NEW ENGLAND IN THE RAIN and not knowing what kind of backup arrangement the tune needed. I had only put down a guitar track and added mine and Barb Purdy’s voices to that point. I was lamenting, “What do we do next?” when Dave grabbed a guitar and said, “When I tell you to, push this button.”

He lay down a beautiful lead guitar track and then came back out and said, “When I tell you to, push that button again” and he lay down another beautiful track. And that was it. It was finished and many people think that this song is my best recording to date.

David’s funeral was held at the 18,000 seat home of the Ottawa Senators NHL Hockey Team (named at the time: The Corel Center). Thousands were on hand as were thousands who lined the streets of Carleton Place outside the funeral home for his wake.

A song he produced (and sang on) entitled, REBUILDING THE DREAM was played at his funeral as a fitting send off.

Several years later, while back stage at the “Riverside Jam Country Music Festival” in Carelton Place, I noticed this rock with a plaque mounted on it. Moving closer I read the words, “Dedicated to the memory of David Lemay.” and I thought to myself, “how fitting.” For David Lemay was a “rock” in the studio and in the eyes of his family. His death was one of the saddest things I’ve ever experienced.

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