Smilin' Ivan Dorey was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 26, 1926 but spent his early years in Liverpool. He joined the army in 1943 but after the war, the well known fiddler Jim Hamm suggest that Ivan get a guitar. He has been picking and singing ever since. He got his first break when he and Fiddlin' Jim Hamm got a daily show on CKBW Bridgewater in 1948. In 1949 Ivan along with Denny Westhaver moved to CJKL in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. After working the area out, they moved to CJAD Montreal where they stayed for a year and a half. In 1951, Ivan spend almost a year in the hospital. This resulted in him being out of circulation and he had to start his music career all over. In 1952, he returned to the airwaves along with Fiddlin' Jim Hamm on CKBW Bridgewater.
In 1954, Smilin' Ivan Dorey & The Nova Scotia Plowboys began recording for Rodeo Records. Their first release was "Even Steven" and "You Bit Off More Than You Can Chew". The bandincluded Jim Hamm on fiddle, "Champ" Johnson on steel and Billy Reid on bass. Once again they headed for Ontario and did a show for CFOR Orillia sponsored by 7-Up. Ivan continued to play in Ontario until returning to Nova Scotia in the early 1960s. His most popular recording was his version of Ted Germaine's "Sable Island Short". In the 1980s his 78's were reissued on LP by the Castle label in Germany.
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