With almost four decades of music under his belt, including nineteen albums and counting, Errol “C-Weed” Ranville has been a stalwart figure in Canada’s country music scene. After spending the 70s perfecting his craft in small clubs, Ranville slid onto the nation’s music scene in 1980 with his cover of The Band’s “Evangeline.” The song would hit number one on the Canadian Country Music Charts, and Errol and his ever-evolving C-Weed Band have shown no signs of slowing since.
A string of quality albums in the 80s, highlighted by tracks like “Bringing home the good times” and “Magic in the Music” would lead to back-to-back Juno nods for Country Group of the Year and several Manitoba Country Music Awards. But Errol has never really played for the accolades. C-Weed’s brand of country music has always been flush with honesty, with lyrics indicative of his proud aboriginal heritage.
Today Ranville is enjoying touring his latest album “Forever” with the new six-piece C-Weed Band in Aboriginal communities across Canada. The album’s been another showpiece for Errol, its first single “Can this be love” hitting #1 on the National Aboriginal Top 40 Countdown.
The current tour incorporates both classic C-Weed songs and new material, with his namesake band a mix of old and new members. Don Ranville (drums) and Clint Dutiaume (lead guitar and fiddle) are back, while the new C-Weed band also features multi-talented Marc Arnould, as well as John Ervin (bass) and soprano Ashley Klassen on backup vocals.
On occasion, he’ll share the stage with the young Ali Fontaine, whose bright career Errol has helped showcase, including co-producing her award-winning album alongside Arnould. It has always been Errol’s mission to bring Aboriginal music to the mainstream, and today that future looks brighter than ever.
Errol Ranville is an influential figure within Canada’s Aboriginal community. Primarily known for his musical success as the legendary country rock singer/songwriter C-Weed, Errol is one of the first Canadian Aboriginal musicians to establish international recognition through steady touring and promotion.
At the time he was a trailblazer, carving a new path for Aboriginal music while bringing other young Aboriginal artists to the mainstream. The move was that of a visionary — and Errol remains a passionate advocate for the Aboriginal music community of Canada.
At a very young age, Errol, nicknamed C-Weed, devoted his life to music. He and his brothers were self-taught musicians who participated in local shows in his hometown of Eddystone, Manitoba. In their early days, like many up and coming bands, the band paid their dues in the bar scene, playing long hours for little pay.
Everything changed when his cover of “Evangeline” hit #1 on the Canadian Country Music Chart (RPM magazine) back in 1980. This success would send The C-Weed Band on tour across Canada and The United States. It was a defining moment in Errol’s career as he seized the opportunity to introduce himself to the music world and gained national recognition. Their next single “High and Dry” was also a success, hitting the #1 spot the following year. The band spent endless days on the road touring from coast to coast to coast.
In 1997, the C-Weed Band entertained audiences in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany on a European tour. They returned to Europe in 1999 through promoter Jerg Shäffer from Buchs, Switzerland, and performed 19 shows. They had the privilege of being the first foreigners to set foot in Nanning, China in 2004, representing Canada for one of Nanning’s first projects in global tourism.
When Errol is not sporting his cowboy hat onstage, he works on developing programs for supporting and showcasing Canada’s Aboriginal music talent. From 1992-2001, Errol opened several nightclubs named “C-Weed’s Cabaret” in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Thunder Bay. The cabarets showcased aboriginal musicians, and those performances proved to be a successful investment. From there, he moved on to helping the Aboriginal music industry in other ways.
In 2004, thanks to the support of Eric Robinson (Minister of Culture, Heritage, Tourism & Sport, MB), Errol worked for the Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association (MARIA), currently named Manitoba Music, and created the Aboriginal Music Program (AMP). He registered many Aboriginal artists — whose presence beforehand had been largely unrecognized — and brought to their disposal the many resources that Manitoba Music had to offer.
In 2005/06 he served as the Executive Producer of the newly created Manito Ahbee Festival — a five-day event that celebrates the arts and includes the popular Aboriginal Peoples Music Choice Awards (APCMA’s). Most recently, in 2010/11, Errol created the Manitoba Star Attractions Talent Showcase (MSATS) which showcases raw Manitoba talent and supports young musicians by giving them the opportunity to perform and record their own song.
Errol continues to explore his Aboriginal culture and heritage through music. His song “Run as One” incorporates Aboriginal drumming and chanting and symbolizes for many the vision of a new era, a new outlook, and a strong, unified nation. Naturally, this spirited song that is considered an “Aboriginal Anthem” soared to #1 on the National Aboriginal Top 40 Countdown when it was released in 2000.
On October 8th, 2010 Errol was involved in a serious car accident. While he struggled through the emotional trauma and loss associated with the accident, he found a renewed sense of hope in music and focussed even more on mentoring young singer/songwriter Ali Fontaine.
In April 2012 Errol was back in the saddle, coming out with a new CD of 12 original songs titled “Forever”. Today, he tours a show that incorporates C-Weed classics with the new material. Behind him is a stacked new six-piece C-Weed Band that includes original core members Don Ranville (drums), and Clint Dutiaume (lead guitar and fiddle), while the musical talents of Marc Arnould (piano), John Ervin (bass), and Ashley Klassen (backing vocals) add some zest.
He’s already been recognized with two Lifetime Achievement Awards, and yet Errol shows no signs of slowing down. He’s a consummate professional, an old-school touring player, an advocate for Aboriginal people’s talents. He is the legendary C-Weed.
Errol Ranville is born in Ste. Rose du Lac, Manitoba on August 1, as the 8th of 12 children. Errol gains the nickname “C-Weed” in his youth.
Local high school band “C-Weed and The Weeds” entertains crowds with siblings Errol, Don, Wally, and Randy Ranville.
Brothers Errol, Wally, Don, Sterling and Jim Flett play at the Brunswick Hotel afternoons and evenings for three years.
C-Weed plays variety shows at the Centennial Concert Hall, Playhouse Theatre, and country clubs around the city. There are still no recordings at this point.
C-Weed does some local touring with band-Wally, Charles Bandura, Gerry McIvor and Errol- in Opaskweyak Indian days in The Pas and concerts in Eagle Lake Ontario as well as country clubs around Winnipeg.
Band members Jim Flett, Clyde Roulette, Wally, Don, and Errol. C-Weed sound becomes more country rock and southern rock. Clyde’s blues and rock background influences the band’s sound too. The first album “The Finest You Can Buy” in 1980 is released and features the national hit song “Evangeline”, written by Robbie Robertson, which quickly rises to #1 on the Canadian Country Radio charts.
Band as Wally, Errol, Don, and Clyde, tour playing country and southern rock and release the album “High and Dry” in ‘81. “High and Dry” was also a #1 song on Canadian Country Music Chart, RPM Magazine, Toronto.
Band adds Clint Dutiaume and continues touring across Canada since “Evangeline” took them on the road.
Band is Clint, Craig Fotheringham, Errol, Wally, and Don. “Going the Distance” album releases with numerous hits like “Play me my favourite song”, “Pick-up truck cowboy”, and “Bringing home the good times”.
Manitoba Country Music Awards
“Bringing home the good times” wins Country Song of the Year
Errol wins Songwriter of the Year
Clint wins Instrumentalist of the Year
Craig wins Producer of the Year
Canadian Country Music Awards
C-Weed Band nominated for Country Band of the Year
Nominated for Country Song of the Year (“Magic in the Music”)
Nominated for Group or Duo
Nominated Group or Duo for “Live at Ma’s” released that year.
Released “Flight of the Hawk” Volumes 1 & 2
Tom, Clint, Paul, Gord Raffey, Errol, Don – Release album “Tribute to Southern Rock”- featuring “Old Rodeo Cowboys” and “Drinkin my baby goodbye”. C-Weed releases a video for “Old Rodeo Cowboys” which aired on Much Music along with a special called Cowboys and Outlaws.
Band performs as Errol, Dean Malcolm, Gord, Don, Steve Hilliam, Sheila Drysdale.
Release “I Wanna Fly” and tour across Canada with Alex McKelvey, Clint, Rod Demsky, Sonny Bandura, Tom and Paul. The finale was in Prince Rupert, BC, where the band performed “I Wanna Fly” for the first ever Aboriginal television link up simulcast along with a speech from Prime Minister Brian Mulrooney.
Gerry, Dennis Dyck, Andy Dyck, Trevor Smith, Errol – Errol Ranville and the Spirit River Band record 2 live albums at C-Weeds Cabaret. They play at Indian Casinos in the US as well as have a successful eastern tour including the grand opening of a huge country and western club called Cowboys in Ottawa. Errol tries his hand at the night club business in Winnipeg, then Edmonton, Saskatoon, and for a short time in Thunder Bay, operating under the name C-Weed’s Cabaret. The concept was to give Aboriginal bands a place to showcase their music.
Release of “Cowboy Code” and assemble a C-Weed band to promote the album (Tom, Rod, Gord, Paul, Errol).
Errol moves to Edmonton. In ’98 C-Weed Band does a tour in Europe (Randy Hiebert, Rick Shot, George Demaduk, Mitch and Errol). ’98 Release of albums Older Songs of the 80’s, a series of color coded compilation CD’s. ’99 Mike Bruyere, Errol’s nephew, shows up in Edmonton with his drums and they put together a C-Weed band that eventually releases the “Run as One” album in 2000 and they tour (Mitch Daigeneault, Mike, Elvis Ballantyne, Corny Michel, Errol). Errol wrote and recorded the song (by the same name) “Run as One” using traditional Aboriginal drumming and chanting, which even today brings a C-Weed audience to their feet. The song is acclaimed by many as the “Aboriginal Anthem” of the century with a catchy guitar hook and heartfelt lyrics.
“Run as One” nominated for Best Music of Aboriginal Canada
Errol returns to Winnipeg (Don, Kevin Joseph, Jay Ross, Mitch, Errol). 2003 Mitch leaves band. The 4 piece band tours China in 2004. In 2005, Errol is inducted into the Aboriginal Hall of Fame by Eric Robinson, Minister of Culture, Heritage, Tourism & Sport and NCI General Manager Dave McLeod. In 2004, he works at Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association (MARIA) to develop the Aboriginal Music Program (AMP). Errol receives Lifetime Achievement Award in ’05 from the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (CAMA’s) Toronto.
Release “Hey” without a band line up. Errol is the Executive Producer of Manito Ahbee Festival and Aboriginal Peoples Music Choice Awards.
Marc Arnould, Trevor Smith, Tom, Don, Errol -Release “Redemption” in 2008.
Marc Arnould, John Ervin, Ariel Posen, Don, Errol- “Magic in the Music” the Greatest Hits album is released. Errol is retained by the province of Manitoba to produce a talent development project, called Manitoba Star Attractions Talent Showcase.
Marc, John, Ariel, Don, Errol, Ashley Klassen, Kelly Bado – Release and tour new album “Forever” with addition of female back-up voices Ashley Klassen and Kelly Bado, who were two of the winners of Manitoba Star Attractions Talent Showcase 2011. Errol receives Lifetime Achievement Award at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. Errol begins managing, producing, and promoting young artist singer/songwriter Ali Fontaine who was one of the five winners of Manitoba Star Attractions Talent Showcase 2010.
Single “Can This be Love” from album “Forever” reaches #1 song on the National Aboriginal Top 40 Countdown. Clint Dutiaume joins the band, touring as Errol, Don, Clint, Marc, John, and Ashley.