Jimmy Arthur Ordge


July 5th, 2016 (Edmonton, AB)


RIP: Jimmy Arthur Ordge, a Canadian country star born in Donalda area where he started picking and playing for school house dances. Jim moved to Edmonton in his teens and was a regular on “Old Dad Taylor’s Jubilee Jamboree”.
Jimmy Arthur Ordge was among the first Canadian country recording artists to score top 10 hits on Canadian charts, with his 1967 hit “Irena Cheyenne” and again in 1970 with his novelty hit “The Ballad Of Muk-Tuk Annie”, a tune written by Canadian hitmaker Bob Ruzicka.

Jimmy Arthur Ordge recorded albums on the Point, MCA and Royalty Records labels, and charted multiple singles. He was a popular performer on the Western Canada music scene, and was often called upon as a show opener for touring Nashville stars like Buck Owens, Webb Pierce, Roy Clark, Hank Snow, etc.

His recording successes led to 1967 and 1968 Moffatt Broadcast Awards for Best Canadian Folk or Country Record Of The Year, as well as JUNO award nominations for Country Male Vocalist in 1976, 1978 & 1979. In 1971 he received an Alberta Achievement Award as a performer.

Prior to his passing, Jimmy Arthur Ordge had retired but was often called upon as a special guest performer on “Legends” shows in his native Alberta.

“Our Royalty family, and in fact all of the Canadian country music family, lost one of its true pioneers and arguably one of the best traditional country music performers to ever pick up a guitar and walk onto a stage.  Jimmy Arthur Ordge could handle a country song, be it a ballad, uptempo, narration, or country comedy songs.  Jim did them all, from Irena Cheyenne to Muk-Tuk Annie to The Old Man to Herschel’s Hemi Half-Ton, Just One Night of Love, to The Ballad of Pierre Oral Bonafee, the true hilarious story of how the St. Lawrence Seaway was really created.  And any great country classic he chose to sing, he owned.”

“Jim was not just a real Canadian country music legend, he was a true friend.  He cared deeply for his audiences, fans, and mostly his close friends.  He was a compassionate, warm-hearted, country music icon.  We laughed till we cried, telling tall tales during the many recording sessions we shared, fought a little over some songs he might record and release, but mostly I feel just damned blessed and lucky to have witnessed first-hand his magic as a recording artist.  Jimmy Ordge had, and will always have fans across this country, across the U.S. and in the U.K.  His music will live on. Damn it Jim, we will sure as hell miss you.” – R Harlan Smith

A true Canadian country music icon

Jimmy was born and raised in the Donalda area where he started picking and playing for school house dances. Jim moved to Edmonton in his teens and was a regular on “Old Dad Taylor’s Jubilee Jamboree.”

Jimmy did shows and dance jobs around the area and in the early 50’s, he started doing radio and television shows. While playing a club in Whitehorse, he met Al Oster who wrote Jimmy’s first hit, “Irena Cheyene.” “Irena” won him his first Moffat Award. Jim’s other big hits included “Muk Tuk Annie” and “Hershel’s Hemi Half-ton.” When country music hit a decline for a few years, Jimmy diversified and bought himself a business that kept him busy when not entertaining.

Jimmy continued to entertain folks with “That Voice” in the traditional country style that hadn’t changed in the last four decades and was often a guest artist with the Canadian Country Music Legends touring throughout Alberta.

Full-time career over 6 decades (1950’s to current) Canada/USA

Major Radio and Television Appearances 

  • CFRN Edmonton
  • Jubilee Jamboree CHED Edmonton
  • Carl Smith Show, CFTO Toronto
  • Country Time, CBC Halifax

Major Recordings

  • 1961 hit record “Easy Rockin Chair” Quality Records
  • 1966 first LP Point Records
  • 1967 single “Irena Cheyenne”, top 5 Canadian country single
  • 1967 single “Irena Cheyenne” released on Decca Records US
  • 1970 #1 hit “Muk Tuk Annie” Damon Records
  • 1972 LP release MCA Records

1974 Signed with Royalty Records

Four albums including “Storytime & Prayers”, “I’ll Go Anywhere”, “Greatest Hits”, and “The Legend”, and numerous top 20 Canadian country hit singles including “The Old Man”, “Just One Night of Love”, “The Ballad of Dawson City”, and “Herschel’s Hemi Half-Ton”, to name a few

1978 US Album Release “I’ll Go Anywhere”

Awards Won

  • 1967 received his first Lloyd E Moffat Award (forerunner of the Juno Awards), Best  Country Record, “Irena Cheyenne”
  • 1968 received his second Lloyd E Moffat Award, Best Country Male Artist for, “Cold Grey Winds of Autumn”
  • 1971 Alberta Achievement Award, Performer
  • 2006 Bev Munro Award for his contribution to traditional Canadian country music artist

Multi-year Award Nominations

1975 to 1980 Three-time Juno Awards Nominee, Best Male Country Artist

Major Live Performances 

  • Fan Fair, Nashville
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Sahara Casino, Reno NV
  • Harvey’s, Lake Tahoe
  • New Year’s Eve Spectacular, Condessa del Mar, Chicago
  • Palomino Club, North Hollywood
  • Multiple state fairs throughout the U.S.
  • Special guest artist at 54th Shenandoah Apple Festival, West Virginia, Patsy Cline tribute
  • Grand Island State Fair, special guest Marty Robbins
  • Coast to coast live Canadian shows – grandstand Calgary Stampede, etc
  • Up to his passing, Jim still performed as a special guest with the Canadian Country Music Legends


For more information and media inquires, please contact: 

Kathryn Hummel
Royalty Records
(416) 712-9375