To an icon

I will always have a special place in my heart for Stompin’ Tom Connors.

I will always have a special place in my heart for Stompin’ Tom Connors.

The man, beyond being a Canadian icon, created some seriously entertaining and fun music which celebrated this big, amazing, diverse country, and his life story also made an impact on me.

I do not think I really appreciated Stompin’ Tom’s music properly until after I read his first autobiography “Stompin’ Tom: Before the Fame.”

My grandfather loaned me the book, and I remember getting the sense my grandfather felt a sort of envy towards Connors as he told me about the the book.

Now, my grandfather was absolutely one of my favourite people in the entire world, and pretty much anything he said made an impression on me, so I was intrigued.

Well what a book, and what a story.

I imagine my granddad felt a sort of kinship with Connors on one level, granddad having left home and school at a similarly young age similar to Connors’ to catch a train, heading away from small-town Sakatchewan in the thirties to look for work.

Stompin’ Tom came from a childhood rife with hardship too and after fleeing loveless foster care, he began a life of wandering across the entire country hitchhiking and hopping trains, with no desire to settle down and get a “real job” or other responsibilities.

The book gave me an entirely different perspective on Stompin’ Tom’s music, and I approached his songs with new appreciation and have been a bigger fan ever since.

A dedicated advocate for Canada, his songs have helped to weave the very fabric of this country together. Canadians in British Columbia, I believe, can feel a kinship with PEI after hearing Bud The Spud, and we can all appreciate the blue-collar charm envisioned by “Sudbury Saturday Night.”

Many provinces also lay claim to Connors creating yet another bond across the distances, he moved around so much it would seem he had a bit of every province in his blood.

Younger artists like Tim Hus and Corb Lund can carry on the torch Connors lit for them, but no one can ever replace the one and only Stompin’ Tom.

Stompin’ Tom Connors