Canadian country-folk icon Stompin’ Tom Connors has died at age 77.
Not being from Canada myself, I share this news as a cultural literacy supplement.
Was he the Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger of Canada? Well, no and yes. Connors isn’t associated with the same degree of social activism. But in terms of songs and popularity – as a regular guy who traveled Canada and knew what he sang about – I’d say he deserves that comparison.
Canada is home to deep, broad musical talent. But Connors felt too many musicians here look outward and elsewhere. In this obituary for the Canadian Press Nick Patch and Diana Mehta included Connors’ views on that subject:
“I don’t know why I seem to be the only one, or almost the only one, writing about this country,” Connors said in a rare one-on-one interview at his home in Halton Hills, Ont., in 2008.
“It just amazes me that I’ve been going so long I would think that somebody else (would have) picked up the torch a long time ago and started writing tons of songs about this country. This country is the most underwritten country in the world as far as songs are concerned. We starve, the people in this country are starving for songs about their homeland.”
It’s a good article for getting a sense of the man, how he approached music and why Canada mourns his loss. This Wikipedia bio includes a discography. You can hear CBC’s “Q with Jian Ghomeshi” pay tribute to Connors here.
Are you familiar with Stompin’ Tom songs? Which are your favorites?
Here’s Stompin’ Tom performing “Sudbury Saturday Night.”