It’s hard to put into words exactly how much of a legend Stompin’ Tom Connors is. It’s also hard to explain how much he meant not just to Canadian music, but to Canada itself.
Think of something Canadian. Whatever crossed your mind just now, Stompin’ Tom probably wrote a song about it at some point. And through those songs, he taught us all more about our country. He made us laugh, learn and think, often in the same three minute tune. If there’s another musician who did more to represent Canada and its music, I can’t think of who it is.
And now he’s gone, dead of natural causes at 77.
Of course tributes are popping up all over the place, but I was struck by this one in particular. As an Immigrant, Stompin’ Tom Connors Made Me Feel Canadian
CBC Music has put up an hour long documentary on his life, narrated by the man himself. You can listen to it here. That will tell you much more than I ever could, because I simply can’t say enough about him.
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to see him live. My post about that night is here. I remember at the time thinking that he might just have another tour left in him and making up my mind that if he ever came back, I was going again. Now I’m feeling extra fortunate to have gone when I did.
He must have known his time was almost up, since just a few days ago, he wrote a message to be published after his death.
Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin’ Tom.
It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with it’s beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.
I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.
I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.
Your Friend always,
Stompin’ Tom Connors
I don’t know where I’ll end up for food and drinks after tomorrow night’s Jeremy Hotz show, but if they sell it, you bet I’ll be raising a Moosehead to the music and the memory of good old Stompin’ Tom.