Stompin' Tom celebration brings fresh attention to music legend

TORONTO -- Celebrating Stompin' Tom Connors' legacy is starting to take on a life of its own.

Marking what would have been his 80th birthday on Tuesday, a band of longtime friends -- including Canada's former governor general Adrienne Clarkson -- will strum their way through Connors' most memorable tracks for their third annual tribute concert.

See Full Article

The event, which takes place at the folk music venue Hugh's Room in Toronto, is one they hope will help elevate Stompin' Tom's reputation as the writer of Canada's cultural songbook.

"If he was around he'd still be singin' and stompin'," says Clarkson, taking a break from a recent rehearsal.

"It's the people who love Stompin' Tom, and people who would come in from all over the place ... to hear him while he was playing. That's what we're trying to replicate -- something he would be doing."

Three years after his death, the man known for "Bud the Spud," "The Hockey Song" and "Sudbury Saturday Night" still has many adoring fans.

Clarkson, who counts herself among them, met the singer when she was a CBC producer. The two immediately clicked when they realized their birthdays were only a day apart -- hers is on Feb. 10.

"He was completely timeless and ageless," she says. "It was a shock when he was dying."

Clarkson, who turns 77 Wednesday, took the stage last year alongside the Whiskey Jack band to pay homage to the singer. The performance went over well, which convinced her to make another appearance this year.

Whiskey Jack's history with Stompin' Tom runs much deeper. The seven-piece bluegrass and country band worked with Stompin' Tom on his 1993 album "Dr. Stompin' Tom, Eh?" which sparked a collaborative friendship that spanned two decades.

"We saw ourselves as kind of the house band," says Duncan Fremlin, co-founder of Whiskey Jack and one of the organizers of the tribute show.

"Over the years if he needed a band to play at his barbecue or birthday parties, or whatever, he'd call me and say, 'Can you bring the boys up?' So, of course we did -- we loved to do that."

When Stompin' Tom died of kidney failure those "good, ol'-fashion Maritime kitchen parties" he hosted began to fade away.

"We realized we weren't going to get called up to the birthday party anymore, so we said, 'Why don't we host our own?"' Fremlin remembers.

The tributes were an instant success, he says, attracting Canadian performers like comedian Sean Cullen and Tragically Hip guitarist Paul Langlois who both tipped their hat to Stompin' Tom with special appearances. This year, Fremlin promises another big Canadian performer will hit the stage as a surprise guest.

Clarkson hopes she too will be a part of future Stompin' Tom festivities, which she sees as growing in size each year.

"Certainly we hope there will be bigger ones when he's 85," she says.

Fremlin has an even more ambitious plan.

He hopes Canadians eventually celebrate a Stompin' Tom Day just like they do for Scottish poet Robbie Burns.

"Robbie Burns is associated with Scotch, haggis and 'Auld Lang Syne.' Well, I want Stompin' Tom to be associated with 'Bud the Spud,' 'Sudbury Saturday Night,' and room-temperature beer and potatoes," Fremlin says.

"He's going to be deified in the Canadian music establishment over time. I'm seeing it happen now."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • ‘It would be a really amazing way to start the movie’: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ star Tom Holland wants Ant-Man for the sequel

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK – In Spider-Man: Homecoming everyone’s favourite wall-crawler gets to team up with Iron Man for his first solo movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But new Spidey star Tom Holland already has an idea of which Marvel hero he wants to pair up with in the Homecoming sequel, which is set to open July 5, 2019. Source
  • 16-bit is back: Nintendo's Super NES Classic launches this fall

    Entertainment CBC News
    Nintendo has announced the Super NES Classic console, a miniaturized version of its 16-bit console from the 1990s and a followup to last year's wildly popular NES Classic. The box will launch in stores Sept. 29 for $99.99 Cdn ($79 US) and will include 21 games, including Super Mario World, Final Fantasy III and notably, the previously unreleased Star Fox 2, the company said Monday. Source
  • Trailer Park Boys add landmark Halifax eatery, bars to growing business empire

    Entertainment CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The Trailer Park Boys, Nova Scotia's supposedly dopey mockumentary stars, are amassing a business empire spanning an online comedy network, production studio, beverage deals, marijuana branding and now a landmark Halifax restaurant and bar complex. Source
  • It's Rammstein, mud and mild-mannered mayhem at Montebello's summer festival

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    I’m standing, shivering really, in the rain and the mud with several thousand of my new-found closest friends. The couple in front of me is making out with a ferocity that could hurt somebody. The young lady behind me is getting up off the ground, apparently after relieving herself, a big grin on her face. Source
  • J. K. Rowling marks 'wonderful' Harry Potter anniversary

    Entertainment CTV News
    Author J.K. Rowling on Monday marked the "wonderful" two decades since her Harry Potter creation first hit the shelves, starting a global literary phenomenon which has inspired a generation. "20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others. Source
  • Kelly Osbourne claims she peed her pants when Starbucks refused to let her use washroom

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Kelly Osbourne has claimed she wet herself after a Starbucks store refused to let her use the toilet. The TV personality and daughter of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne is one of the many stars celebrating Pride month and attended a LGBTQ parade in New York City on Sunday. Source
  • Salvador Dali's bones to be exhumed in Spain for paternity test

    Entertainment CTV News
    MADRID -- A Spanish judge has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealist art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. Source
  • BET Awards 2017: Remy Ma, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé win top awards at nostalgia-heavy show

    Entertainment CBC News
    Remy Ma has ended rival Nicki Minaj's seven-year winning streak at the 2017 BET Awards, a show highlighted by '90s R&B and groups popular in that decade, as well as five wins for Beyoncé. Ma, who was released from prison in 2014, won best female hip hop artist Sunday in Los Angeles, an award Minaj has won since 2010. Source
  • J.K. Rowling: Creator of magic who dazzled the world

    Entertainment CTV News
    The creator of a wizarding empire which has dazzled the world, J.K. Rowling struggled through hardship to become an unrivalled children's author with a global voice. Rowling once told a beaming crowd of Harvard University graduates how she had initially failed "on an epic scale". Source
  • Ontario to ban 'scalper bots' in proposed ticket sale reforms

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Ontario government plans to clamp down on ticket scalping with a new law that will prohibit the use of automated ticket-buying "bots." The proposed legislation announced this morning will also cap markups on resold tickets at 50 per cent of their face value. Source