Farewell to Stompin Tom Connors

Stompin' Tom Connors 080313Stompin’ Tom Connors

On March 6, 2013 we lost a truly great Canadian with the passing of Stompin Tom Connors. I listened to an interview today on CBC Radio; taped last year –  mesmerized by his stories, it was his genuine love for this country  and all the small towns he played that made me proud to be Canadian.

Stompin Tom got his start in 1964 at the Maple Leaf Hotel in Timmins, Ontario. A nickel short of the 40 cents needed to buy a beer, the bartender let him play for his suds. He stayed for close to a year before hitting the road again, trademark guitar slung over his shoulder. He rode the freight trains and hitch hiked from one side of the country to the other, playing, writing, and talking to people any chance he could. He didn’t care for fame or fortune; only the chance to share stories of the country he loved.

He recorded close to 50 albums over nearly 5 decades; yet it was the live shows that fueled his soul. Refusing to accept the JUNO award he won, illustrated his fierce disdain for music marketing and commercialism. He bristled at the thought of Canadian musicians leaving for America to “make it big” then returning once or twice a year to accept an award.

Stompin Tom Connors saw something in Canada that set this country apart.He listened, understood, and joyfully sang about coal miners, steel towns, fishermen, and farmers.

Best known for “Good  ‘Ol Hockey Game”, a song which is practically our national anthem – we salute you Stompin Tom, you brought a smile to our faces, and will truly be missed.

I like the send off given today in parliament by the NDP caucus.