The Singer

Singer, you must search for your place on the earth
While the same for your nation is true
So lift up the soul of your country
And a place will be found here for you
But don’t go and run ‘til your song has been sung
And the words of your soul have been said
Far a land without song can’t stand very long
When the voice of its people is dead

~ Stompin’ Tom Conners –  The Singer (Voice of The People)


I can’t remember when I first heard Stompin’ Tom’s music, I just always remember hearing it.  I suppose, growing up in the Maritimes, Tom’s music got a fair bit of play on the radio, not to mention hockey arenas, Legions, and Community Centers across the Eastern provinces.  Songs like The Consumer were on the radio as a kid in the Maritimes – Tom sang about challenges of the everyman I heard my community talking about as I grew up.

I remember going on the road for a few days with Stompin’ Tom.  Tom would drive his car, which had a CB contact with the other van.  They’d go into towns like Leamington, Delhi, and Petrolia, and they had an advance guy – like in a circus – who’d go in three weeks before, book the high-school gym, buy an ad for nothing, stick up posters everywhere, give the school the coat concession for the use of their space, make sure anybody could come to the show and that kids under nine were free, and he’d sell out everywhere.

On A Cold Road: Tales of Adventure In Canadian Rock 


When I first starting playing guitar I learned to play Moon Man Newfie just because the song was such a hoot to play with friends around kitchens and living rooms and filled me with pride that as a kid growing up in a ‘have-not’ province there were some things my region was rich in – joy and revelry.

Throughout my travels across Canada and overseas I always had a copy on Stompin Tom Live At The Horseshoe Hotel with me and have been know to gift friends and hosts with vinyl copies of it.  Whenever I got homesick I’d always listen to a little Gumboot Cloggeroo to lift my spirits.

When I moved to the NWT to work in Aklavik as a teacher, the country band I played in – The Shorty Lake Boys – played a bunch of Stompin Tom tunes – among which was The Martin Hartwell Story. (Wikipedia)

Canadian MP Charlie Angus reflects on Stompin’ Tom and his influence. [MP3]



Across This Land With Stompin’ Tom Connors (MP4) – a great live concert filmed in 1973 at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto.


The Stompin’ Tom Hour – CBC Radio Retrospective (MP3)



A couple more of my all-time favorites from Tom:

Gaspe Belle Faye (MP3)


Algoma Central 69 (MP3)


The Coal Boat Song (MP3)


Luke’s Guitar (MP3)


Old Flat Top Guitar (MP3)


Tom passed away today
 and left  a brilliant collection of Canadiana.  His music has been a ribbon throughout my life and will continue to be so – I am so grateful for all the stories and songs he shared.

And they said, “Oh, great non-stop singular song to beauty.”
And he said, “Stomp upon the terra.” They did.

~ Lord Buckley




6 thoughts on “The Singer

  1. Thanks for all of these great links and tunes, Grant, along with your own Stompin’ history! Great collection of Canadiana here.

  2. Thanks Bryan – when I heard the news that he had passed away I felt compelled to reflect and gather my thoughts + favorite pieces here to mark his passing and celebrate the wealth of songs and stories he left the nation.

  3. The hockey game was on last night and I saw that Tom had died and a flood of memories came to me. It’s like he was all of Canada’s great uncle; he sang our stories, our geography. Many places I learnt about from Stompin’ Tom’s songs. It chokes me up to think of all the ways I’ve been connected to other Canadians because of a Stompin’ Tom song. Thank you for this rich documentation of your connections, it weaves the fabric of his legacy even tighter.

  4. Thanks Giulia – as I was making a short-list of some of my favorites for this post I felt like I could have went on forever. Every time I find my way back to the shores of the Atlantic after being away for a spell his line from To It And At It never fails to come to mind … I suppose it always will.

    “A guy from Nova Scotia, he can’t afford the train, he’s sittin on a streetcar, but he’s eastbound just the same.”

  5. Lovely picks on the songs. What Charlie Angus said “He was our Maybelle Carter, our Woody Guthrie, our Ramones.” (quoting Dave Bidini.)

    I thought of him as a punk rocker, maybe because as a Toronto girl, punk rock, roots rock, rockabilly blurred together. We wore cowboy boots to gigs at the Horseshoe, all dressed in black.

    Here’s to stomping upon the terra with Tom.


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