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.
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)
Across This Land With Stompin’ Tom Connors (MP4) – a great live concert filmed in 1973 at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto.
A couple more of my all-time favorites from Tom:
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.