Music Review: Stompin' Tom Connors - And The Roads Of Life

You gotta love Stompin' Tom. Still doing it, still making new albums, and you can tell his heart is in it. Plus, it gives me great delight to see him still credit himself as producer as Dr. Stompin' Tom, the honorary degree bestowed on him by St. Thomas University, right here in my hometown.

518Y84yOf8L._AA115_.jpg
This time out, Tom's taking it way back, to the style of music he would have heard growing up. Aside from four of his own new ones, the other 13 cuts are vintage, mostly traditional, and the kind of tunes that were played in parlours and dance halls in simpler times. There's some Wilf Carter and Hank Snow, the old Rose Of Tralee, some drinking songs, a train or two, a pirate song, and a yodel. You can't call it country, because it's more pre-country, simply the popular music of the day in more rural areas. Tom puts his own spin on several, coming up with some new lyrics, including a rewrite of the tune Make Yourself At Home, where he welcomes any lonely soul to drop by, because "there's lots of beer upon my shelf/Just walk over and help yourself." And while he keeps the words to Whiskey In The Jar pretty much as is, his brand-new arrangement drops the Irish and makes it a knee-slapper. Of the new ones, Tom shows he's still listening to the working folks of Canada, with May Flower Love about a Nova Scotia guy who has to leave his love behind as he goes out to Fort McMurray for work.

There's absolutely nothing polished or fancy on this album. It's some decent musicians at best, gamely hanging on to the tempo, with a singer who is an acquired taste. Of course, we acquired that taste long ago, so it's always a joy to hear Connors have another go at it. Plus, he has something no one else has, that amazing personality.

more »

Latest East Coast Music Reviews

Tomato/Tomato top the awards nominations for Music NB
Tomato/Tomato top the awards nominations for Music NB
Sep 21, 1:15 PM

Saint John folk duo Tomato/Tomato lead the way in this year's nominations for Music New Brunswick awards. The husband-and-wife team has grabbed six nominations, including those for Album of the Year, Group Recording of the Year and Song of the... more »

 Hot Toddy reunion a Harvest highlight
Hot Toddy reunion a Harvest highlight
Sep 20, 6:05 PM

On stage at Fredericton's Playhouse on Saturday, the members of Hot Toddy had more to share than just music. Bass player Tom Easley had brought along a band tour journal that had been kept in the van from 2001-2003, full... more »

Samantha Martin brings exciting blues-gospel vocals to Harvest Fest
Samantha Martin brings exciting blues-gospel vocals to Harvest Fest
Sep 18, 3:58 PM

The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is well-known for introducing new, exciting acts to the East Coast that wouldn't normally tour in this area.  They might be from Los Angeles or New Orleans, or some of the best Canadian groups... more »

Steve Hill brings Juno-winning, one-man band to Harvest
Steve Hill brings Juno-winning, one-man band to Harvest
Sep 17, 3:58 PM

As the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival celebrates its 25th year, several favourite acts from the past have been invited back, including some that haven't been around for quite awhile. Even though he lives in Montreal, this year's Juno Award-winning... more »

EARTHBOUND TRIO launches new album at Harvest gig
EARTHBOUND TRIO launches new album at Harvest gig
Sep 16, 3:51 PM

How busy is Fredericton during Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival week? It's delaying some Federal government work, that's how busy. A friend of mine, a government employee from another city, e-mailed me a couple of weeks ago to say she... more »

Amy Helm continuing Dad Levon's legacy at Harvest fest
Amy Helm continuing Dad Levon's legacy at Harvest fest
Sep 15, 3:06 PM

It was a Harvest show that went down as a classic for the people crowding in the Blues tent in 2011. Levon Helm and his great big 13-piece band rolled into Fredericton for the jazz and blues festival, and stole... more »

View all reviews for September 2015 »

About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

Share this review