N.L. musicians remember Stompin' Tom
Newfoundland singer Kim Stockwood says Canadian music legend Stompin' Tom Connors was "one of the most original and coolest people I've ever met in my life" and she said she feels lucky to have known and worked with him.
The country-folk legend, known for his toe-tapping songs about Canadian life, such as The Hockey Song and Bud the Spud, died on Wednesday at the age of 77.
Connors wrote at least 300 songs and sold more than 4 million albums, was appointed to the Order of Canada and even had his own Canadian postage stamp.
Stockwood knew Connors for 20 years
Stockwood first met Connors in 1993 at the East Coast Music Awards. She sang at a party his record company threw for him after he recieved the ECMA Lifetime Achievement Award.
A few years later, Stockwood said was invited to his house to sing at his 65th birthday party. She described Connors' house as just an ordinary residence, except his rec room was set up with a bar and a small dance floor.
"He let me put his boots on and stomp and sing for him," recalled Stockwood. "It was quite the memory."
Stockwood also sang on a song Connors wrote called Confederation Bridge, after the fixed link between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick was opened in 1997.
Stockwood said even though Connors was well known for his disagreements with the Canadian music industry, she never saw him get angry. However, Stockwood said, Connors was always up for a spirited discussion.
"He could argue and if you were going to talk to him about Canada and the music business and stuff, you'd better be ready to go."
Great big singalong
Stockwood was not the only artist from Newfoundland and Labrador to pay tribute to Stompin' Tom Connors this week.
At a concert in San Francisco on Wednesday, Great Big Sea performed and led their audience in a singalong of The Hockey Song.
A proud Canadian, says Stockwood
Stockwood said she was not surprised to hear about the letter Connors wrote to his fans shortly before his death, thanking them for their support, and urging them to carry on with his mission of being loud and proud Canadians.
"Everything he talked about, everything public that you saw about Stompin' Tom was exactly who he was," said Stockwood.
"He believed in this country, he loved Canada. He certainly stood up and said 'This is who we are and we should be proud of it and this is the way it is.'"
"There'll never be another one like him."
A memorial for Connors will take place on March 13 at the Peterborough Memorial Centre in Peterborough, Ontario. At Connors' request, the event will be open to the public.