Rex Murphy shares his thoughts on the late Stompin’ Tom Connors.
Read a transcript of this Rex Murphy episode.
Canada does very well with what in earlier days we would call its troubadours, its minstrels. What a trinity we have. And Canada properly reveres all three.
Leonard Cohen is the bard of love and life
Gordon Lightfoot is a supreme balladeer and lyrical writer.
And Tom Connors - who, alas, passed away yesterday, was the folk-poet-singer of the country itself.
The musician Washboard Hank - Washboard Hank, what a name, told a friend of mine that when Stompin’ Tom travelled with his buddies or the band - it wasn't down Main street or the 401 if he had a choice.
It was always on the back roads, the side streets and small town byways - so that they could really see the country and the people Tom sung about, to appreciate its beauty and its people.
Tom was the singer of Canada's heartland, physical and spiritual. From PEI to Sudbury - the poet of the towns and pastimes, (our only real hockey anthem is his), the occupations of Canada and its places. Ordinary, down home, good times at the game places.
His whole work was one rich Hallelujah for the little guy, the pleasure and pride in everyday things and everyday people.
The voice was something else again. More gravel than most of those back roads he travelled, low, gnarly, with a real edge. Compared to Stompin' Tom, Johnny Cash was a soprano.
A square of plywood gave him his moniker that voice made him singular, and his unabashed, unqualified patriotism - he loved the country, capital L and capital C - without reservation. His unabashed patriotism gave him a corner in the hearts of ever so many Canadians.
He could never be a favourite with the "everything is wrong" crowd.
He was an evangelist, forever telling the good news and plain stories of Canadian life.
It's not hard to understand Tom Connors - he loved his country.
And what a sweet thing it was that he penned a last letter to his fans and us.
It takes a clear heart to write as he did in this farewell: " I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future."
There's a lot there in an age when politics has probably diminished patriotism. When sophisticated people are shy about something as ‘abrupt’ as patriotism, how fine of Stompin' Tom to speak its virtue so directly and strong.
He will be more than missed , to his family and close friends in particular, the very best wishes at this time.
For the National I'm Rex Murphy.
And oh yes, he was a gifted astronomer. He identified, don’t you know, the “man on the moon”.View / Post Comments