The Next Chapter

Doug Paisley on the greatness of Stompin' Tom Connors' autobiography

Songwriter Doug Paisley on what makes Stompin' Tom Connors' Before the Fame a "national pride-inducing book."
Songwriter Doug Paisley's latest album is titled Strong Feelings. (Viking)

Songwriter Doug Paisley isn't afraid of tackling a long book. He's recently gotten sucked into the autobiography of Stompin' Tom Connors, and says the two-volume history provides a richly detailed portrait of the early life of one of Canada's most beloved musical figures. This interview originally aired on December 28, 2015.


I really found Before the Fame a fascinating read. It's something like 700 pages long, and as Stompin' Tom Connors says in the book, he has a photographic memory, and however embellished his stories may be, the detail from his early childhood is really fascinating. It's just an incredible story, and one that almost has nothing to do with his musical legacy as everyone knows it. It's an amazing story of growing up in foster homes and his searching for and occasionally encountering his biological mother. It's a story of his crisscrossing Canada, hitchhiking and by train, and working every conceivable field in every part of the country. It's a long book, it reads fairly quickly and it really is an emotional and national pride-inducing book.

Doug Paisley's comments have been edited and condensed.