Memories revisited with Stompin' Tom tribute in Calgary
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Tim Hus has many fond memories of legendary Canadian performer Stompin’ Tom Connors.
But the one that sticks out the most for the Calgary based "cowboy singer" is the night in 2009 when Stompin’ Tom called the small-town Manitoba bar where Hus was playing and asked to speak with him directly.
“I picked up the phone and it was Stompin’ Tom telling me how he liked all of the songs I had written about Canada and that he appreciated how I was working hard to bring my show to every little town across the country,” Hus says.
“Then he said, ‘I’m wondering if you’d like to come on tour with me and help warm up the crowd?’ I was very excited. It was the most thrilling phone call in my life, for sure.”
Not only did Hus end up opening for Stompin’ Tom, he joined his band and toured with him until Connors died in 2013 at the age of 77.
Hus says it was an interesting experience touring with Connors, who is best known for such Canadiana classics as Bud the Spud, Margo’s Cargo and The Hockey Song.
“He was an eccentric character,” Hus recalls.
“There was a clause in the contract that if you toured with Tom you had to be willing to stay up and drink Moosehead beer until 5 a.m. I thought that was just his way of making a little joke. But no, he was a night owl and he wanted his band to stay up with him.
“I never saw him without a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other and this was when he was in his 70s. He was both the healthiest and least healthy person I’ve ever met.”
For the past three years, Hus has organized and hosted a Stompin’ Tom Tribute Show at the Ship & Anchor Pub to celebrate the New Brunswick-born musician’s Feb.9 birthday.
The afternoon jam will feature plenty of Stompin’ Tom tunes performed by local musicians, including Hus and country crooner, Matt Masters.
Hus says Stompin’ Tom’s musical legacy lives on because his songs still resonate with Canadians.
“Tom's catalogue of work celebrates the Canadian people from coast to coast,” he says. “Basically he was presenting Canada to Canadians with stories and songs from all of his hitch-hiking travels.”
• The Stompin’ Tom Tribute Show starts at 2 p.m. at the Ship & Anchor Pub (534 – 17th Avenue S.W.) Admission is free.
• If you want to continue your Stompin’ Tom day, head over to the Oak Tree Tavern in Kensington for the third-annual Stompin’ Tom Tribute Night with Matt Masters and more.