by Stephen Dafoe
After a highly-successful, two night Johnny Cash tribute show last year, the Rotary Club of Morinville is following it up with a Stompin’ Tom tribute show at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre Nov. 4. Tickets for the dinner and show are $59 per person and available at Home Hardware / Bumper-to-Bumper and online at Event Bright.
Country and folk singer Tim Hus is the man putting Stompin’ Tom Connor’s story and music on this stage, a fitting role for a man who was a friend that toured with the Canadian icon and was one of six to carry Connor’s coffin after his passing three years ago.
Hus, originally from British Columbia, now makes Calgary his home. He started learning to play guitar while working in logging and tree planting. Eventually, he began having to take time off work to play, ultimately moving to Alberta to build a career. “I figured if you want to be a big country star, you move to Nashville, and if you want to be a Canadian cowboy singer you move to Alberta. Ian Tyson’s out here and you’ve got the Calgary Stampede,” he said with a laugh.
Hus was soon travelling the prairies and making a name for himself and his band with their completely Canadian songs – music just like Stompin’ Tom made famous. He’s been in the music business for 14 years and released six albums with a seventh to start production this winter.
It was while playing a bar in Manitoba about five years ago that he was called to the bar’s phone to speak to Connor’s himself. The Canadian country legend asked Hus to travel with him across the country as his opening act.
“It was pretty exciting,” Hus recalls. “He said he’d been watching me and liked all the songs I’d been writing about Canada and that was very near and dear to his heart. That was really exciting. It was almost a bit of a Cinderella story or something.”
The tour resulted in Connor’s and Hus becoming close friends.
Not an Impersonation Show
Connors toured with Hus for about two years until the famed Canadian died. “He always told everybody one day he was going to pass the torch to me, that I was the young guy that was going to keep the Canadiana thing going,” Hus recalled. “I have a career of my own, but this is kind of a special show that we’ve been doing. Since Tom has died, I’ve been doing a Stompin’ Tom Birthday Show.
“People have always had a great interest in Tom and some of the stories, and we tell some of his stories and play the music,” Hus said of the upcoming show. “We said it’s the 150th birthday of Canada coming up. Why don’t we take the show around a little bit.”
Hus said the show is not him impersonating his friend. Rather it is a full country band performing Connor’s music along with a multi-media background of Canadiana and snippets of Connor’s life.
“It’s a coast-to-coast, cross-Canada trip, just the way Tom liked it,” Hus said. “We sing a bunch of his classic songs and some of mine. But they are 100 per cent Canadian songs about the people, geography, and history of our land.”
Hus said he feels fortunate to have known Stompin’ Tom and the tribute show is about giving back for that friendship.
“It’s my way of paying back a bit. It was so great for a young singer-songwriter like me to have a legend like that take me under his wing and introduce me to fans across the country. This is my way to help keep some of his legacy alive, and let people still enjoy the songs and the stories. I feel good about doing that.”
The Across this Land with Stompin’ Tom show takes place Nov. 4 with doors opening at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. and the two-set show starting at 9 p.m.
Tickets are $59 for dinner and show, and are available at Home Hardware / Bumper-to-Bumper and online at Event Bright.