Tyson Just Keeps on Racking up the Miles and the Songs
In this part of the world there is no artist more respected and admired than Ian Tyson
Furthermore, when his name is mentioned anywhere on this continent in roots musical circles, Tyson’s peers, journalists, and followers talk in glowing terms about his incredible body of recorded work, his ability to re-invent himself a few times over, and that cloak-like muse that keeps him an inspired and vital artist.
Tyson continues to hit the cowboy trail from time to time and has just returned from Elko Nevada and the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which is the epicenter for the artistic community that embraced his music some thirty years ago. That debut long ago in Elko led to his mining a whole new audience in rural North America and associated centres that are the hub around ranching and agricultural communities.
Well Tyson doesn’t have to ride the range this week, as he’ll be able to leave the ranch, and enjoy a short and scenic drive to downtown Calgary, if the snow isn’t blowing too hard. He’ll then be able to walk onto the Jack Singer Hall stage for a concert with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday, February 5.
Those of us who attended concerts that have found Tyson in the company of our finest orchestras, have heard some stunning charts of “Fifty Years Ago”, “Land of Shining Mountains”, “Little High Plains Town”, “Someday Soon” “Summer’s Gone” and “Four Strong Winds”.
While there is no reason to expect new songs with orchestral readings will find their way into the mix on Saturday in Calgary, word has it that Tyson has a handful of new tunes that are awaiting designation to an online music site or two.
When hanging with Thom Moon a couple of weeks ago during some Front Porch Roots Revue shows, the drummer, who has a long history with Ian, was raving to me about some pre-Christmas sessions with bassist Gord Maxwell and guitarist Lee Worden that covered four tunes Tyson had written over the last year and one new instrumental.
“Ian just keeps the bar incredibly high and it was no different for these sessions. The new stuff is right up there with anything he’s done,” said Moon, who first recorded with Tyson on the Old Corrals and Sagebrush sessions over 30 years ago.
Keep checking back with Tyson’s website, iantyson.com, and you should eventually get an update on how to order and/or download these new tunes.
For those of us who can't make Tyson’s show with the Calgary Philharmonic, there is another option and that is the recently released This Is My Sky
2 DVD set produced by Calgary’s Pyramid Productions, released only a couple of months ago.
One disc presents a documentary-styled piece that includes conversations with Sylvia Tyson, Gordon Lightfoot, David Wilcox, Corb Lund and Neil Young, alongside footage from Tyson’s appearances at both the Edmonton and Calgary Folk Festivals this past summer that capture him interacting with longtime friends and fans.
The bonus disc is Tyson’s concert special shot at Calgary’s Knox United Church a couple of years ago. Featuring two heavyweight guests in the forms of bluegrass diva Rhonda Vincent and John Hiatt, the concert cuts across the various chapters of Tyson’s career. The concert is also slated for television broadcasts in the coming year.
It is also very encouraging that Ian Tyson: This Is My Sky
is selling at a brisk clip on both sides of the border, and for additional info head to pyramidproductions.tv
Good on ya Ian!
A big congrats goes out to Toronto-based duo Madison Violet
as their song "Ransom" won the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Competition Award in Los Angeles in mid-January.
The track, which is the opening selection on the Juno-nominated "No Fool For Trying", is a minor masterpiece that ranks with great songs that have launched the careers of artists like Lucinda Williams and Nanci Griffith to another plateau. I’m thinking of songs like "Passionate Kisses" from the Williams songbook and Griffith’s "Love Is A Hard Waltz". Yes, Ransom is that strong of a piece.
It’s beautifully understated, tells a heartbreaking story with lyrical brevity and is rolls out with a perfectly paced and mournful melody cinched by a lovely vocal performance from Violet’s Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIssac.
The win comes with a $20,000 cash prize, and Madison Violet are the first Canadian act to win the coveted award.
Madison Violet play a stand-alone Alberta show on February 12 for the Bow Valley Music club in Calgary, returning to the province in early March for two dates. Edmonton fans can catch the ladies on Friday, March 11 at the Full Moon Folk Club and that date dovetails into a Saturday, March 12 appearance at Calgary’s Nickelodeon Folk Club.
If you are a musician, promoter, songwriter, or agent up in the Peace Region of our province take note that a music industry conference
has been organized for the weekend of May 6, 7, & 8.
Sessions focusing on marketing, networking, grant sources, songwriting, and recording are on the slate that is being presented by No Limitz Music.
Three guest speakers have been booked for the conference, and all have enjoyed success in different facets of the creative process.
Earl Periera was a member of Wide Mouth Mason during the heyday of the group and he now drives the funky Saskatchewan-based band Mobadass.
Duane Steele is a onetime Canadian Country Music Association award-winner who has considerable experience in the studio, on the road, and as a collaborator, and who has also worked in dinner theatre as a lead in thematic musical productions.
Coming to Peace River from Nashville will be Ralph Murphy who has an impressive resume as a songwriter, and producer in the sixties and seventies.
Murphy has worked with ASCAP for the past 14 years to facilitate workshops for songwriters, and help protect songwriter’s rights. He is the author of the noted Murphy's Laws of Songwriting
, which helps aspiring writers obtain success in their own careers, and which he has posted to his website . He is a former president of the Nashville Songwriter's Association, and a former President of the Nashville Chapter of the National Academy of the Recording Arts and Sciences and former Trustee of NARAS.
For more information on this event guide yourself to prmicsw.com