Last night I made the trek to Peterborough to be part of the Celebration of Stompin' Tom Connors' life.
It was a great tribute made even more special by the fact that he himself was the architect of celebration. Before the show started I noticed another Canadian celebrity, Tommy Hunter, signing autographs for any fans that approached him. I was happy to see that he attended and even from a distance I could tell that he still respected his fans, but last night was all about the other Tom.
There were many solid performances, notably, Sylvia Tyson, Cindy Church and J.P. Cormier (great guitar playing), Damnait Doyle, not to mention an incredible vocal performance of I AM THE WIND by Mark LaForme, the guitarist in Tom's band.
For me the most touching moment came from his son, Tom Jr., who looks exactly like his dad. He spoke from the heart and gave us more insight into the man, who was his father.
Tom was even there as his casket draped with the Canadian flag was rolled on to the stage and put to the side along with his trademark hat and acoustic guitar that had A PROUD CANADIAN on the headstock.
There are many reasons to love this guy whether it's his music , lyrics or lifestyle. For me it was a combination of all of the above. The main thing is that he was a true Canadian writing about every Canadian place and every Canadian person that he was interested in, so to you, Born in St. John, New Brunswick, raised in Skinner's Pond P.E.I., Stomping' Tom we salute you with the song "Tribute to Stompin' Tom", as performed by our band, Big Blue Bus, at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern in the early 90's