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R.I.P. Stompin’ Tom Connors (1936 – 2013)

by on 2013/03/07

Tom Connors (1936 – 2013)

“It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on, and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.”

Just six days in the wake of our focus on Canadian music, a national icon has passed into legend.

Not being a sports fan of any significance, I had little exposure to Connors; most seem to know him through his hockey songs. He was always just “there” in the background for me, like Wilf Carter or Ronnie Hawkins.

He was also known for his patriotism, something I could hardly relate to. To that point, I would have suggested that if a war ever broke out here, I would get myself to Switzerland, with which I share a dual citizenship. They’re both countries I love dearly, but there’s something about the fervour of a convert, I suppose.

September 11, 2001 was the clincher. I was convinced I’d go to war, only much later realizing I’d given no thought at all to an escape. Around that same time I came across his lyrics, and they really hit home for me: “If you don’t believe your country should come before yourself, you can better serve your country by living somewhere else.” Something clicked, and I’ve been fiercely nationalistic ever since, not least in my choice to celebrate Canadian content.

He hasn’t done a lot of work in our usual visual realm, but he factors into Roadkill, which I’ll be watching this December, and an episode of Corner Gas, which I’m hoping to write about next year. Until then, let’s do some catching up with an icon in his prime, in his element, doing what he does best, singing and stomping.

Well, just this once, let’s make that singin’ and stompin’.

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