Arguably tied with Gordon Lightfoot for the title “the voice of Canada.”
Brian Lilley writes:
Stompin’ Tom’s music reflects a Canada no longer exists for many people, especially those found in the big cities. I suspect many of his fans in the urban areas, while enjoying his music, often listened with a sense of irony or saw it as kitschy. But anyone who has spent time in small town Canada knows that the Canada of Stompin’s Tom still exists.
And what a magical intro to a foreign land that tape was. Songs about hockey and “Newfies” and salmon and lumberjacks and snowmobiles, and, through it all, a staunch Canadian nationalism that made me nearly think well of Canada. His music can very loosely be described as “country,” but there’s a strong Celtic folk influence amid his maddeningly simple and catchy ditties.
Tom represented a dying breed of hard-as-steel blue-collar peckerwoods. In his early teens he even lived for a short spell with his mother in a penitentiary before the Canadian equivalent of Children’s Protective Services came and snatched him away. He spent the next 15 years or so hitchhiking, doing odd jobs, and writing songs. He didn’t cut his first record until he was nearly 30.
Here’s his official website, where he left a last message to his fans:
“Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin’ Tom.
“It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with it’s 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.
“I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.
“I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.”