Legend Ian Tyson to headline Roots and Blues
Four strong winds will be blowing into Salmon Arm’s Roots and Blues Festival this summer, with the announcement that Canadian legend Ian Tyson is headlining the main stage Saturday, Aug. 16.
The iconic singer and songwriter turned 80 last September, and his energy remains undimmed.
Tyson is also celebrating the complete recovery of his voice, badly damaged six years ago, when he was forced to learn, with courage and craftsmanship, to sing with what he calls “my new voice.”
That voice can be heard on Tyson’s most recent albums, Yellowhead to Yellowstone (2008) and Raven Singer (2012), featuring a wide range of new songs presented in an intimate, arresting and heart-to-heart manner.
After surgery to remove vocal polyps in late 2012, followed by intensive vocal therapy, Tyson’s voice is said to be as golden as ever.
Tyson leads two busy, vigorous lives: There’s the ranch south of Calgary, in the foothills of the Rockies, with fences to mend, quarter horses to train, cattle to move, land to conserve. And, there are concert stages, from Elko, Nevada to Billings, Montana, from San Francisco to Toronto, New York, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Los Angeles and in any given year, another 30 or 40 cities, including headlining at the 22nd annual Roots and Blues Festival.
This schedule may seem ominous for an octogenarian, but it’s old hat for Tyson. In the past 12 years, he has released five albums, filmed a music documentary for Canada’s Bravo! TV channel (which has earned two international film and television awards) and issued This is My Sky – a two-DVD concert video.
Two years ago, Tyson penned a surprising autobiography, The Long Trail: My Life in the West, which continues as a best seller, having sold close to 30,000 copies so far.
As a songwriter, Tyson’s songbook has been mined by his peers for half a century and that expanding songbook will be his lasting legacy despite his international success as a performing and recording artist.
Four Strong Winds alone has been recorded by a remarkable cast of artists that includes Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Tony Rice, Waylon Jennings, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Marianne Faithful and Blue Rodeo.
In 2006, it was chosen as Canada’s No. 1 song of the 20th century by CBC listeners.
Suzy Bogguss, Jennifer Warnes, Nanci Griffth, David Bromberg, Tom Russell, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and The McDades are just a few of the artists who have recorded other Tyson-penned gems including Someday Soon and Summer Wages.
Tyson has continued to be honoured for his achievements. After numerous Canadian Country Music Awards, membership in the Juno Awards Hall of Fame and three honorary doctorates, he is also a member of the Order of Canada.
Meanwhile, the songs and stories keep coming and they remain as true as a well-worn saddle. Tyson’s newest collection is All the Good ‘Uns Vol 2. He continues to supervise his working ranch in southern Alberta as he reflects on a five-decade musical career which has produced some of the most beloved modern cowboy songs.
As a national icon and living legend, Tyson’s Saturday, Aug. 16 performance at the 2014 Roots & Blues Festival is sure to generate memories that will last a lifetime.
The festival runs Aug. 15 to 17 at the Salmon Arm Fairground. Discounted weekend passes are available until Aug. 8. Day passes are also now available.
For tickets go to www.rootsandblues.ca., or call 250-833-4096 for more information.