Hey Tom, sorry to hear the news today.
Honestly, I'm lost in that horrible mix of feeling sad and feeling grateful. Sad because I won't get to see you again. Grateful that you are such a big part of my life, and always will be.
I first had the Stompin' Tom experience when I was in my 20's. I was working with another fellow, he was driving us to the job site. We got rolling and this amazing song started playing. It was your Snowmobile Song. I was stunned. It was incredible to me that someone would write a song about snowmobiling, but it was twice as cool when the song had the sense of all the fun, the dips, the rises, the turns of actually riding.
Shawn lunged with horror to eject the cassette, I stopped him and made him keep playing it. All that day we listened to that tape over and over again. It was the start of my love of your music. Of *our* music. For it very much belongs to each and every Canadian who embraces it. It's about us, written by one of us, telling ourselves about us, and I will never forget it.
You know, Tom, that was 10 years after you gave back your Junos. I didn't know about your childhood. I didn't know about how you started playing in the Horseshoe. I was told about you bringing plywood on stage - that was a pretty common story of how you destroyed the stage with your Stompin' so you always carried a piece of wood with you that you were free to crush under your boot. Over the years I collected two fragments of your plywood - both left at an ex-girlfriend's house along with your DVD. They don't matter as much to me anymore, but the music - the music means everything!
I saw you live twice. Once was at the Jack Singer. I got a single seat on the end of the third row and it was a show I will never, ever forget my entire life. Wow, you kicked up a great show. The first five or ten rows were CRAZY with fans. It was wild, it was a party, it was Canadian. I bought $200 of CD's I love more than anything.
The second time was when you came to the Jubilee. I will treasure that show more than the first time, though. That was the show I went to with my children. The music they knew throughout their whole life was played right there in front of them. My kids were at that age when they could just enjoy it. They sang along with the songs (along with me, of course!) and we clapped and stomped and had a great time in the crowd. We drove home together singing together and remembering just how incredible your music is. Just a side note, Tim Hus opened for you that night and played right along with you that show. Tim's another friend of ours, when I last met him we told him we were at that show and Tim had a little twinkle in his eye and said, "Oooh, you were at *that* show."
Tom, every Canada Day I listen to your songs and remember why I love our country. I remember why I love you and your music and how it makes me a better person, even a better Canadian. I'm proud to carry that torch you're passing, Tom. Your version of the Maple Leaf Forever will always be my favourite.
Thanks, Tom. I'll try to do a little stompin' of my own in your boot prints.
Tom's message to us:
"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."
Your Friend always,
Stompin' Tom Connors